Complete guide to adding placeholder or filler Text in Word


Microsoft Word has several ways to quickly insert placeholder text into documents. Sometimes you want to add some random text to a document as filler, but don’t want to think of something to write yourself. While there are websites that will generate placeholder text for you, it is also possible to do this directly within Word itself.

Microsoft Word has several ways to quickly insert placeholder text into documents. Sometimes you want to add some random text to a document as filler, but don’t want to think of something to write yourself.  Here’s the three options in Word plus the settings and maximum values.

You can add placeholder text either in your local language or in Latin.

Latin placeholder text, specifically a passage called lorem ipsum, is popular with designers who want to focus on the layout of their document without being distracted by the content.)

  • =rand() some blurb text from Microsoft.
  • =lorem() traditional Latin dummy text, used for centuries.
  • =rand.old()

For all three options type the command on a new line then press Enter. The command will be replaced with some placeholder text.

This works in all modern versions of Word including Word for Mac, Android and Apple iOS.  =Rand() has been in Word for Windows in various forms for a long time.

Change sentences and paragraphs

To control the number of paragraphs, simply add numbers to the function e.g. =rand(x,y),

  • x is the number of paragraphs,
  • y is the number of sentences per paragraph.

If you only type one number, that will be the number of paragraphs (which will all have the default of three sentences).

The text will be generated in whatever font or style is selected when you type the function. You can then format it however you like, just like regular text. (If you have selected a Heading style, only the first paragraph will be in that style and the rest will revert to Normal style).

Notes

  • Contrary to the name of the function, the text is not random; it will always generate the same text.
  • If you want truly random text, we have some VBA to do that. It was intended to replace confidential text with random text for privacy.
    See  Replace confidential text with filler in Word

Replace text with filler – a manual approach

A better ‘anonymize’ a Word document solutio

  • The “Replace text as you type” choice under File | Options | Proofing | AutoCorrect Options has to be ON for any of these tricks to work.
  • For placeholder text in other languages and characters try http://generator.lorem-ipsum.info/ It will produce filler text in English, Cyrillic, Greek, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Arabic and Hebrew among others.  Useful for testing web sites / code for wide character set support.

Maximum Values for =rand()

Back in 2008 we reported that the highest values for the new style =rand() where

=rand(200,99) or  =rand(99,200)

We just tested with Word 365 for Windows and the same maximum values still apply … almost.  =Rand(201,99) (one more paragraph) worked.

Those max values produce over 1.7 million characters or 310,000 words on over 600 pages.  That should be more than enough for most people. Word will be very slow and almost unusable at those sizes.

RAND()

Default: five paragraphs.

Type =rand(3,5) for three paragraphs of English text, with five sentences per paragraph.

Lorem()

Default: five paragraphs.

The Latin starting Lorem ipsom dolor sit amet … has been used by typesetters for five hundred years.

Rand.old()

Default: 3 paragraphs of three sentences each.

Type =rand.old(4) for four paragraphs of the same sentence.

Back in the dim past of Word (before Word 2007)  the original =Rand() used common sentences which used all the characters in the local language.characters in the local language.

That was before Microsoft realised that =Rand() could be used as an unsubtle promotional tool for Office.  In Word 2007 and later the original command was renamed =Rand.old()

The text varies for each language version of Word (not the language setting for a document/paragraph).

A long time ago, Office Watch polled readers to see what sentence was used in each language

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.


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