How to Freeze a Row in Excel

As of 2022, Excel can contain up to 1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns of data. Why is this mentioned in a post about Freezing Rows? Imagine trying to read a sheet with the headers 1000 rows above the data you are looking at. What does that number mean? Is this the primary email address or the secondary email address? Freezing rows and columns helps keep the information you need in view on the Excel window.

Can You Freeze a Specific Row in Excel Sheets?

Excel gives you several ways to freeze and unfreeze data. Here are the steps for freezing a specific row or column in your sheet:

Freeze the Top Row

    1. Scroll until the row you want to remain “on top” is the very first row in the window.
    2. Click the View
    3. Click the Freeze Panes
    4. Click Freeze Top Row.

Now when you scroll up and down through your spreadsheet, the top row stays in place and the other rows pass under it.

Important Tip! Excel will freeze ANY row that is at the top of the window using this method. It is a common misunderstanding that only Row 1 freezes. If the row that is frozen is not Row 1, you will not be able to scroll higher than the frozen row! For example, if you freeze Row 21 as your top row, then you will not be able to see Rows 1-20 until you unfreeze it.

Freeze the First Column

  1. Scroll until the column you want to remain “on the left” is the very first column in the window.
  2. Click the View
  3. Click the Freeze Panes
  4. Click Freeze First Column.

Now when you scroll left and right through your spreadsheet, the left column stays in place and the others pass under it.

Important Tip! Excel will freeze ANY column that is leftmost in the window using this method. If the column that is frozen is not Column A, you will not be able to scroll past the frozen one! For example, if you freeze Column D as your first column, then you will not be able to see Column A-C until you unfreeze it.

Note that these two commands can not be used together. Clicking Freeze First Column will cancel a freeze on the first row, for example. So that leads us to the next question:

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Can you freeze multiple rows AND columns in Excel?

The answer is yes, but it does take a little thinking to get your head around how it works. Here are the steps:

  1. Place your cursor in the cell to the right and/or below where you want the freezing lines to be drawn. Here are several examples of how to choose which cell you need:
  • Click cell A2 to freeze the top row.
  • Click cell B1 to freeze the first column.
  • Click cell B2 to freeze the top row AND the left column. (See Image)
  • Click cell C3 to freeze the top two rows AND the left two columns.

  1. Click the View
  2. Click the Freeze Panes
  3. Click Freeze Panes.

Now when you scroll, any row above where your cursor was placed will remain in place AND any column to the left of your cursor will be frozen. At first it can be tricky to figure out which cell to click to freeze the correct rows and columns. Try it a few times, freezing and unfreezing, until you get the hang of it.

 

 

Bonus Tip! Place your cursor in cell A1 and then follow the steps to freeze panes. This will tell Excel to freeze your sheet along vertical and horizontal midpoints.

Unfreezing Columns and Rows

Follow these steps to unfreeze rows and columns.

 

  1. Click the View
  2. Click the Freeze Panes
  3. Click Unfreeze Panes.

With this tool at your fingertips, you won’t have to scroll back and forth to read headings or stretch your window from edge to edge of your monitor just to see the data you need to compare. Freeze a row to keep your headers in sight or freeze a specific record that you want to use as a basis of comparison for other records.

 

What are some other ways you have used frozen panes to help you in your work?

 

Learn More Microsoft® Excel® Basics

Organize your spreadsheet for maximum accuracy and efficiency: Tips for Data Management in Excel

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