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How to freeze a row in Excel

Let’s look at how to freeze a row in Excel. 

It can be a real pain when you don't have freeze panes on, and when you start to scroll down the screen you lose the headings at the top of your columns. 

In the example below, we've got columns for Cost price, Recommended retail price and Sale price.

How to freeze a row in Excel 1

If I scrolled down the screen, I will lose sight of the column headings and I will no longer be able to see which column I’m looking at.

How to freeze a row in Excel 2

So if you have been struggling with this, you're not alone. 

Most people have a problem with this, and it's something that when I cover this in my workshops, people go, "Oh my goodness, I just love this." 

So, let's sort this out this together. 

How to freeze a row in Excel 

Now, if you have a worksheet where the headings are in row 1 and you would love to have that row frozen, so you can still see the headings as you scroll down, follow the steps below. 

From the View tab, select Freeze Panes (look for the button with a little icicle on it). 

From the dropdown menu, shoot right to the middle option, Freeze Top Row. 

How to freeze a row in Excel 3

As soon as you click this, you're going to see a tiny gray line underneath the first row.

How to freeze a row in Excel 4

Now start to scroll down, and watch as row 1 stays nicely 'locked on' at the top of the screen, which is gold, absolutely brilliant! 

How to Unfreeze in Excel 

Now at any time if you want to remove your freeze panes, it's quite easy. 

Just make your way back to the V​iew tab, select Freeze Panes and then select Unfreeze from the top of the menu.  

How to freeze a row in Excel 5

Now you'll see that we're back to where we started and if you scroll down the top row is no longer locked. 

How to freeze a row other then the Top Row in Excel 

So, freezing the first row is easy peasy. 

Where the challenge comes in is when you’re needing to freeze a row, other than the top row. 

In the example below you can see that the column headings are in row 3not row one. So, of course if we scrolled down, again we will have the same problem where we will lose the column titles, and it's hard to see what's in each column. 

And in this example, if we popped on Freeze Top Row, of course it's going to freeze the top row, and only the Annual Sales heading will be frozen, and that's no use at all. 

So, if you are wanting to freeze from a set point, you're going to select  a cell in column A, directly underneath the row that you're wanting frozen. 

How to freeze a row in Excel 6

Now, from the View tab select Freeze Panes and this time select the top option, Freeze Panes. 

Freeze Panes based on current selection

Now as soon as you apply this option you will see the tiny gray line above the cell you selected, and as you scroll down, the row above will be locked frozen. 

So, that is how you can apply Freeze Panes anywhere where the row is lower than row 1. 

How to freeze columns in Excel 

So, if wanted to freeze the first column, that's easy. 

Of course, it's the bottom option on the Freeze Panes menu.

Freeze First Column

We use this option when we're scrolling across to the right. 

In the example below, if we wanted to see the invoice number as I scrolled across, I can freeze it using the Freeze First Column option. 

How to freeze a row and a column at the same time 

So the middle and bottom menu options, top row and first column are pretty easy to use. 

But what if you actually wanted to have the column headings frozen as you scroll down, and the invoice number AND customer name, both of those showing  as you scroll across. 

So again, we have a little bit of a challenge. 

Let’s look at the example below. 

How to freeze a row in Excel 7

Iwe’re wanting to put a lock against the first two columns and the top 3 rows, what we can do is select a cell below the row we want locked on, and to the right of the columns we want locked on. In this example we would select cell C4. 

So once you've done that, then you go to the View tab, Freeze Panes, and then select the top option, Freeze Panes Keep rows and columns visible while the rest of the worksheet scrolls (based on current selection).  

Now take note of the textbased on current selection.  Excel is basically saying, based on the current cell that you have selected,  the worksheet will freeze above and to the left of this cell”. 

You should now see the little gray lines, and if you scroll down, you will still see your headings, and if you scroll across, you will still have those two columns showing. 

Sharyn is an expert trainer.  She became the first certified Microsoft® MOUS Authorised Instructor in New Zealand.

She is endorsed by Microsoft® as a qualified Microsoft® Office Specialist and has more than 20 years of experience in the training industry, developing and delivering technology training workshops. Her approach to taking the “techie-speak” out of technology training has placed her as a preferred supplier to many of New Zealand’s leading organisations.

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