Bingo / Housie Ticket Generator in Excel

Posted on July 16th, 2008 in Analytics , hacks , ideas , Learn Excel , technology - 62 comments

I am fascinated by board games. They provide immense fun, anyone can enjoy them, they are unpredictable and best of all they are great value for money. That is why whenever I get sometime I experiment with simulating games to know them better [read Why Monopoly board game is not as random as it appears]. So, out of curiosity I have created an excel sheet that can generate bingo / housie (housey) tickets – 24 of them at a time. To get new set of tickets you would hit F9 (recalculate).

Note that these are Bingo UK / India / Australia variant I am talking about, not the US 5*5 type of bingo tickets.

Read on if you want to know how this is done:

According to Wikipedia:

A typical housie/bingo ticket .., contains fifteen numbers, arranged in nine columns by three rows. Each row contains five numbers and four blank spaces. Each column contains either one, two, or very rarely three, numbers:

* The first column contains numbers from 1 to 9,
* The second column numbers from 10 to 19,
* The third 20 to 29 and so on up until the last column, which contains numbers from 80 to 90.

I have removed number “90” from the list in order to reduce some complexity in generating the tickets.

The problem is now to “generate 15 random number between 1 to 89 and fill them in 15 random spots in a grid of 3 rows by 9 columns such that each row has exactly 5 numbers”

Now I could write a function in VBA to do this, but I wanted to do this only using formulas. So I started breaking the problem.

The first challenge is to select any random 5 cells in a 9 cell row

Once we select any random 5 cells in a 9 cell row, we will fill them with bingo numbers. Now, excel has a function to generate random numbers between 1 to 9 (`=round(rand()*9,0)`), but this is not good for us since each time we call this function we will get a random number between 1 to 9, where as we need a 5 random numbers without repetition between 1 to 9. The function is memoryless and could repeat numbers when called 5 times.

Instead we can list all the possible “5 cells with numbers and others are empty” combinations of a 9 cells region and select a random combination every time. There are essentially 9C5 i.e. 126 ways in which you can select any 5 cells out of 9 cells (without repetition of course).

So I listed all these combinations in a table and then randomly selected one of the combinations. You can see the first five such combinations in the image below:

Selecting any five cells out of nine cells

Now I created a 3*9 region and filled the cells with 1s or 0s, “1” when the cell in bingo ticket is supposed to have a value and “0” if the cell is empty as shown below:

Next challenge is to show random values in each cell

The trick here is that first column in our 3*9 bingo ticket has any number(s) from 1 to 9, second column has any number(s) from 10 to 19 …

Again, the challenge is the numbers should not repeat, otherwise we could simply use `rand()*10, rand()*10+10, rand()*10+20 ...` to generate the numbers.

This time it gets even more trickier because each column can have either no values, or 1 value or 2 values or 3 values.

The ticket generation logic now looks like:

• If the column has no values in it, then we will leave all the cells in that column of bingo ticket empty
• If the column has 1 value, we will generate any random number from that column’s range of possible values (1-9, 10-19,20-29,…80-89) and place it in the cell that is supposed to have a value and leave other cells empty.
• If the column has 2 values, we will generate 2 random numbers without repetition from that column’s range of possible values and place them in cells that are supposed to have them
• If the column has 3 values, we will generate 3 random numbers without repetition from that column’s range of possible values and place them in cells that are supposed to have them

As you can see, it is easy when the column has no or 1 value in it. But when the column has 2 or 3 I used the combinations trick described earlier.

First I created all 2 number combinations and 3 number combinations. Since the numbers on Bingo ticket are always sorted from top to bottom in a column, I just had to list down 45 combinations (10C2) for 2 numbers and 120 combinations (10C3) for 3 numbers.

The rest of the details are small enough that I can leave them to your imagination. So when the ticket is generated, it looks like this:

Remember to download housie / bingo ticket generator excel sheet and print your tickets at home. Just F9 to generate new set of tickets. Un-hide the rows from 43 if you want to see how this is done.

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 Written by Chandoo Tags: Analytics, bingo, board games, fun, games, hacks, housie, howto, ideas, learn, Learn Excel, microsoft, numbers, spreadsheet, technology Home: Chandoo.org Main Page ? Doubt: Ask an Excel Question

62 Responses to “Bingo / Housie Ticket Generator in Excel”

1. Shardul says:

This is an awesome way to generate Housie Tickets. It's tough to find these tickets in the US. Thanks!

2. Lucky says:

Hi mate

thanks for this.. this is a lot of fun...

3. Sameer says:

Thanks mate. This is a cool way of generating housie tickets........

4. Arthur. says:

Thank you, great to see it working.

5. Chandoo says:

@All.. thanks everyone. I am happy you found this useful 🙂

• Priti says:

Hi Chandoo,

I was trying to create this with family member names (around 45 names) instead of numbers. Is this possible?

6. Dina Fernandes says:

Hi Chandoo,

I really liked your Housie Tickets. However, the tickets printed out are too small and I can't seem to increase the size to the regular printed housie tickets. Can you help me out please? Thank You. Dina

7. Chandoo says:

@Dina: Welcome to PHD and thanks 🙂

hmm... I have tried to set the printing preferences to print 20 odd tickets per each A4 page. But if you are looking for bigger size here is how you can get:

1. Go to to print preview and adjust margins and scaling. Scale your sheet until the tickets fill up the print area.

2. print. You may want to repeat this few times so that you can get optimum size. Then save the workbook.

3. next time you need more tickets, just print. 🙂

Let me know if you face any difficulties.

8. Ravi says:

Hi, Thanx a lot .. its very useful

hey i tried to download this zip but looks like the file is damaged can you help ?

10. Chandoo says:

@Ravi : You are welcome 🙂

@Madhu: Are you sure? I just tried to download and unzip it and it seems to work fine. Can you try again and let me know if you have troubles. It is a very small file, may be I can mail it to you.

11. Andre South Africa says:

Great.... Can i change colors

12. Chandoo says:

@Andre... sure you can. You may want to adjust colors from conditional formatting so that they are truly changed. Let me know if you have some trouble.

13. Rozario says:

Thanks Chandoo once again for this great tool........ very creative!

14. Gurlochan Singh says:

Thanx Chandoo .

Just could not find Housie Tickets here in Kenya .

Awesome Funda .

Cool & gr8

15. [...] Play seems to be the focus of excel blogosphere last week. Debra at contextures has created an excel file to generate bingo cards (US style) in excel. Several others followed it up with their own versions of bing number generators. Follow the links, download the book and have some fun! Also, Generate UK / Indian style bingo cards [...]

16. Sujatha Raj says:

Hey...
This is cool.. We were planning for a potluck event where I wanted to host this game but was thinking if I should go and buy it from the store just for this one time.. so as usual google'd to see if there was any generator and your's was the first hit... its cool and easy to print and I love it!!! Thanks a lot!!!

• Chandoo says:

17. Vinayy says:

Thanks for this excellent coding.

Please tell us how to change colors.

18. Vinayy says:

(sorry for a repeat post)
Sometimes 1, 2 or 3 columns go empty in some tickets. You might want to look into this.

19. Modeste says:

Hi chandoo,
I also created my own bingo/housie ticket generator ;o)))
with all 90 numbers and with speeching draw ;o))
it's another way to generate 15 random number between 1 to 90 and fill them in 3 boards of 15 random spots in a grid of 3 rows by 9 columns , 5 numbers by row
(45 numbers among 90 without duplicate)

formulas are in hidden rows (1 to 35)

here is my workbook

I also write other Excel stuff for fun at :
http://www.excelabo.net/search/node/jeux%20geedee

this URL belong to my good MVP friend (Misange)
The French Excel addict site !!!!
http://www.excelabo.net

cheers !!!

20. Jo says:

What happened to number 90???

21. Chandoo says:

@Modeste: Thanks for sharing your article.. 🙂

@Jo.. "I have removed number “90? from the list in order to reduce some complexity in generating the tickets." Generating 90 along with 80-89 creates a tricky problem of having 11 numbers in the last band while every other column has only 10 possible values.

May be you can take a look at the workbook formulas and help me generate the 90 as well by changing them...

22. Jim Cone says:

If you want/need a 5 x 5 USA version...
My 'Bingo Card Variety' workbook does Bingo, Buzzword Bingo and Bible Bingo.
'--
Jim Cone
Portland, Oregon USA

23. Jai Daga says:

Hi Chandoo / Jim,

Thanks for the details and excellent tool.

I am working for a media company in India and based out of Mumbai. We want to generate huge number of bingo tickets in 5x5 version with 26 grids in one sheet and roughly 13 million such sheets.

Please let me know if either of you can help me on this.
Not sure if it can be done in XL or VBA .

This is very urgent and need your help.
You can call me on 91-9820614804.

Thanks & Rgds

Jai Daga

24. Jim Cone says:

Jai Daga,
You need to get quotes from at least three commercial printers.
The volumes you are considering will be very attractive to anyone in the printing business.
'--
Jim Cone

25. Jai says:

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the reply. I understand its good for printing business and lot of vendors are already approaching us.

Issue is of generating these 5*5 tickets and each ticket to have unique 8-10 digit identity code.

Basically below is the requirement

***********
Each sheet will have 26 tickets

Each ticket have 5*5 grid acc to the US 1-75 number system but with no free space

Each ticket has a unique 8-10 digit pin code
We plan to print 5 million sheets (each sheet having 26 tickets)

There will be 1.25 million sheets which will be unique and the balance sheets (3.75m) will have the same tickets
However pin code will be unique in each ticket and hence there will be 5*26=130million unique pin codes
These output needs to come on an excel or as a PDF file in the same format as the sheet
*************
Let me know if you can guide me of such software or program that can be used by me for ticket generation.

Thanks

Jai

26. Jim Cone says:

Jai,
I might be able to generate the 130,000,000 serial numbers in an Excel workbook (.xls). Possibly Ten million numbers on each of thirteen worksheets.
It would have to be on a paid basis.
Contact me at...
james.coneXXX@comcast.netXXX (remove the XXX)
if you would like to discuss further.
Jim Cone
Portland, Oregon USA

27. Shyaamal says:

Hi Chandoo, i have downloaded your housie ticket generator, just have one query, how many maximum unique tickets it can make ????
do help me with this,
Shyaamal

28. Chandoo says:

@Shyaamal I guess the ticket generator should be able to make obscenely high number of unique tickets. since the process is randomized, you might see same tickets twice...

29. Vir says:

Hello Chandoo,
Awesome tool! .. I loved it.

Is there a way to tweak the generator so that I only generates no more than 4 tickets a worksheet (Make it nice and clean to print)?

I want to print more than a 1000 of these tickets, so dont want to click on refresh button 250 times.. so if once I click refresh, is it possible to generate 50 or so worksheet at a time? So that I can click refresh 4 times and get my 1000 tickets?

Thanks
Vir

30. Chandoo says:

@Vir.. Thank you.

you can easily modify the formulas and add a macro to do this. The file is unlocked, so feel free to make the changes..

31. DonQ says:

There is an online generator at http://www.bingocardmaker.co.uk, which generates the numbers in blocks of 6 cards, where every number from 1-90 is used. This is how the UK style books are usually printed, so that if you buy 6 tickets you are sure to have every number once and only once. Makes the generation routine a little trickier.

32. Rohit says:

Chandoo
Hey Thanks a lot ..
Im working on a merchant cargo vessel...
We are having a party tomorrow and needed this software badly..

Im sure it will be a big hit with the crew..
Thanks again

33. Sridhar says:

Chandu,

Please consider my feedback in positive way
Housie tickets I have seen has a basic Rule which is missing in you tickets

1) Numbes 1-90 - You have aleady mensioned So fine..
2) Take a six tickets in a Row - Numbers shall not Reaplete.
3) Each sheet will have 12 tickets

If you can work on your Excel fo fun of Indians stauing out side india appiciated...

34. amol v. says:

thnks chandooooo, illeterate logo ke liye aisa esy way rakhane ke liye.

35. chandra says:

I need bingo teckets in excel with serial numbers can you help me please Tnks In Advance

36. edward says:

Hi Chandoo,
really liked your bingo sheet. wanted to make a program of it in delphi or vb. i cannot figure how the randomizing of the numbers is to be done properly.
1. Row wise select ion of 5 numbers and place random (0-99) in these five places
2. random selection of 15 numbers and place then as 10,20,30 so on
has a function been done by you?

37. [...] Make Bingo / Housie Tickets using Excel (American version here) [...]

38. Jennifer says:

Hi there - this looks great. I need to do some bingo cards with 'acronyms' on them instead of numbers - how do I amend your excel spreadsheet to make this happen?
Thanks

39. Pratik says:

Thanks Dear..!!

40. FloydPink says:

Made a random number generator that could go along with the spreadsheet you've here... 🙂

http://jsfiddle.net/FloydPink/KHLtw/embedded/result/

41. BobH says:

These tickets can not be used to play standard 90 ball Bingo, the number 90 is missing and the tickets must be produced in blocks of 6 which contain every number from 1 to 90. Also you can not have any columns with three blanks ( no numbers ) on the same ticket.

42. I'm really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one these days.

43. mezzic says:

Hi

i love this is their any way you can do 6 tickets togethor and have all numbers within the 6 tickets

cheers mezzic

44. Karen says:

hi
just downloaded the bingo for a Retirement Village, fantastic, i had to tweak it a bit to make it bigger.  this is now outstanding.  thanks.

45. Venkatesh says:

Thanks Chandoo. really awesome

46. pete reeve says:

hi chando, fabulous work, i would like to use this but for a 5 row 25 number card, what changes should i make & how?
regards

47. Ushma says:

Hi Chandoo,
I wish to Customise these tickets for one of my wedding ceremony.
Basically I wanted to replace numbers with Names/Movies etc. So in total I will have 89 names and when the excel generates the numbers, the names should get replaced with it depending on how it is configured.
eg : For Number 1 = DDLJ
2 = DON , etc
Can you please suggest the command to be written in excel which will support the above idea. It would be a great help.

48. […] Case study: Generating housie (bingo) number cards using Excel […]

49. Kushal Patel says:

Hi Chandoo,

Can i print aound 3000 tickets using your generator ?

50. Devendra says:

Hi!

I need Housie ticket printing software for professional use, can u provide.

51. Pinang says:

Hi,

Can any one please mail me this housie tickets file on my email ID?

pinangp88@gmail.com

Thanks

52. stephen says:

column 1 should contain 1 to 10, column 2 should contain 11 to 20 and so on... obviously you took out number 90 for formula convenience, but i think putting the right numbers into the right column would do the same, yet this way you make an authentic housie ticket... thanks for the post though, it helps me creating my own ticket generator.

53. shaili says:

I have customized my housie ticket...which contains 3 rows and 3 columns. ..and there are 300 such tickets. .. how can I generate the numbers. .

54. Pawan says:

Hello,

I am organizing a fundraiser in our company. I have planned for tambola and the Spread Sheet provided by Chandoo is just awesome for the task. We have 1200+ staff so I guess I need to print this for 24 or so times. I only have two requirements.
1. Can the ticket be numbered so that we can keep track who has taken which ticket.
2. At this large number what is the probability or repeated tickets. You know we don't want to spend all in prices.
I would be looking for options but any quick help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Pawan

55. Really... It's Amazing stuff !!!

i want to print different names n generate tickets instead of 1 , 2,3....90.
where to replace this no in excel sheet n print tickets n 4 tickets on A4 paper

57. Hi,
Great use of EXcel... SO much to learn !
I want to create a quiz with answers given to the participants in a random (Bingo / Housie) Pattern.

Can we generate "word ( eg First Names) based" Bingo tickets.
I would prefer same format.

58. Rajeshktelang says: