How to Freeze Panes in Excel

Freezing panes in Excel allows you to scroll through your spreadsheet content, while keeping one or more rows or columns fixed. The following sections describe how to freeze panes in Excel in different ways.

Excel Freeze Panes Index:
Freeze Top Row in Excel
Freeze First Column in Excel
Freeze a Specified Number of Rows and/or Columns
Unfreeze Panes in Excel

Freeze Top Row in Excel

If you just want to freeze the top row of your spreadsheet, simply select the option Freeze Top Row from the Freeze Panes drop-down menu. This option is generally found in the 'Window' grouping, within View tab of the Excel ribbon (see below).

Freeze Top Row Option on the Excel Ribbon

Example - Freeze the Top Row of a Spreadsheet

The top row of the example spreadsheet shown below has been frozen by selecting the Freeze Top Row option from the Excel ribbon. It is seen that Excel has displayed a black line below the top row, to highlight that it has been frozen.

The user can now scroll up and down the spreadsheet to view the rows of data, while the top row remains visible.

Spreadsheet With Top Row Frozen


Freeze First Column in Excel

If you want to freeze just the first column of your spreadsheet, simply select the option Freeze First Column from the Freeze Panes drop-down menu. This option is generally located in the 'Window' grouping, within View tab of the Excel ribbon (see below).

Freeze First Column Option on the Excel Ribbon

Example - Freeze the First Column of a Spreadsheet

Spreadsheet With First Column Frozen

The first column of the above example spreadsheet on the right has been frozen by selecting the Freeze First Column option from the Excel ribbon.

It is seen that Excel has displayed a black line to the right of the first column, to highlight that it has been frozen.

The user can now scroll right and left across the spreadsheet to view the columns of data, while the first column remains visible.



Freeze a Specified Number of Rows and/or Columns

If you want to freeze more than one row or column of your spreadsheet, or if you want to freeze rows and columns at the same time, this is done using the Freeze Panes option from within the Freeze Panes drop-down menu on the View tab of the Excel ribbon (see below).

Freeze Panes Option on the Excel Ribbon

When using the Freeze Panes option, the rows and/or columns that are frozen depend on the current selected cell(s) in your worksheet. All rows above and all columns to the left of the current selection are frozen. This is illustrated in the examples below.

Example 1 - Freeze Top Row and First Column in Excel

In order to freeze the top row and the first column of your spreadsheet:

Spreadsheet With Top Row and First Column Frozen

This will freeze the top row and first column of the spreadsheet, as required.

The top row and first column of the above example spreadsheet on the right have been frozen in this way. It is seen that Excel has displayed black lines below the top row and to the right of the first column, to highlight that they have been frozen.

Example 2 - Freeze Top 2 Rows in Excel

In order to freeze the top two rows of your spreadsheet:

Spreadsheet With Top Two Rows Frozen

As there are no columns to the left of the selected cell, this will apply the freeze panes to just the top two rows of the spreadsheet.

The top two rows of the above example spreadsheet on the right have been frozen in this way. Once again, Excel has displayed a black line below row 2, to highlight that the rows above have been frozen.


Unfreeze Panes in Excel

Once rows and/or columns have been frozen in your spreadsheet, the Unfreeze Panes option will appear in the Freeze Panes drop-down menu (see below).

Unfreeze Panes Option on the Excel Ribbon

Selecting the Unfreeze Panes option will unfreeze all rows and columns in the current spreadsheet.