Tech Tip: Freezing Rows and Columns in Excel

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If you are working on large spreadsheets, it can be very easy to get lost and forget what a certain row or column is being used for. It can be extremely handy to freeze certain rows or columns so that they won’t move when you’re scrolling through the rest of the spreadsheet. Here’s how you can go about doing this.

Excel lets you freeze things in one of three ways:

  • You can freeze the topmost row.
  • You can freeze the leftmost column.
  • You can freeze multiple rows or multiple columns (or both) to have those visible all the time.

So here’s how you do it.

Freeze the Top Row

If you want to get the top row to stay put, it’s pretty straight forward. Click on the “View” tab, click on “Freeze Panes” and then “Freeze Top Row.”

Now when you scroll up and down, the top row stays put.

If you want to reverse that, go back to the “View” menu, click on “Freeze Panes” again and select “Unfreeze Panes” to get things flowing back to normal.

Freezing the First Column

Sometimes the left column has info that you want visible at all times. This is very straight-forward as well.

Go back to the “View” tab, select “Freeze Panes” and then select “Freeze First Column.”

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As before, to get things back unfrozen, go back and select “Unfreeze Panes” again.

Freeze Other Groups and Rows

The above two options work in a perfect world, but sometime the data you need visible on screen all the time isn’t the top row or first column. In some case, you want to freeze multiple rows or columns (or even both).

To freeze several rows, click on the row number below the bottom-most row that you want to freeze. So if you want rows 1-4 to freeze, click on row 5 (the number to the left of the row) to select the entire row:

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Now head back up to the view menu, select “Freeze Panes” and select “Freeze Panes.”

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As you scroll down the sheet, the top several rows will remain frozen and there will be a gray line that will show where the edge of the frozen panes.

To freeze a handful of columns instead, click the column to the right of the columns you want frozen, and freeze the panes again. So if we want columns A through D to stay visible, we select column E and then freeze the panes line before:

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Freezing Columns and Rows

You can freeze groups of row or a groups of columns, but did you know you can freeze multiple rows and columns at the same time?

Say we wanted to freeze the left three columns (A-C) and the top three rows (1-3) so they’d be visible as we scroll through the spreadsheet. To do this, select the upper-left-most cell that you don’t want to freeze. In this case, that would be cell D4. Click once on cell D4, and then head up to the View à Freeze Panes à Freeze Panes menu as before, and you can now scroll around the spreadsheet and those rows and columns will remain visible. 

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