Generating Quick Random Numbers on Your Mac

If you need a quick random number there are at least three ways to do this on your Mac. You can do it in the Calculator app, but you'll need to perform some extra steps to get a useful value. You can use the RANDBETWEEN function in a temporary Numbers spreadsheet. You can also just ask Siri.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Generating Quick Random Numbers on Your Mac.

Let's say you need to pick a random number between one and seven. Maybe there are seven different things you have to choose from and you just want to pick one randomly. Your Mac can do this for you in a variety of ways.

Let's start by using the Calculator app. The Calculator app doesn't have a random function in its basic mode. But if you go to View, Scientific there's a rand function right there. When you press it you get a random number between 0 and 1. It's a decimal. So how does this help you get a random number between say one and seven?

Well, you just need to multiply it. So, for instance, I can hit seven times and then use the rand key and get equals. What I'll get is a random number now between zero and just under seven. So if I want to actually look at this first digit here, the one before the decimal place, and go one to seven instead of zero to six I would have to add one or I could just do that mentally and just ignore the rest. So if I just want to do it again I could do seven times rand equals and say well that's a two. 7 X rand = 2 as well. 7 X rand = 4.

So there's a couple easier ways to do this. You can do this in Numbers with the rand between function. So just in a blank spreadsheet I'm going to put equals RANDBETWEEN and give it two values, 1 and 7. I'll get a number 5. Unfortunately Numbers doesn't have a handy recalculate shortcut. So if you want get a different number there the best way to do it is to Copy, Command C, from there and paste it back in. Then it will recalculate and you will get a different value. I can continue to do Command V and get random numbers between one and seven as long as I want. I can even copy it and paste it into a huge range of cells and each one will show me a different random number.

But perhaps the easiest way to get a quick random number is to use Siri. So let's get rid of Numbers there. I'm simply going to ask Siri, Give me a random number between one and seven. The answer is six. You could just ask Siri over and over again if you need a random number. It's quick. It's easy. Gives you a result and doesn't require to run any app at all.