## Create a random playlist

This article describes how to create a random playlist based on a given number of teams using an array formula. Column A contains four teams. Each team plays matches both "Home" against all remaining teams and "Away" against all remaining teams.

The teams are entered in an Excel defined table, this allows you to add or delete teams without the need to adjust cell references in the formulas. The calculation also takes into account the number of teams so the only thing for you to do is to extend the formulas down as far as needed.

*Example:*

Team A plays "Home" against Team B, Team C and Team D.

Team A- Team B

Team A - Team C

Team A - Team D

Team A plays also "Away" against Team B, Team C and Team D.

Team B - Team A

Team C - Team A

Team D - Team A

Column C and Column D contain a random playlist. Press F9 to refresh.

Array formula in D3:

To enter an array formula, type the formula in a cell then press and hold CTRL + SHIFT simultaneously, now press Enter once. Release all keys.

The formula bar now shows the formula with a beginning and ending curly bracket telling you that you entered the formula successfully. Don't enter the curly brackets yourself.

If column A contains five teams, change ROW($1:$**4**) to ROW($1:$**5**) and bolded **3**'s to **4** in the above formula. Don't forget to adjust cell references.

Array formula i E3:

If column A contains five teams, change ROW($1:$**4**) to ROW($1:$**5**) and bolded **3**'s to **4** in the above formula. Don't forget to adjust cell references accordingly as well.

### Explaining formula in cell D3

There is an explanation to this formula in this post: Team generator

### Explaining formula in cell E3

#### Step 1 - Count previous teams in cells above

The COUNTIF function counts values based on a condition or criteria, the first argument contains an expanding cell reference, it grows when the cell is copied to cells below. This makes the formula aware of values displayed in cells above. 0 (zero) indicates values that not yet have been displayed.

COUNTIF($E$2:E2,Table1[Teams])

becomes

COUNTIF($E$2:E2,$B$3:$B$6)

becomes

COUNTIF("Away",{"Team A"; "Team B"; "Team C"; "Team D"})

and returns {0;0;0;0}.

#### Step 2 - Count non-empty cells

The COUNTA function counts cells that are not empty based on a given cell range.

COUNTA(Table1[Teams])-1

becomes

COUNTA($B$3:$B$6)-1

becomes

COUNTA({"Team A"; "Team B"; "Team C"; "Team D"})-1

becomes

4-1

and returns 3.

#### Step 3 - Compare array with the number of teams - 1

COUNTIF($E$2:E2, Table1[Teams])<(COUNTA(Table1[Teams])-1)

becomes

{0;0;0;0}<3

and returns

{TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}

#### Step 4 - Prevent home team from being selected again

COUNTIF(D3,Table1[Teams])=0

becomes

COUNTIF("Team D",{"Team A"; "Team B"; "Team C"; "Team D"})=0

becomes

{0;0;0;1}=0

and returns

{TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; FALSE}

#### Step 5 - Prevent duplicate matches

This step makes sure that the same team is not being in the list more than once against a given Home team. There are two expanding cell references that grow when the cell is copied to cells below.

ISERROR(MATCH(Table1[Teams], IF(D3=$D$2:D2, $E$2:E2, ""), 0))

becomes

ISERROR(MATCH(Table1[Teams], IF("Team D"="Home", "Away", ""), 0))

becomes

ISERROR(MATCH(Table1[Teams], "", 0))

becomes

ISERROR(MATCH({"Team A"; "Team B"; "Team C"; "Team D"}, "", 0))

becomes

ISERROR({#VALUE!; #VALUE!; #VALUE!; #VALUE!})

and returns

{TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}

#### Step 6 - Multiply arrays

This step applies and logic between the arrays meaning all conditions must be TRUE. TRUE * TRUE = TRUE, TRUE * FALSE = FALSE and FALSE * FALSE = FALSE. TRUE is 1 and FALSE is 0 (zero).

(COUNTIF($E$2:E2,Table1[Teams])<(COUNTA(Table1[Teams])-1))*(COUNTIF(D3,Table1[Teams])=0)*(ISERROR(MATCH(Table1[Teams],IF(D3=$D$2:D2,$E$2:E2,""),0)))*ROW($1:$4)

becomes

{TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}* {TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; FALSE}* {TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}* ROW($1:$4)

becomes

{1; 1; 1; 0}* ROW($1:$4)

The array is the multiplied to a sequence of row numbers.

{1; 1; 1; 0}* ROW($1:$4)

becomes

{1; 1; 1; 0}* {1; 2; 3; 4}

and returns {1; 2; 3; 0}

#### Step 6 - Extract random row number

The LARGE function returns the k-th largest number, LARGE( array , k). The second argument k is a random number from 1 to n.

LARGE((COUNTIF($D$2:D2, Table1[Teams])<(COUNTA(Table1[Teams])-1))*ROW($1:$4), RANDBETWEEN(1, SUMPRODUCT(--((ISERROR(MATCH(Table1[Teams], IF(D3=$D$2:D2, $E$2:E2, ""), 0)))*(COUNTIF($E$2:E2, Table1[Teams])<(COUNTA(Table1[Teams])-1))*(COUNTIF(D3, Table1[Teams])=0))))))

becomes

LARGE({1; 2; 3; 0}, RANDBETWEEN(1, SUMPRODUCT(--((ISERROR(MATCH(Table1[Teams], IF(D3=$D$2:D2, $E$2:E2, ""), 0)))*(COUNTIF($E$2:E2, Table1[Teams])<(COUNTA(Table1[Teams])-1))*(COUNTIF(D3, Table1[Teams])=0)))))

The RANDBETWEEN function returns a random number based on the two arguments.

LARGE({1; 2; 3; 0}, RANDBETWEEN(1, SUMPRODUCT(--({TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}*(COUNTIF($E$2:E2, Table1[Teams])<(COUNTA(Table1[Teams])-1))*(COUNTIF(D3, Table1[Teams])=0)))))

becomes

LARGE({1; 2; 3; 0}, RANDBETWEEN(1, SUMPRODUCT(--({TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}*{TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}*(COUNTIF(D3, Table1[Teams])=0)))))

becomes

LARGE({1; 2; 3; 0}, RANDBETWEEN(1, SUMPRODUCT(--({TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}*{TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; TRUE}*{TRUE; TRUE; TRUE; FALSE}))))

becomes

LARGE({1; 2; 3; 0}, RANDBETWEEN(1, SUMPRODUCT({1; 1; 1; 0})))

becomes

LARGE({1; 2; 3; 0}, RANDBETWEEN(1, 3))

becomes

LARGE({1; 2; 3; 0}, 2)

and returns 2. This is a random value between 1 and 3.

#### Step 7 - Return value

The INDEX function returns a value based on a cell reference and column/row numbers.

INDEX(Table1[Teams], LARGE((COUNTIF($E$2:E2, Table1[Teams])<(COUNTA(Table1[Teams])-1))*(COUNTIF(D3, Table1[Teams])=0)*(ISERROR(MATCH(Table1[Teams], IF(D3=$D$2:D2, $E$2:E2, ""), 0)))*ROW($A$1:INDEX($A$1:$A$1000, COUNTA(Table1[Teams]))), RANDBETWEEN(1, SUMPRODUCT(--((ISERROR(MATCH(Table1[Teams], IF(D3=$D$2:D2, $E$2:E2, ""), 0)))*(COUNTIF($E$2:E2, Table1[Teams])<(COUNTA(Table1[Teams])-1))*(COUNTIF(D3, Table1[Teams])=0))))))

becomes

INDEX(Table1[Teams], 2)

and returns "Team B" in cell D3.

How to create a list of random unique numbers

Question: How do I create a random list of unique numbers from say 1 to 10, without using VBA and […]

This blog article describes how to create teams randomly. There are twenty names in column B and four teams in […]

Mark G asks: 1 - I see you could change the formula to have the experssion COUNTIF($C$1:C1, $E$2:$E$5)<5 changed so […]

How to build a Team Generator – different number of people per team

JD asks in this post: Dynamic team generator Hi, what if we have different number of people per team? So in […]

How to generate a round-robin tournament

This article demonstrates macros that create different types of round-robin tournaments. Table of contents Basic schedule - each team plays […]

Sort a list in random order in excel

Overview The array formula in cell range C2:C6 creates a random list from the values in cell range A2:A6. Array […]

Assign records unique random text strings

This article demonstrates a formula that distributes given text strings randomly across records in any given day meaning they may […]

How to create random numbers, text strings, dates and time values

The RAND() function In Excel returns a number greater than or equal to 0 (zero) and less than 1. Combining […]

Mark G asks in Create a random playlist in excel: Can this example be modified to create a true round-robin […]

### 10 Responses to “Create a random playlist”

### Leave a Reply to Oscar

### How to comment

**How to add a formula to your comment**

<code>Insert your formula here.</code>

**Convert less than and larger than signs**

Use html character entities instead of less than and larger than signs.

< becomes < and > becomes >

**How to add VBA code to your comment**

[vb 1="vbnet" language=","]

Put your VBA code here.

[/vb]

**How to add a picture to your comment:**

Upload picture to postimage.org or imgur

Paste image link to your comment.

**Contact Oscar**

You can contact me through this contact form

Can this example be modified to create a true round robin draw? i.e. using a 6 team scenario, for any round there will be three games/matches, but obviously Team A could not compete against say Team B and Team C during that round as can occur using the above formula.

This is a really good question. I hope I can post an answer soon.

Thanks for commenting!

Mark G,

See this post: Create a random playlist in excel – True round-robin tournament

Hi,

I have a question?

I am tryng to list the people with the highest scores based on certain criteria.

My data:

column

A B C D

Mike 207 Yes Life

Greg 207 Yes Life

Sid 207 Yes Life

Greg 207 Yes Life

Greg 207 Yes Life

Sid 207 Yes Life

Greg 207 No Life

Sid 204 No Health

criteria

countif b= 207 and column c= yes and column d= Life

and it then needs to arange it from the highest to the lowest

(Large)

and then match it with the name eg, Greg Sid or Mike

so what i am looking for is eg.

Greg 3

Sid 2

Mike 1

but it has to be in one formula.

can you maybe help?

Andre.

Andre,

Read this post: List people with the highest scores based on criteria in excel

Hi Oscar

I got your home & away generator for 4 teams which is exactly what I am looking for. Do you however have a similar spreadsheet for 3, 5 and 6 teams? If you do please could you e-mail me links?

Cheers

Dale

Dale,

See attached file:

random-plays-teams.xls

You are a star. I need to insert some rows at the top but it seems to muck up the formulas. Is there any easy way to fix this?

Cheers

Dale

Dale,

I think you´ll have to move the cell references accordingly in both formulas.

Hi Oscar,

I am looking for a tournement-schedule with the following criteria:

16 tennis players

26 weeks (=13 matches) and/or 24 weeks (=12 matches)

2 courts with 4 teams (1 and 2 against 3 and 4 / 5 and 6 against 7 and 8)

Preferences:

intention to play once in 2 weeks

intention to play with the same player 2 times at most

intention to play against the same player 2 times at most

each player is playing 13 (26 weeks) or 12 (24 weeks) times

I hope there is a possibilty to create such a scheduler.

Regards,

Jacques