For a project next month, I need to assign 60 people randomly to tables that seat eight. While I know that there are a lot of computer programs out there that would easily do what I need, I have no budget to purchase one.
I tried doing a little research on my own, but when my efforts were unsuccessful, I turned to Son Brian, the family computer guru. With a little exploration, he found out that I could do the project with resources I already have, because Excel has a random sequence generator that will do the trick.
He found information about random sorting on the Mr. Excel Website. The page has excellent detailed instructions, but in a nutshell Column A is the list of things you need to sequence. Each cell in Column B contains the formula for the RAND function. You sort by column B to get a random sequence.
Here's my sample data chart:
When I do the table assignments, the first eight names in the column will be assigned to Table 1, the second eight to Table 2, etc.
I won't have the actual 60 names until much closer to the event day, but I've tried sorting a mock-up list multiple times; each time the names are arranged differently, so I must be doing it right.