How to Freeze a Row in Microsoft Excel

By Scott Shpak

No matter how big your new computer monitor is, data seems to have a way of outgrowing the space available for viewing. Since Excel 2013 has a maximum worksheet size of 1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns, there's a good chance most users will run into navigation issues. To help keep the data on your screen in context and visible, you can freeze rows, either the first, header row or any set of rows using Excel's Freeze Pane option. You can also freeze one or more columns in a similar way.

Freezing the First Row

Simple spreadsheet layouts often use the first row as data headers. For example, a contact resource management spreadsheet might include cells for first name, last name, address, state, phone number and so on. As you add data, it will eventually scroll down the bottom of your monitor, pushing data at the top off-screen. You can simply freeze your data headers in row 1. Click the "View" tab, then click "Freeze Panes" and select "Freeze Top Row." Your data headers now remain visible as you scroll down.

Using Freeze Panes

It's common to include information and formatting for printing your worksheet above your data header row, making a first-row freeze ineffective. Locking a row below the first row follows similar steps. First, select the cell in column A below the last row to freeze. Click the "View" tab, click "Freeze Panes," then click "Freeze Panes" from the drop-down menu. All rows above the selected cell will now freeze.

Freezing Columns

Columns freeze the same way as rows. You can choose to freeze only the first column, along the left side of your worksheet using the "Freeze First Column" option, or you can freeze all columns left of a selected cell using the "Freeze Panes" option. You can select any cell on your worksheet and when you choose the "Freeze Panes" option, all rows above and all columns to the left of your selected cell will freeze.

Splitting Panes

You can also split your worksheet pane to access data in different parts of the worksheet. Select the row below the split by clicking on the row number itself, not a cell in the row. Click the "View" tab then click "Split." Your worksheet is now divided into two windows, each with its own scroll bar along the right and each pane is navigable independently. Click "Split" again to remove the lower pane. You can split by columns in the same way.