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If you work with large spreadsheets, you often need to scroll down or right quite frequently, looking for information. However, this means moving away from the information you need to keep an eye on. The first row usually contains the column headers or field labels, while the first column tends to contain identifying information for the row or record. Fortunately, you can easily freeze rows, columns, and panes in Microsoft Excel, so you can always keep the information you need in sight.

In this guide, you will learn how to freeze rows, columns, and panes in Microsoft Excel. You will learn how to freeze the top row or the first column from the ‘View’ menu. You will also learn how to freeze panes, which can combine rows and columns. You have step-by-step instructions on how to use the ‘Freeze Panes’ options to freeze both rows and columns, only rows, or only columns. Finally, you will learn how to unfreeze rows, columns, and panes in Google Sheets.

How to Freeze the Top Row in Excel?

Freezing the top row of the current sheet in Excel is very easy. Go to the View tab and click “Freeze Top Row”.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel View Freeze Top Row
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - View > Freeze Top Row

That’s it. You can now scroll as far down as you want without losing track of the information in the first row.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel Top Row Frozen
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - Top Row Frozen

How to Freeze the First Column in Excel?

Freezing the top column is just as easy as freezing the top row. On the ‘View’ tab, click ‘Freeze First Column”

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel View Freeze First Column
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - View > Freeze First Column

That’s it. You can now scroll as far right as you want without losing track of the information in the first column.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel First Column Frozen
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - First Column Frozen

How to Freeze Panes in Excel?

Think of it as selecting the first cell that you don’t want to freeze. Excel will freeze anything above or to the left of the cell you select. This means you can freeze the top row and first column simultaneously. In fact, you can choose to freeze a different number of rows and columns, as well as only freeze multiple rows or multiple columns only.

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Freeze Top Row & First Column

As mentioned above, when using the pane option, Excel will freeze anything above and to the left of the cell you select. If you want to freeze the top row and first column, select cell B2 and click ‘Freeze Pane’.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel Freeze Pane
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - Freeze Pane

As you can see below, row 1 and column A are now frozen in place, no matter how far down or right you scroll.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel Top Row First Column Frozen
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - Top Row & First Column Frozen

Freeze Multiple Rows & Columns

Sometimes, tables are not placed neatly on the top left corner of the spreadsheet, and they’re not yours to move. However, you still want to be able to freeze the headers and the first column with data. The option to ‘Freeze Panes’ is very flexible, so you can do this easily.

Just remember to select the first cell you don’t want to freeze, as Excel will freeze anything to the left or above your selection when you click ‘Freeze Pane’ in the ‘View’ tab.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel Freeze Multiple Rows Columns
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - Freeze Multiple Rows & Columns

That’s it. Multiple rows and columns are now frozen, so you can move around your table while keeping an eye on the information you need.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel Frozen Pane
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - Frozen Pane

Freeze Multiple Rows

To freeze multiple rows only, select a cell in the first column in the row below the last one you want to freeze.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel Select Cell
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - Select Cell

The rows above the selected cell are now frozen.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel Multiple Rows Frozen
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - Multiple Rows Frozen
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Freeze Multiple Columns

To freeze multiple columns only, select a cell in the first row in the column to the right of the last one you want to freeze.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel Select Cell 2
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - Select Cell

The columns to the left of the selected cell are now frozen.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel Multiple Columns Frozen
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - Multiple Columns Frozen

How to Unfreeze Rows, Columns, and Panes in Excel?

Fortunately, unfreezing rows, columns, or panes is even easier than freezing them.

Go to the ‘View’ tab and click ‘Unfreeze Panes’, and this will instantly unfreeze any frozen rows and columns.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel Unfreeze Panes
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - Unfreeze Panes

If the ‘Unfreeze Panes” is not available, it means there are no frozen rows or panes in that sheet.

How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel No Frozen Rows or Columns
How to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel - No Frozen Rows or Columns

Conclusion

Freezing rows and columns is easy in Microsoft Excel. In the ‘View’ tab, there are two buttons to instantly freeze the top row or the first column without even having to select them first. However, there are times when you need to freeze multiple rows or columns or even both at the same time.

Fortunately, there is another button that allows you to freeze as many rows and columns as you want: ‘Freeze Panes’. Just select the cell below the row you want to freeze, and to the right of the column you want to freeze, then click ‘Freeze Panes’. Finally, you also know that you can instantly unfreeze any frozen rows, columns, or panes in your sheet by clicking a single button: ‘Unfreeze Panes’.

To learn how to freeze rows and columns in Google Sheets, as well as other Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets topics, check out our guides on:

Maria Del Olmo
Originally published Mar 30 2023, Updated Jun 26 2023

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