How To Freeze Rows In Excel

Just assume you are school teacher and have around 90 students in a class which is divided into various sections. Now, you have to collate their marks in every subject in an excel.

If you are using a 15-inch laptop to do this, then as soon as you go to the 25th row or later you lose the context of which column is for which subject. All of this happens because your header or first row is not fixed and keeps changing as you scroll down. But don’t worry we are here to help you out. 🙂

In this post we are going to help you on how to freeze rows or columns in excel. Freeing in excel will turn some cells (rows and / or columns) to be stagnant and these cells would not change if you move left or right or scroll up or down. There are various ways to freeze cells in excel.

how to freeze rows in excel

We have listed all the methods below, if you do not want to go through the entire post then you may directly click on the type of excel freeze option you are looking for:

  • Freeze First Row
  • Freeze First Column
  • Freeze Panes
    1. Freeze Multiple Rows
    2. Freeze Multiple Columns
    3. Freeze Rows & Columns at same time

Along with helping you on how to freeze in excel, we will also help you to unfreeze and troubleshooting issues that you might encounter:

  • Unfreeze Panes
  • Freeze panes versus Splitting Panes
  • Freeze Pane is Disabled

Freeze First Row

This feature could be used to freeze a particular row or header that you would need to refer every time while working on excel. In this option only the top row will freeze.

  • Open the sheet where in you want to freeze any row / header, as an example we would like to freeze the top row highlighted in yellow

Freeze Top Row In Excel

  • Now, navigate to the “View” tab in the Excel Ribbon as shown in above image
  • Click on the “Freeze Panes” button

Freeze Top Row Option in Excel

  • Select “Freeze Top Row” option

Frozen Top Row

  • If you would like to freeze any other row, then scroll down and make that row appear as first in your sheet and then repeat Step 2 to 4.

That’s it. You are all set now. As seen in above image you can now scroll to any corner of the page and you would see that the top row remains intact all the time without any change.

Please note that this option works as long as first row in excel is the one that you really want to freeze. If you have scrolled in the middle of the sheet and Row 30 is appearing as first row, then this option would freeze Row 30 and not Row 1.

Additionally, if you are geek and would like to do it directly using a keyboard shortcut, then please press “Alt + W” followed by “F” and then “R”. Please note that this is not an in-built shortcut, rather it’s the same thing from keyboard as we do from mouse.

Freeze First Column

This feature could be used to freeze a particular column that you would need to refer while working on excel. In this option only the first column will freeze.

  • Open the sheet where in you want to freeze the column, as an example we would like to freeze the column A – Product

Sample to Freeze First Column

  • Now, navigate to the “View” tab in the Excel Ribbon as shown in above image
  • Click on the “Freeze Panes” button

Freeze First Column Option

  • Select “Freeze First Column” option

Frozen First Column in Excel

  • If you would like to freeze any other column, then move right or left and make that column appear as first in your sheet and then repeat Step 2 to 4.

That’s it. You are all set now. As seen in above image you can now move to most right corner of the page and you would see that the first column sticks there. Please note that this option works as long as first column in excel is the one that you really want to freeze. If you have shifted right in the middle of the sheet and Column M is appearing as first row, then this option would freeze Column M and not Column A.

If you would like to do it directly using a keyboard shortcut, then please press “Alt + W” followed by “F” and then “C”. Please note that this is not an in-built shortcut, rather it’s the same thing from keyboard as we do from mouse.

Freeze Panes

This feature could be used to freeze multiple rows, columns or both at the same time. However, this could be done only for the consecutive rows or columns.

Freeze Panes – Multiple Rows

  • Open the sheet where in you want to freeze the multiple rows, keep the first row on top and click after the last row till where you want to freeze, as an example we would like to freeze from Row 1 to Row 13 so we will click on Row 14

Example to Freeze Panes

  • Now, navigate to the “View” tab in the Excel Ribbon as shown in above image
  • Click on the “Freeze Panes” button

Option to Freeze Panes - Multiple Rows

  • Select “Freeze Panes” option

Frozen Multiple Top Rows

That’s it. You are all set now. As seen in above image you can now scroll down and Row 1 to Row 13 will be kept intact without any changes. You can select the range of rows from middle as well like – Row 13 to Row 30, however to do so you will have to ensure that you scroll up and keep Row 13 as your first row in the sheet and repeat the steps listed above. However, be careful as doing so some of your rows (i.e. the ones before Row 13) will be hidden.

Freeze Panes – Multiple Columns

  • Open the sheet where in you want to freeze the multiple columns, keep the first column to the left and click next to the last column till where you want to freeze, as an example we would like to freeze from Column A to E, so we will click on Column F

Example for Freeze Panes - Multiple Columns

  • Now, navigate to the “View” tab in the Excel Ribbon as shown in above image
  • Click on the “Freeze Panes” button

  • Select “Freeze Panes” option

Frozen Multiple Columns

That’s it. You are all set now. As seen in above image you can now move towards right and Column A to E will be kept intact without any changes. You can select the range of columns from middle as well like – Column F to Column L, however to do so you will have to ensure that you move to the left and keep Column F as your first column in the sheet and repeat the steps listed above. However, be careful as doing so some of your columns (i.e. the ones before Column E) will be hidden.

Freeze Panes – Multiple Rows and Columns both

If you have followed the post till now, then you would have already figured out how this has to be done. Yes, you are right we are going to club both the above listed approaches here. Follow us below:

  • Open the sheet where in you want to freeze the multiple rows and columns, keep the first row on top and first column to the left then click next to the cell of the last column and row till where you want to freeze, as an example we would like to freeze from Row 1 to 13 and Column A to E, so we will click on Cell F14

Example Freeze Panes - Multiple Rows and Columns both

  • Now, navigate to the “View” tab in the Excel Ribbon as shown in above image
  • Click on the “Freeze Panes” button

Option to Freeze Panes - Multiple Rows and Columns both

  • Select “Freeze Panes” option

Frozen Panes - Multiple Rows and Columns both

That’s it. You are all set now. As seen in above image you can now scroll down and Row 1 to 13 will remain intact and likewise you can move towards right and Column A to E will be kept intact without any changes. You can select the range of columns from middle as well like – Row 17 to 27 and Column F to L, however to do so you will have to ensure that you scroll up and keep Row 17 as your first row and keep Column F as your first column in the sheet and repeat the steps listed above. Be careful here as rows before Row 17 and columns before column F will be hidden.

Unfreeze Panes:

If you have frozen the wrong rows and columns, then you could easily undo it by using “Unfreeze Panes” option. This would remove all the frozen rows and \ or columns in your excel. This will also work if you have received the sheet from someone else and you are not able to see all the rows and columns despite of removing all filters and unhiding rows \ columns. To unfreeze panes –

  • Open the sheet wherein you want to unfreeze rows and \ or columns
  • Now, navigate to the “View” tab in the Excel Ribbon
  • Click on the “Freeze Panes” button

Unfreeze Panes

  • Select “Unfreeze Panes” option as shown above

Output after unfreeze panes

With this all the rows and \ or columns would unfreeze, as shown in above image. Please note that you would not see the “Unfreeze Panes” option if there are not any frozen rows \ columns. This option would be available only and only when there is some row and \ or column frozen already.

If you would like to unfreeze panes it directly using a keyboard shortcut, then please press “Alt + W” followed by “F” and then again “F”. Please note that this is not an in-built shortcut, rather it’s the same thing from keyboard as we do from mouse.

Freeze panes versus Splitting Panes:

Excel also provides you an excellent option to Split Panes which divides the window into different panes that each pane scrolls separately. This option is present in Excel Ribbon, View tab next to Freeze Option.

Split Panes

So as visible in the above image after using split option the content of same sheet is visible in 4 separate panes and all panes have their different scroll options.

We personally trust and use Freeze option much than Split, as Freeze allows you to limit the data movement by freezing it rather than adding multiple views of same data wherein you easily get distracted and confused while data entry.

Is Freeze Pane option disabled?

If you have come across a case wherein the Freeze Pane option is disabled in your sheet, then it must be due to one of the following reasons:

  • The most common reason of Freeze Panes option disablement is that your sheet must have been opened in “Page Layout” mode (as shown in below image)

Page Layout

In order to correct it simply navigate to “View Tab” in the excel ribbon and select “Normal” or “Page Break” view.

  • The “Freeze Panes” option could also be disabled if you excel has been protected for windows. You would need to unprotect it to enable the freeze option.

So, this was all about how to freeze rows and columns in Excel. Hope you enjoyed our tutorial. Please feel free to share your feedback and queries. Keep Exceling 🙂

About Ankit Kaul

Well, I am Ankit Kaul, the founder of Excel Trick. I am a die-hard fan of Microsoft Excel and have been working with spreadsheets for the past 10+ years. My only aim is to turn you guys into 'Excel Geeks'. Check out more about me here.