automatically generate placeholder text in Microsoft Word.

When I provide computer training, I often need fake documents to work with. Most of the time, I will have a trainee type a single sentence and then have them copy and paste it over and over again to create a paragraph. Then I’ll have them copy their little paragraph and paste it over and over again to create a multi-paragraph, multi-page document. It provides some keyboard text selection and cut/copy/paste shortcut key practice and we end up with a safe document to work with during training.

But if you’re using Microsoft Word, there is another way to build a fake document. MS Word can generate random text automatically. Try this:

In MS Word 2003 or earlier, at the beginning of a line, type:

=rand()

Press enter.

The sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” (which contains every letter of the English alphabet) appears multiple times, forming three paragraphs of five sentences each.

cool.

You can also specify the number of paragraphs and sentences by typing numbers between the parenthesis, like this:

=rand(8,5)

Typing the formula in as it appears above will generate 8 paragraphs of 5 sentences each.

Handy for computer trainers like me and for printers who need sample text. If you can think of other uses for randomly generated text, comment and share!

CLICK HERE for an UPDATE of this feature for Word 2007 & 2010!!

This will not work if:
“Replace text as you type” has been disabled under Tools, AutoCorrect.
If the insertion point immediately follows a page or a column break.