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How to Freeze Rows and Columns in Excel (Freeze Panes)

If you have large Excel worksheets, sometimes the information you need is several rows or columns away. If this sounds familiar, you should learn to split your screen into different sections with the freeze panes command!

What is Freeze Panes in Excel?

Let’s start with the basics. What is freeze panes in Excel and where is the command located?

Freeze panes locks rows or columns in place while allowing you to scroll through the rest of the data in your worksheet. The Freeze Panes command is located in Excel’s ribbon on the View tab in the Windows group – and it’s super easy to use.

Let’s look at an example.

How to Freeze Rows and Columns in Excel

When you select Freeze Panes, a drop-down menu appears with additional options.

Freeze Panes command

Freeze Top Row

If you click the Freeze Panes button then select Freeze Top Row, the top row (row 1) will remain visible as you scroll to examine additional rows of data.

This screenshot shows a worksheet before any rows or columns are frozen.

Freeze Top Row

The second screenshot shows the same worksheet after I selected Freeze Top Row and scrolled down to examine the figures in row 4 (Deli Counter) in more detail.

Notice that the row numbers go from 1 to 4. Rows 2 – 3 aren’t visible because they’ve scrolled “behind” the top row – which is now static.

Freeze Top Row - scrolled to row 4

To unfreeze panes, click the Freeze Panes button in the View > Window group and select Unfreeze Panes.

How to Freeze Multiple Rows

To freeze multiple rows you just need to click on a cell lower down in your worksheet. All rows above the cell that you select will remain visible.

For example, if I select cell A4 then click Freeze Panes > Freeze Panes, I would lock rows 1 – 3. Row 4 (and below) would still scroll.

Freeze First Column

If you select the Freeze Panes button then click Freeze First Column, you only freeze column A. The first column in your spreadsheet will remain visible as you scroll to the right to examine additional columns of data.

This screenshot shows the worksheet after I selected Freeze First Column and scrolled to the right to examine column D (Q3) in more detail.

Freeze First Column

How to Freeze Multiple Columns

To freeze multiple columns you just need to click on a cell further to the right. All columns to the left the cell that you select will remain visible.

For example, if I select cell D1 then click Freeze Panes > Freeze Panes, columns A – C would be frozen. Column D (and above) would scroll.

Freeze Multiple Rows and Columns at the Same Time

What if you want to freeze multiple rows and columns at the same time?

If you want to freeze the top row and first column in a worksheet, you would click on cell B2, select Freeze Panes from the View > Window group, then click Freeze Panes from the drop-down menu.

This screenshot shows the worksheet after I selected Freeze Panes from View > Window then selected Freeze Panes from the drop-down menu.

You can scroll to the right and down when you freeze panes this way. Your column headings and row titles remain visible.

Freeze Panes

Important: When you use Freeze Panes using this technique, you freeze columns to the left – and rows above – the selected cell.

Unfreeze Panes

When you’re done scrolling to display rows and columns, you can return your worksheet to its former condition by clicking Unfreeze Panes.

Simply select Freeze Panes in the View > Window group and select Unfreeze Panes from the drop-down menu.

Saving an Excel Workbook with Freeze Panes Applied

If you save an Excel Workbook after clicking the Freeze Panes button, the rows and columns will remain frozen when you reopen the file.

This can extremely helpful if you need to have certain rows and columns remain static while you scroll to different parts of the worksheet.

By Michael Belfry

Working as a full-time training consultant, Michael provides Microsoft Office courses to government and private sector clients across Canada.