Freeze and Unfreeze Rows and Columns: MS Excel

Dennis Faas's picture

When your spreadsheet has labels in the top row or left column to describe the data in the cells, you can freeze those rows and columns so that they always appear on screen even when you scroll down or to the right.

Open MS Excel and in the first row type your headings (i.e. Category, Title, Author, Quantity, Costs, etc.) In the left-most column, type other data labels (i.e. Fiction, Non-Fiction, Sci-Fi., etc.)

When you use the Window | Freeze Panes command, everything above the current row or to the left of the current column is frozen in place. This way, it's always visible to you, even after your spreadsheet has grown so large that ordinarily you wouldn't see those headings as you scroll down the page.

When you have a large worksheet that contains more rows or columns than you can see on the screen at one time, you find yourself scrolling left and right or up and down to see the cells, which can become a pain.

To freeze cells, follow these steps carefully:

  • Set up the screen the way you want it to appear when it is frozen. If necessary, scroll up or down, left or right, so that the correct rows and columns appear on the left and top of the screen.
  • Place the active cell in the specific location so that everything you want frozen is above it or to its left.
  • Choose Windows | Freeze Panes.

Excel places a thin, dark line above and to the left of the active cell. As you move around the worksheet, the columns and rows slide "behind" the frozen ones, so they always remain in place.

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