How to Freeze Columns and Rows in Excel

Want to lock a specific row or column in Excel? It is pretty easy to do. Here is how to freeze columns and rows in Excel software.

One of the best things about Excel is that it makes it really easy to work with any kind of dataset. As long as you can plot them into rows and columns, you can work with it in Excel. The most significant advantage of Excel is that you can easily modify and manipulate the data when needed. You can also import and export data in several formats.

When working with large datasets, it is only natural to forget what’s in which column or row. This is especially true when working with datasets containing only numbers, like financial data.

In that case, Excel has a nifty feature that lets you freeze columns and rows with just a couple of clicks. i.e., you can lock rows and columns in their place. If needed, you can freeze both columns and rows too. Once locked, these columns or rows will always stay on the screen, and data scrolls from under them. That way, you can always keep relevant or essential information on the screen. For example, if you want to see all column headings, you can freeze them first row in a sheet.

So, let me show you how to freeze columns and rows in Excel without further delay.

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Freeze top row in Excel

One of the popular uses cases for freezing rows is to lock the top row. For example, the top row of most Excel worksheets contain headings of some sort. As such, freezing the top row to stay put is often helpful in more than one way. So, let me show you how to lock or free the top row in Excel.

  1. Open the Excel file.
  2. Select the entire top row.
  3. Go to the “View” tab.
  4. Click on the “Freeze Panes” option.
  5. Select the “Freeze Top Row” option.
  6. With that, the top row is locked in Excel.

Detailed steps with screenshots:

First, open the Excel workbook where you want to lock the top row. You can open it from the File Explorer or Recent section on Excel’s main screen. Next, go to the worksheet containing the row you want to freeze.

(Optional) After opening the worksheet, select the entire top row. You can do that by clicking on “1,” appearing to the top left of the sheet. This step is unnecessary, but it is better to select it.

Now, go to the “View” tab. This is where you can customize many of the options that change how you view the worksheet. Since we want to lock the top row in Excel, click on the “Freeze Panes” option and select the “Freeze Top Row” option.

freeze top row in excel

The top row is frozen and locked as soon as you select the option.

From now on, the top row will stay put when you scroll the worksheet vertically.

Freeze the first column in Excel

If you want to freeze just the first column, you can do that in Excel with a couple of clicks. Here is how to do it in simple steps.

  1. Open the Excel file.
  2. Select the entire first column.
  3. Go to the “View” tab.
  4. Click on the “Freeze Panes” option.
  5. Select the “Freeze First Column” option.
  6. With that, the first column is locked in Excel.

Steps with screenshots:

Open the Excel sheet where you want to lock the first column. Select the entire first column in the worksheet by clicking on the heading. Selecting the column is not necessary, but it helps in some cases.

After that, go to the “View” tab and select the “Freeze panes > Freeze first column” option.

freeze first column in excel

As soon as you do that, the first column is locked. From now, it will always stay on the screen when you scroll horizontally in the worksheet.

Freeze rows in Excel

Other than the first row, you can freeze any single row you want. This is helpful if you want to freeze a specific row for whatever reason. Here is how to do it.

  1. Open the Excel workbook.
  2. Select the entire row below the row you want to freeze.
  3. Go to the “View” tab.
  4. Click on the “Freeze Panes” option.
  5. Select the “Freeze Panes” option under it.
  6. With that, the selected row is locked in Excel.

Steps with details:

Launch the Excel application, go to “File > Open,” find and select the worksheet, and open it. After opening the file, select the entire row below the row you want to freeze. You can do that by clicking the row serial number appearing to the left-most side. For example, if you’re going to freeze “row 3,” then select “row 4.”

Now, go to the “View” tab and select the “Freeze Panes > Freeze Panes” option.

As soon as you do that, the entire selected row is frozen. From now, that specific row and every row on top of it will always stay on the screen when you scroll vertically.

Freeze columns in Excel

You can lock any column you want in Excel, just like the row. All you have to do is select the column, select the option, and you are good to go.

  1. Open the Excel workbook.
  2. Select the entire column next to the column you want to freeze.
  3. Go to the “View” tab.
  4. Click on the “Freeze Panes” option.
  5. Select the “Freeze Panes” option under it.
  6. With that, the selected column is locked in Excel.

Detailed steps:

First, open the Excel file. Next, select the entire column next to the column you want to freeze. For instance, if you’re going to freeze “Column D,” you have to select “Column E.” You can select an entire column by clicking on its heading.

After selecting the column, go to the “View” tab. Here, click on the “Freeze Panes > Freeze Panes” option.

As soon as you select the option, the column you want and every column left to it are locked in place. From now on, the column will always be on the screen when you scroll horizontally.

Freeze panes in Excel

Sometimes, you might need to freeze both rows and columns at once. In that case, you can freeze a specific cell in the intersection, and you are good to go. Here is how to do it.

  1. Open the Excel file.
  2. Select a cell that intersects with both the row and column.
  3. Go to the “View” tab.
  4. Choose “Freeze panes > Freeze panes.”
  5. With that, both the row and column are frozen.

Steps with a bit more detail:

As always, open the Excel file.

Next, select the intersecting cell “right-downward-diagonal” to the row and column you want to freeze. For example, if you want to free “row 3” and “column D,” select cell “E4.” If you look at the intersecting cells, E4 is right-downward-diagonal to cell D3.

After selecting the intersecting cell, go to the “View” tab and select the “Freeze pane > Freeze panes” option.

freeze panes in excel

Everything above the row and before the column is locked in place as soon as you do that.

Unfreeze rows and columns in Excel

You can unfreeze rows and columns in an Excel file when not needed. All you have to do is select a single option. Here is how to do it.

  1. Open the Excel file.
  2. Go to the “View” tab.
  3. Select the “Freeze pane” option.
  4. Choose the “Unfreeze panes” option.
  5. With that, all frozen rows and columns are unfrozen.
unfreeze panes in excel

That is all. It is that simple to freeze columns and rows in Excel.

I hope this easy Excel how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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