Here’s something quite cool. Open Microsoft Word and type “= rand(200,99)” (without the pull quotes) and hit Enter. What you should get are a bejillion lines of “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
Pretty sweet hey? I thought so. Just a little something special to take with you.
There is an urban myth that this is a bug with Word for Windows. A variation of this myth is that Microsoft programmers left it as an ‘Easter Egg’. Some scheme that programmers often leave code in programs, partly to amuse, partly to test, but mainly because most programmers are geeks and game players.
Yet the truth of the matter is that = rand(200,99) is simply a function included by design to demonstrate the maximum parameters of sentences and paragraphs. If you are intellectually gifted, you may have realised that the first number refers to the paragraphs, while the second number refers to the sentences.
Example: = rand (1,5)
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
You can type in any numbers between the brackets or simply type = rand() to get the same effect. = rand() is a well known random function hand for statistics and is used for simulating card games such as blackjack. My spidey senses are telling me that “rand” is somehow short for “random.”
Finally today, the reason why the sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” is used is because it contains every letter in the English alphabet. You might recall having to write this sentence a lot in your early school-going days during English lessons. In programming it is used to test different fonts and see how letters with tails appear.
Don’t say you didn’t learn anything today!
PS: 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.