How to Generate All Permutations in Excel

Written by

Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Laura Tsitlidze

Last updated on December 12, 2022

This tutorial demonstrates how to generate all permutations in Excel.


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Generate All Permutations

Using a VBA macro, you can generate all possible permutations of a given set of characters. All you need to do is create a small piece of code and enter the input characters.

  1. In the Ribbon, go to Developer > Visual Basic. If you don’t have this tab available, find out how to add the Developer tab.


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  1. In the VBA window, go to Insert > Module.


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  1. In the code window on the right side, paste the following code and save.
Sub GetString()
    Dim xStr As String
    Dim FRow As Long
    Dim xScreen As Boolean
    xScreen = Application.ScreenUpdating
    Application.ScreenUpdating = False
    xStr = Application.InputBox("Enter text to permute:", "Permutation", , , , , , 2)
    If Len(xStr) < 2 Then Exit Sub
    If Len(xStr) >= 8 Then
        MsgBox "Too many permutations!", vbInformation, "Permutation"
        Exit Sub
        FRow = 1
        Call GetPermutation("", xStr, FRow)
    End If
    Application.ScreenUpdating = xScreen
End Sub
Sub GetPermutation(Str1 As String, Str2 As String, ByRef xRow As Long)
    Dim i As Integer, xLen As Integer
    xLen = Len(Str2)
    If xLen < 2 Then
        Range("A" & xRow) = Str1 & Str2
        xRow = xRow + 1
        For i = 1 To xLen
            Call GetPermutation(Str1 + Mid(Str2, i, 1), Left(Str2, i - 1) + Right(Str2, xLen - i), xRow)
    End If
End Sub


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  1. Now you have created the GetString macro, and you can run it. In the Ribbon, go to Developer > Macros.


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  1. If it’s not already selected, select the macro, and click Run.


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  1. In the pop-up window, enter characters for permutation (here, abcde), and click OK.


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As a result, in Column A, you get all possible (120) permutations of entered characters.


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In addition to the macro described above, Excel has a built in function, the PERMUT Function, which enables you to calculate how many permutations occur for any given numbers. This function only works with numbers and not with text.

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