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> Computer Urban Myths =rand(200,99)
post 14 Jul 2008, 03:34 PM
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Urban Myth of =rand(200,99)

Just so that we are both on the same page, or the same wave-length. Launch Word for Windows and type precisely :


Press 'Enter' or the Carriage Return key.

What you should get is zillions of: 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog'.

Trap 1: Avoid a space. There is no space between the = and rand; =rand(200,99) is correct. However, if you type '= rand(200,99)' then the space is wrong. This space is particularly troublesome in Word 2007.

Trap 2: Avoid the Word proofing feature called: 'Replace text as you type'. This is how to turn this option off:
a) Click AutoCorrect on the Tools menu, and then click the AutoCorrect tab. (Proofing section in Word 2007)
cool.gif Click to clear the 'Replace text as you type' check box.
c) If all else fails call for Word's own help.
Problem with Word 2007

=rand(200,99) works with Microsoft Office Word 2003, but not with Microsoft Office Word 2007. Good news, there is a work-around, add .old thus:

Solution: =rand.old()

Press 'Enter', otherwise know as the Carriage Return key.

The secret of success is to attention to detail, with Word 2007, you need to substitute:
=rand.old() for =rand(200,99).

Once =rand.old() works, then try =rand.old(200,99). The first number indicates the number of paragraphs, and the second number, the number of lines within each paragraph.

Please have faith, believe that =rand.old() will work with Word 2007. At first I had my doubts, but I have now personally tested this .old update it works in Word 2007.
What is =rand()? An urban myth, a bug, an Easter egg?

The truth is rather boring, =rand(200,99) is a function Microsoft really did included by design. The urban myth is that =rand(200,00) is a bug with Word for Windows. A variation of this urban myth is that Microsoft programmers left an 'Easter Egg*' in the program.

Despite the prosaic truth that this is neither a bug nor an urban myth, you could baffling your friends by challenging them to type the phrase =rand(200,99) in their copy of Word for Windows 2003 or =rand.old(200,99 in Word 2007.

Background of =rand(200,99)

Word for Windows has a powerful built-in macro language. To see it in action, try highlighting text, then hold down the shift key while pressing F3 (Function key 3). Switching UPPER, lower and Proper case is an example of a more useful Word macro than =rand().

To return to =rand(200,99). The function creates one instance of 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog', even if you omit any numbers inside the bracket, =rand(), moreover you can try numbers other than 200 and 99, for example =rand(2,3). Soon you will realize that the first number refers to the paragraphs, while the second number refers to the sentences. Who ever initiated this urban myth wanted to demonstrate the maximum numbers of sentences and paragraphs.

=rand() is a well known random function, which is handy for statistics, or simulating card games such as blackjack.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

A word about the phrase: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. This is a special, even classic sequence to check each and every letter in the English alphabet with just one sentance. Thus if you are experimenting with different fonts, you may want to see how all the letters would display.
Lorem Ipsum =lorem()

An older, more famous dummy text than 'The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog', is the Latin text know as: 'Lorem Ipsum'. Remember that the idea is to have meaningless dummy text so that you concentrate on the page layout. The thinking is that because the Lorem Ipsum text is Latin, we cannot understand the content, thus we can concentrate on how the text fills the page.

You can also apply what you learnt with with =rand(200,99) to =lorem(). What I mean is that you can control the number of paragraphs, and the number of lines within each paragraph, for example.

=lorem(2,6) This means two paragraphs, each with six lines.

Once again, beware: there should be no space between = and lorem(). Correct is =lorem()
*Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs in programs are a topic in their own right. Briefly, programmers often used to leave code in programs, partly to test, but mainly because most programs are geeks and games players. Perhaps I don't know the keys to operate them, perhaps the habit really has died out, but have not seen any good Easter Eggs for about 8 years.

Another Urban Myth is that Excel 1.0 had a complete version of Doom. To find it you had to go through a mind numbing sequence of keystrokes. Cynics say that Microsoft Executables are so large because they are full of this extra Easter Egg code.


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post 14 Jul 2008, 04:52 PM
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