Creating a Wheel Of Fortune with Excel



Excel is a very serious and powerful business application. That doesn't mean we can't have some fun with it. In this article I'll explain how I've built an Excel file which enables you to play with a wheel of fortune. With sound and all!

This is what it'll look like when we're done:

Wheel Of Fortune In Excel

Download the accompanying file from here

Generating the numbers

Getting random numbers isn't hard in Excel, that is what the RAND() function is for. We'll use a two-column table. The first column contains whole numbers 1 ... 300. The second contains the =RAND() function. When we're about to do a draw, we simply sort the table on column B. This is what our table looks like (worksheet Step 1):

Wheel Of Fortune In Excel, the data

Worksheet Step 2 shows the prepared list of numbers, still in their 1, 2, 3 order. I've picked a rather arbitrary cell as the "drawn number cell", in this case cell A14. So after a recalc and sort, cell A14 already displays our winning number. The winner is 13. Column D will hold our previous winners.

Boring of course. We want animation!

Animating the numbers

On worksheet Step 3 we'll start using the table on sheet Step 2. I've left the table in 1, 2, 3 sort for now so we can easily see how it works.

Cell C3 contains a fixed number. We'll start incrementing that number when we start a draw. Cells C4:C28 contain a simple formula: =C3+1. So as soon as we add 1 to cell C3, 1 will be added to all cells below that too.

We'll use these numbers to pick the numbers from the previous worksheet, using the OFFSET function. See Cell G3: =OFFSET('Step 2'!$A$1,C3,0,1,1)

Try entering 1, 2, 3, 4 into cell C3 and see what happens. If you're quick enough, the numbers will appear to be moving.

Controlling the highest possible number in the draw

I needed a way to set a maximum number (the wheel of fortune was used at an event and we didn't know up front how many participants there would be). Worksheet Step 4 demonstrates how this was done.

In cell B1 the max number is set. This cell is used by some formulas AND by a little VBA macro we'll get to later.

Lets have a look at column D. It contains this formula: =MOD(C3,$B$1)+1. In effect, this formula causes the numbers to "roll over": to restart at 1, as soon as a cell in col C reaches the maximum value. And I've modified the formula in column F to now use column D for the index, rather than column C. Try entering a number into cell C3 which is close to the current max in cell B1 and you'll see what I mean:

Wheel Of Fortune In Excel, max items

Making it look like a wheel

So now that we've got the numbers right, lets do some formatting.

Click on sheet "Wheel 1". You'll see I've removed all helper columns, leaving just our list of numbers for the wheel and the pointer to the winning cell:

Wheel Of Fortune In Excel, Just the numbers

On Sheet Wheel 2 I have added some colors and borders. This is starting to look nice!

Wheel Of Fortune In Excel, Creating a wheel step 1

Lets turn to Sheet Wheel 3. I've added quite some trickery there!

  • Conditional formatting (look at column AA for the formulas) ensures the number cells have alternate colors
  • Two extra columns (to the left and right of the wheel) have been added. Their shading of every fifth row will trick our eyes into believing the wheel turns!
  • I've also fiddled around with the font sizes, making the cells near the top and bottom of the wheel appear further away. Just like in a real wheel.

Wheel Of Fortune In Excel, Creating a wheel step 2

Sheet Wheel 4 shows the one-but-last stage, where I have modified row heights and column widths. Pretty?

Wheel Of Fortune In Excel, Creating a wheel step 3

Lets turn to sheet Play.

Wheel Of Fortune In Excel, Creating a wheel step 4

Notice the flashy letters? Conditional formatting again!

Alas, the wheel doesn't turn without some VBA code.

VBA code

I'm going to be a bit lazy and just dump the code here. There are two  modules.

Module modPlay

The trickery here is that this routine called "SpinIt" auto-adjusts itself so that it'll take precisely 18 seconds to finish turning the wheel. Why? Because I've added sound effects and the sound effect file (WheelOfFortune.wav) takes 18 seconds to play!

Option Explicit

Dim mlLoopFactor As Long

Sub SpinIt()
    Dim lCT As Long
    Dim lCt2 As Long
    Dim lCount As Long
    Dim dTime As Double
    Dim dStart As Double
    Dim bOK As Boolean
    If mlLoopFactor = 0 Then mlLoopFactor = 5000
    lCount = Worksheets("Step 4").Range("B1").Value
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    With Worksheets("Step 2")
            .Range("A1:B300").Sort Key1:=.Range("A1"), _
                                   Order1:=xlAscending, Header:=xlYes, _
                                   OrderCustom:=1, MatchCase:=False, Orientation:=xlTopToBottom, _

            .Range("A1:B" & lCount + 1).Sort Key1:=.Range("B1"), _
                                              Order1:=xlAscending, Header:=xlYes, _
                                              OrderCustom:=1, MatchCase:=False, Orientation:=xlTopToBottom, _
            bOK = Add2Numbers(.Range("A14").Value)
        Loop Until bOK
    End With
    Application.ScreenUpdating = True
    dStart = Timer
    With Worksheets("Step 4")
        For lCT = lCount To 0 Step -1
            .Range("C3").Value = lCT
            '            DoEvents
            dTime = Timer
            Loop Until Timer - dTime > (lCount - lCT) / mlLoopFactor
    End With
    dStart = (Timer - dStart)


    mlLoopFactor = 1 / (17.5 / dStart * (1 / mlLoopFactor))
    Application.Wait Now + TimeValue("00:00:01")
End Sub

Function Add2Numbers(lValue As Long) As Boolean
    Dim ocell As Range
    Dim oSh As Worksheet
    Set oSh = Worksheets("Step 2")
    Set ocell = oSh.Range("D2:D1000").Find(lValue, oSh.Range("D2"), xlValues, xlWhole, , xlNext, False, , False)
    If ocell Is Nothing Then
        Add2Numbers = True
        oSh.Range("D" & oSh.Rows.Count).End(xlUp).Offset(1).Value = lValue
        Add2Numbers = False
    End If
End Function

Public Sub ResetNumbers(Optional bAsk As Boolean = True)
    Dim oSh As Worksheet
    Dim bDo As Boolean
    Set oSh = Worksheets("Step 2")
    If bAsk Then
        bDo = (MsgBox("Are you sure you want to start over?", vbQuestion + vbYesNo) = vbYes)
        bDo = True
    End If
    If bDo Then
        oSh.Range(oSh.Range("D2"), oSh.Range("D" & oSh.Rows.Count).End(xlUp).Offset(1)).Clear
    End If
End Sub

Module modSound

To play the sound I used some Windows API stuff. Don't worry if you don't understand this, set it and forget it!


Option Explicit

#If VBA7 Then
    Private Declare PtrSafe Function sndPlaySound Lib "winmm.dll" Alias "sndPlaySoundA" _
            (ByVal lpszSoundName As String, ByVal uFlags As Long) As Long
    Private Declare Function sndPlaySound Lib "winmm.dll" Alias "sndPlaySoundA" _
            (ByVal lpszSoundName As String, ByVal uFlags As Long) As Long
#End If

'Sound constants
Private Const SND_SYNC = &H0
Private Const SND_ASYNC = &H1
Private Const SND_NODEFAULT = &H2
Private Const SND_LOOP = &H8
Private Const SND_NOSTOP = &H10

Sub PlayBackLoop()
    If Len(Dir(ThisWorkbook.Path & "\WheelOfFortune.wav")) > 0 Then
        WAVLoop ThisWorkbook.Path & "\WheelOfFortune.wav"
    End If
End Sub

Sub PlayBackStop()
    Call WAVPlay(vbNullString)
End Sub

Sub WAVLoop(File As String)
    Dim SoundName As String
    Dim wFlags As Long
    Dim x As Long
    SoundName = File
    wFlags = SND_ASYNC Or SND_LOOP
    x = sndPlaySound(SoundName, wFlags)
    If x = 0 Then MsgBox "Can't play the audio file. ", vbCritical, "Error"

End Sub

Sub WAVPlay(File As String)
    Dim SoundName As String
    Dim wFlags As Long
    Dim x As Long
    SoundName = File
    x = sndPlaySound(SoundName, wFlags)
    If x = 0 Then MsgBox "Can't play the audio file. ", vbCritical, "Error"

End Sub

The end result

Before I forget, this is the end result. The animated gif isn't as nice as the Excel file however, so make sure you download it (link at top).

Wheel Of Fortune In Excel, The end result

Other fun stuff from my website

Lotto (Bingo)


That's all folks!


Showing last 8 comments of 22 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (18-2-2020 18:00:00) deeplink to this comment

Hi Gian,

I'm afraid the wheel of fortune needs at least as many numbers as I put on the visible part of the wheel (26).

Comment by: Gian (18-2-2020 19:39:00) deeplink to this comment

Thanks for your answer Jan, Well, I'll try something on my own but i doubt i can fix the issue ):, any way it is a great file for any one who uses it, Thank you for showing us how to do it as well!

Comment by: Lloyd (28-7-2020 11:24:00) deeplink to this comment

Hi, i am trying to use your wheel of fortune code for my company's lucky draw. I tried to do it using your example however, VBA keep prompting me an error saying "Sub or function not defined. Is it possible if I email you the file and help me to take a look at it?

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (28-7-2020 11:51:00) deeplink to this comment

Hi Lloyd,

Sure, go ahead and send the file. Please refer to this message too.

Comment by: Jeremy (5-10-2022 00:10:00) deeplink to this comment

Firstly, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.
Whenever I edit, particularly when changing the number of rows, the VBA breaks here...
bOK = Add2Numbers(.Range("A14").Value)

Thank you for any suggestions you have!

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (5-10-2022 10:16:00) deeplink to this comment

Hi Jeremy,

Precisely which error do you get please?

Comment by: Brandon (10-11-2023 04:22:00) deeplink to this comment

How would you ensure that the already drawn numbers are not selected again upon respin?

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (10-11-2023 11:10:00) deeplink to this comment

Hi Brandon,

In the VBA code there is a function called Add2Numbers which tries to add the current random number to a list of previously selected numbers. It returns True if the new number is not in the list and false if it already is. The calling routine has a Do loop which continues to run until that function returns True.

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