Privacy

Your data is stored in Google Analytics, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Cloud Platform, in an account owned by Martin Omander. Your data is not shared, rented or sold to any other third parties.

Full privacy policy for WheelOfNames.com

Using the wheel

How do I spin the wheel?

You click or tap anywhere on the wheel itself.


How do I find my saved wheels?

Click Open and a dialog box will open. In that box you can chose the wheel you want to open.


Can I import users from social media?

You can import users from Twitter and put their names on the wheel. This can be useful if you run an event and want to encourage your attendees to tweet about it with a specific hashtag by raffling off a prize among those who did. To import everyone who tweeted your hashtag, click Import and then Import Twitter users. Enter your hashtag in the dialog box and click OK. After a few seconds, the users who tweeted your hashtag in the last 24 hours appear on the wheel (in addition to those who are already there). If there are more than 200 tweets with your hashtag in the last 24 hours, only the most recent 200 tweets are considered.


I want to raffle off a prize among those of my attendees who fill out my survey. How do I do this?

Create your survey in Google Forms. Include one question where you ask for the attendee’s name or email address. Click Summary on the left and then click the green spreadsheet icon. This creates a new spreadsheet where all responses will be recorded. Share the link to your form among your attendees. Form links are long, so you may want to use a URL shortener, like bit.ly, to create a link that users can enter by hand.

Once your attendees start submitting the form, go to wheelofnames.com and click Import, then Link Google Spreadsheet. After logging in you will be able to pick which of your Google spreadsheets to read data from, and which tab and column in that spreadsheet. The wheel and the spreadsheet are now linked, and as new form submissions are made, they will appear in the wheel automatically. If you remove a winner from the wheel, the link to the spreadsheet is broken and it won't be automatically updated if the spreadsheet changes.


How do I copy my names/items from a spreadsheet to the wheel?

Click Import, then Link Google Spreadsheet. After logging in you will be able to pick which of your Google spreadsheets to read data from, and which tab and column in that spreadsheet. The wheel and the spreadsheet are now linked. If any edits are made to the spreadsheets, they will appear in the wheel automatically.


How many names/items can I put on the wheel?

You can have 48 entries on the wheel at once. If you enter, say, 500 names in the text box, 48 random names are put on wheel every second. When you start spinning the wheel, the 48 names on the wheel at that moment stay on the wheel until it comes to a stop. The result is that all 500 names in the text box have the same chance of winning.


Do I need to log in or have a Google account to use the wheel?

No, you can use the wheel without logging in. The wheel names and settings will be saved on your computer/phone and will appear automatically next time you open the wheel website. (Note that if you or your system administrator cleans out your browser’s local storage, the names and settings are lost).

If you want to save multiple wheels in your account or link to one of your Google spreadsheets, you need to log in with your Google/GMail account.


Can you put more than one name on each pie slice?

Each row in the text box will become one pie slice in the wheel. If you want one pie slice to say “Mary & Bob”, for example, just enter that string as one row in the text box.


I want to show my items in a specific order on the wheel. How do I do that?

The items appears on the same wheel as you have entered them in the text box. The first item from the text box appears at the start position of the wheel, then second item from the text box appears above the first item, etc.


Can I run the wheel when I’m not online?

To open the website you need to be online. But once it’s open, you don’t need to be online to edit the wheel or spin it.

You do need to be online to save or share wheels, or to get users from Twitter or a Google spreadsheet.


Can I run the wheel in fullscreen?

Yes, click Enter fullscreen at the top of the page.


Can the wheel display non-Latin characters?

Yes, just enter the characters you want in the text-box. See here for a wheel showing the word for water in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Latin, Russian, Thai and Vietnamese.


Can the wheel display symbols instead of text?

Yes, you can copy special characters like smileys from other websites and paste them into the text box. They will then appear on the wheel. See this wheel for an example. Emojipedia is a great place to find characters to copy.


Can the wheel display images instead of text?

Yes, click the ADD IMAGE button and you can upload an image from your computer. If you write text next to the image in the text-box, that text will appear on top of the image.

Images with uniform background color work the best. Each slice with an image gets the same background color as the image. Some example wheels:


Is there a mobile app?

No, but the wheel has been optimized to run well on most mobile phones and tablets. As a matter of fact, about half of the people who use the wheel do so from mobile phones or tablets.


What devices does the app run on?

The app runs in your device’s web browser. These browsers are supported:

  • Chrome: version 53 and newer
  • Safari: version 6 and newer
  • Edge: all versions
  • Firefox: version 49 and newer
  • Samsung Internet: all versions
  • Internet Explorer: version 11 (but you can't save colors and other settings)
  • Opera: all versions

Creator

This wheel app was created by Martin Omander, Google Developer Relations (Twitter profile). Feel free to use the app if you need to raffle off something. If you like this app or have ideas for improvements, let me know!

Google logo

The Google logo is the property of Google, Inc. For other uses of the logo, see here.

Saving wheels

Can I save a wheel I have built?

Yes, you can. If you close the page and return to it later, the wheel will show the names and colors it displayed when you closed it previously.

If you want to save multiple wheels, say multiple class rosters of student names, click Save at the top of the page. You will be asked to log in with your Google account. After you have done so, you can save current wheel under a name of your choosing. You can also overwrite a previously saved wheel by picking it in the dropdown box.


Can I save several different wheels?

Yes, you can. Just click Save and enter a new name. You can open any of your previously saved wheels by clicking Open at the top of the page.


How do I swap between wheels?

You can open any of your previously saved wheels by clicking Open at the top of the page.


Can I save images/symbols instead of names on a wheel?

Yes, just save them like any other wheel.


When I remove a winning name from the wheel, does it get removed from my saved wheel as well?

No, it doesn’t. For example, let’s say you save a wheel of students as “Class 5”: Alice, Bob, Carol, David. You open “Class 5”, spin and Alice comes up the winner. If you click “Remove winner” Alice will disappear from the wheel. But if you click Open to open “Class 5” again, the wheel will reappear with all students, including Alice.


Can I change the names/items in my saved wheels?

Yes, edit the wheel, click Save at the top of the screen and pick the name of the wheel you want to overwrite in the dropdown box that appears.


Can I access my saved wheels from multiple devices?

Yes, you can access all of your saved wheels if you log in as the same user on the other device.


Can I delete a previously saved wheel?

Yes, click Open and then click the “Delete” button for the wheel that you want to delete. Warning: you can’t undo wheel deletion, so make sure you really want to delete a wheel before you click the button!

Audio

The sound effects were downloaded from SoundBible.com and are used (unmodified) under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. They have been recorded by:

  • Hole Punch: Simon Craggs
  • Tick: DeepFrozenApps
  • Applause: Yannick Lemieux

Sharing

How do I share this app with my friends?

Tell them to go to wheelofnames.com or run a web search for “wheel of names”.


Can I share a wheel that I have built?

Yes, click Share and a link appears. You can use email, social media, etc to share that link. Anyone who uses the link will see the wheel just the way it looks to you, including names, colors, and sound settings.


Someone shared a link to a wheel with me. How do I save it?

You have two options:

  1. Either click Save and give the wheel a name. It will be saved in your account and you can retrieve it later by clicking Open.
  2. Or use your browser to save a bookmark to the link (Ctrl+B or Command+B).

Can I record a video of spinning the wheel and then post it on my website/blog/social media?

You can use any screen capture software to record yourself spinning the wheel. You can read more about which screen recorder to pick, depending on your operating system:


Can I put the wheel on my website or blog?

Yes, insert this HTML in your web page:

<iframe
  width="100%" height="800"
  src="https://wheelofnames.com">
</iframe>
              

You may want to experiment with the values of width and height to get a good fit.


Can I put the wheel in a slide presentation?

Depends on which presentation software you are using:

I only use Google Slides, so I haven’t been able to try the Powerpoint or the Keynote solution myself. Let me know how it goes!

Business questions

What is the license? What am I allowed to do with the wheel?

Allowed:

  • Use this app for legal commercial and non-commercial purposes without charge. In other words, you can use it in your school classroom, for your company, in your non-profit organization, on your YouTube channel, on your blog, etc.
  • Include this app in your website with an <iframe>.
  • When you use the app in front of an audience, I would appreciate if you told them about this website, but you don't have to.

Not allowed:

  • The app is not open-source and you are not allowed to copy the application and host it yourself.

Can I advertise on Wheel of Names?

No, I do not accept ads. Many teachers use the wheel in their classrooms. We wouldn’t want to show ads to students in school.


I have an idea/request/complaint. How do I submit it?

I love your ideas/requests and complaints. Maybe not really love complaints, but good things come out of most of them. Please submit the Feedback form.

Note that since the initial release of the app, the vast majority of features I added to the app started as a user submitting the feedback form.


Can you customize Wheel of Names for my organization?

No, but I would be interested in hearing what customization you’d like. Please submit the Feedback form. If enough people request something, I will build it for all users and everyone wins.


Will you sell my data?

No, I won’t. Please read the app’s privacy policy for more details. I have tried to make it concise and readable, even for those of us who aren’t lawyers.


Why was Wheel of Names created?

I am a Developer Advocate at Google, which means that I speak at many public events. I needed a way to ensure that most attendees submitted my survey, telling me how I could improve my talk. If I simply asked attendees to submit a survey, about 10% of them did. But if I raffled off a prize among the attendees who submitted the survey, about 90% of them did!

So I needed an app that could pick a random name from a list of names. There were apps on the web that did this, but none of them were customizable enough. I wrote a first rough version of Wheel of Names on the bus home one day.

When I checked the web analytics numbers a year later I was surprised to see thousands of users every day. Users started reporting bugs, requesting new features, and telling me how useful the app was to them. What started as a throw-away piece of code had become a fun hobby and a supportive community.


What new features are on the way?

The most requested features right now are:

  • More customizations of wheel appearance.
  • Make the app icon appear on mobile devices and work completely offline.

If you want to upvote one of these features, or have other suggestions, please let me know by submitting the Feedback form!

Platform

This app runs on App Engine, Google's serverless platform for building scalable web applications and mobile backends. Just upload your code and Google will manage your app's availability. There are no servers for you to provision or maintain. Sweet!

To find out more about Google's developer offerings, go to developers.google.com.

Sound settings

Can I turn off the sound effects?

Yes. Click Customize, and a dialog box will appear where you can turn on or off the ticking sound made by the wheel, as well as the cheers sound effect played when the wheel stops.


Can I change the sound effects to my own?

Sorry, the app does not support this.


I want background music/sound, how do I do it?

There is no built-in support for this in the app. You can of course play music from another app or web page while you spin the wheel.

Customizing how the wheel behaves

Can I change how long the wheel spins?

Yes. Click Customize, and a dialog box will come up where you can set the spin time.


Can I change the text in the winner pop-up to something else?

Yes. Click Customize, and a dialog box will come up where you can set what the message in this pop-up will be.


Can I change the size of the text?

Sorry, the app does not support this. Instead, the text is rendered as large as possible while still fitting inside the pie slices.


Is the wheel rigged? Can I rig the wheel?

No and no. The wheel results are random. You wouldn’t want to play unfair, would you?

You can skew the odds by creating multiple entries with the same name. For example, if you’d like “Apple” to come up twice as often as “Banana”, enter “Apple” twice in the text box, and “Banana” only once.


Is the wheel really random? How do you make sure?

Yes, the results are random. When you click the wheel, it accelerates for exactly one second, then it is set to a random rotation between 0 and 360 degrees, and finally it decelerates to a stop. The setting of a random rotation is not visible to the naked eye as it happens when the wheel is spinning quite fast.

Is the random rotation truly random? Yes, it’s quite random, within the limits of what computers can do. The random number is created by the random number generator built into your browser’s Javascript engine.


When I click the SHUFFLE button, is the shuffle really random?

Yes, the shuffle is random. It uses the Durstenfeld algorithm, a computer-optimized variant of the Fisher–Yates shuffle.


How can I display more than one wheel running at the same time?

Create two browser windows side-by-side and point them both to wheelofnames.com.


I made a lot of settings changes, how do I save all of them for next time?

Your settings (like colors and sounds) are saved on your device. When you reopen the web page on the same device, the settings you last used are loaded again.

To make sure you don't lose your settings, or to use them on another device, click Save and give your wheel a name.