Randomization in Excel

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This article talks about some of the advantages and disadvantages of randomizing using Excel and also gives a step by step guide on randomizing using Excel.

Read First[edit]

If randomization using Stata is feasible, then it should always be the preferred option as randomization in Stata is more easily reproducible.

Reasons why Stata is always preferable to Excel[edit]

Here are a some of the reasons :

  • Randomization done in Stata can be better documented through do files. Every step can be documented which makes it easier to reproduce the results.
  • Stata gives us the option of setting which version of Stata we use for randomization. This is useful when different researchers use different versions of Stata.
  • Better documentation and version control gives makes randomization results in Stata consistent across various runs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Randomizing using Excel[edit]

However, Stata might not be available in some cases. For those cases, the advantages and disadvantages of randomizing using Excel are as follows:


Here are some of the advantages of randomizing using Excel :

  • Balance/stratification can be achieved during a randomization using Excel.
  • Randomization using Excel is simple to implement and produces a record.
  • Since Excel is widely used, it is commonly understood and used by project staff.


Some of the disadvantages of using Excel to randomize are as follows:

  • Excel is more mysterious to beneficiaries than public randomization(For example - drawing names from a hat, etc)
  • Randomization in Excel is less replicable than Randomization in Stata.
  • Since the randomization involves copying and pasting, it can be subject to human errors.
  • It is also less flexible to changes in randomization plan.

Steps to Randomization in Excel[edit]

Here are the steps of doing a successful randomization using Excel:

  • The first thing that needs to be done is to define a randomization rule. For example = the lowest 50% will be treatment, the rest will be assigned to control, etc.
  • Assign random numbers to each observation. While doing this, use "paste values" to stop recalculating the randomization.
  • Sort the random numbers from the lowest to the highest.
  • Created an ordered serial number. If you need to balance the data, then first sort by the strata, then by the random values.
  • Assign groups using either the mod or the if formulas.
  • Save the record.

Back to Parent[edit]

This article is part of the topic Randomized Control Trials