Of Rand()om text, old text and Lorem ipsum

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New wrinkles on an old Microsoft Office =rand() ‘random’ or filler text trick

Old Word hands know there’s a quick way to enter text into a document as a placeholder for testing or to help formatting while you’re waiting for the real content to arrive.

Type

=rand()

and some text will appear. There are NO spaces in the string of text you type in.

In Word 2003 and Powerpoint 2003 the text is ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. ‘ for English language versions of Office. There are many variations of this text across the globe. You need to have the AutoCorrect option ‘Replace Text as you type’ turned on.

There’s more to the trick too:

=rand(2,3)

will return 2 sentences of the text in a paragraph and 3 paragraphs.

Formally: =rand(s,p) where s = the number of sentences per paragraph and p = the number of paragraphs.

The maximum values are 200 sentences and 99 paragraphs. Type in =rand(201,100) and nothing happens.


Office 2007

In Word 2007 things changed with the default random text changing to some text explaining new features in Word.

However there are some new features available.

If you prefer foxes and dogs you can get the old random text by typing

=rand.old()

The same sentence and paragraph parameters apply.

Retaining this option is good because the fox/dog sentence had the virtue of including all 26 letters in the standard English alphabet. The new =rand() was good for Microsoft marketing but less practical for many people.

In Powerpoint 2007 only =rand() works and it displays the fox/dog sentence.


Fake Latin

What’s long been missing from the rand function is the traditional “Lorem ipsum” text which is pretend Latin and has been used for decades placeholder text. Wikipedia has a good explanation.

Word 2007 has added this trick:

=Lorem()

will return a chunk of fake Latin:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitor congue massa. Fusce posuere, magna sed pulvinar ultricies, purus lectus malesuada libero, sit amet commodo magna eros quis urna.

Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Fusce est. Vivamus a tellus.

Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Proin pharetra nonummy pede. Mauris et orci.

Word 2007 uses the first sentence of the ‘common’ Lorem text then deviates. The sentences look fake and should be meaningless but I’m the last person to ask – I slept through a year of Latin lessons in high school .

The same sentence (max. 200) and paragraph (max. 99) parameters apply.


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