=Rand() Around the World

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We’d like to update this list because a lot has changed since 2003.

The original =Rand() is now =Rand.old().   =Rand() now has some hype about Office.

Non-English speakers with a non-English version of Word …

Please try =rand.old() on your version of Word. Let us know what phrase Word uses in your language via our Feedback page.  A rough translation would be helpful but not required.

Unlike when we first asked back in 2003, now email commonly supports many different languages and characters.  We’ll be able to publish in Office Watch newsletters and web site the full results.


What happens with =rand() in versions of Word other than the English version?

You can type


in any English version of Word and you’ll see three paragraphs each consisting of the sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. ” repeated five times.

Yes, there are two spaces after each period.

In order to get it to work, you must type the phrase precisely (don’t forget the equal sign!), and you must have Tools | AutoCorrect Options | Replace Text as You Type checked.

In general, =rand(x,y) produces “y” paragraphs, each with “x” of the “brown fox” sentences.

Several of you wrote and mentioned that the more correct version of the sentence is “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog 0123456789.” – thus incorporating all the numbers.

I was fascinated to find a shorter, alternate phrase that uses all the letters: “Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.” No doubt that will trip some junk mail filter somewhere.

The big question is… what happens in versions of Word other than the English version? Here’s an abbreviated compilation of what all of you have sent in. Contributors’ initials are in parenthesis, to protect the overwhelmed.

NOTE: Many of the phrases include characters I can’t possibly reproduce in an ASCII text newsletter (the original format of this article). So in some cases you’ll have to use your imagination. Note how kiwis play an important part in Word’s internationalization. No, not New Zealanders. Translation: you’ll see some strange characters below.



(many contributors)

“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Says JV: “To be honest, that’s the sentence we always type when we need all the letters in the alphabet.” Heh heh heh.



“Cantami o Diva del pelide Achille l’ira funesta.” Translation: “Sing to me, oh Goddess of poetry, about the death-bringing rage of Achilles, son of Peleus.” It’s the first line of the Illiad. Wow.


(GR, HN, TH, LN, LL)
“Flygande bäckasiner söka hwila på mjuka tuvor.”

Translation: “Flying snipes search rest on soft tussocks.” Two of the words in the sentence, “bäckasiner” and “hwila” are misspelled but still understandable. The word “hwila” is an old form of “vila”, in English “rest”. It has not been spelled like that for maybe 90 years. Tussocks is used in the sense of a bunch of grass suitable for, well, for snipes to sit on.



“V kozuscku hudobnega fantail stopiclja mizar.” Translation: “In fur coat of wicked boy trips joiner and calls 0619872345.” (That’s a telephone number.)


(SR, RP, JA)

“Viekas kettu punaturkki laiskan koiran takaa kurkki.” Translation: “The sly fox with the red hair peeks from beyond the lazy dog.” “The cunning red-furred fox was peeping from behind the lazy dog.” Or something like that.


(JAO, TE, JB, KW):

“El veloz murciélago hindú comía feliz cardillo y kiwi.” Translation: “The fast Hindu bat happily ate golden thistle and kiwi.” This Spanish sentence does not contain every letter in the alphabet (b, j, p, q, s, t and x are missing, and they’re all common letters). Quite surprisingly, the orthographic check of word checks “kiwi” as wrong, and suggests substitution with “kivi”.

French and Canadian French

(PR, JW, MB, RW, KW)

“Servez à ce monsieur une bière et des kiwis. ” Translation: “Serve that gentleman a beer and kiwis.”


(CK, WL, DS, US)

“Franz jagt im komplett verwahrlosten Taxi quer durch Bayern.” Translation: “Franz dashes all through Bavaria in a completely neglected taxi.” Contains all 26 characters of normal alphabet, but without ä, ö, ü, ß (=Umlaute).



“En god stil må først og fremst være klar. Den må være passende. Aristoteles.” Translation: “A good form must above all be clear. It must be appropriate. Aristotle.”


(JS, OM)

“Quizdeltagerne spiste jordbær med fløde.” Translation: “The quiz participants ate strawberry with cream.” The phrase “strawberry with cream” – in Danish “jordbær med fløde” – is something we always try to make foreigners say, because it is very hard to pronounce this phrase in Danish.


(PO, AS): Translation: “Eat these soft French rolls and drink tea.”


(PO, AG) “Pchnac w te lódz jeza lub osm skrzyn fig.” Translation: “Push the hedgehog in that boat or eight boxes of figs.”




With Word versions up to and including Word 2000, if I type =rand(1), I get a paragraph of 5 sentences of the “brown fox” sentence – in English. But with Word XP, I get the translation of that sentence in Chinese characters, which doesn’t make much sense. In Chinese we have over 6,000 frequently used characters (the total number is not known, but it is well over 10,000). So it is just impossible to check all of them at one shot. The strange thing is, we do not use space(s) after any punctuation mark. But with the sample paragraph, I can see that there are two spaces following each period (which is a tiny circle in Chinese, not a dot).

Traditional Chinese


In Word 2000 (Traditional Chinese – Big 5), the rand() function gives a sentence of 6 Chinese characters. The translation is, “Opportunity seldom knocks twice.” This sentence does not represent all Chinese characters, of course, nor does it make use of all the possible radicals or strokes that go into writing Chinese characters. I can think of no reason why Microsoft chose this sentence. Of possible interest is that the final sentence in the string displays short one character as well as the sentence ending period, that is, it’s an incomplete sentence.


(PS, LW, MS, PO, HF, MH, JW)

Translation: (Word 2002) “Word is the most useful word processor for the internet.” Or “The most famous software for word prossesing is Word.” Or “On the Internet, Word is the most used word processor.” (Word 2000) “Word 2000 is a Japanese word-processor which is an epoch-making realization of a Japanese input/editing environment.” Or “Word 2000 is a Japanese word processor creating a revolutionary Japanese input and editing environment.” The Word 2002 version uses 4 roman characters out of 26 (w,o,r and d), 10 of 46 katakana (phonetic characters for foreign words), 8 of 46 hiragana (phonetic characters for Japanese words), and 2 of 1,850 general use kanji (Chinese characters). The final sentence is missing the final hiragana and the stop.


(CP, AC)

“A ligeira raposa marrom ataca o cão preguiçoso.” Translation: “The brown quick fox attacks the lazy Dog.” More or less.


(many contributors!)

the phrase contains all of the letters, and it appears right-to-left, as it should. Translation: “A curious fish swam in a pure sea, and suddenly found nice company.” One writer noted, “Yes, it sounds weird in Hebrew, too.”

Many, many thanks to all of you who participated.

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