How to Use Freeze Panes in Excel

By Kate Bluest

Scrolling down to look at a number and then scrolling up to make sure the number you looked at is under the header you expected is not an efficient way to view a spreadsheet. The Freeze Panes feature of Excel allows you to freeze the labels of your data in place while you review the data. Follow the instructions in Section 1 to freeze the top row or the left column. Freeze multiple rows, multiple columns, or rows and columns, by following the instructions in Section 2.

Freeze the Top Row or Left Column

Step 1

Open the Excel spreadsheet.

Step 2

Navigate to the "View" tab on the top menu.

Step 3

Click on "View," then click on "Freeze Panes." A drop-down menu opens.

Step 4

Select the "Freeze Top Row" option to freeze the top row.

Step 5

Select the "Freeze Left Column" or "Freeze First Column" option to freeze the left column.

Step 6

Freeze the top row by using the keyboard and sequentially pressing the keys "ALT, W, F, R." Ignore Steps 3 through 7 if using this choice.

Step 7

Freeze the left column using the keyboard by sequentially pressing the keys "ALT, W, F, C." Ignore Steps 3 through 7 if using this choice.

Step 8

Unfreeze panes by repeating Steps 3 through 5 and selecting "Unfreeze Panes" or sequentially press the keys "ALT, W, F, F."

Freeze Rows and Columns, Multiple Rows, Multiple Columns, or Multiple Rows and Columns

Step 1

Open the Excel spreadsheet.

Step 2

Freeze column(s) and row(s) at the same time by selecting the cell to the right of and below the location you want to freeze.

Step 3

Freeze multiple rows only by selecting the cell in the left (first) column below the rows you want to freeze.

Step 4

Freeze multiple columns only by selecting the cell in the top row to the right of the columns you want to freeze.

Step 5

Navigate to the "View" tab on the top menu.

Step 6

Click on "View," then click on "Freeze Panes." A drop-down menu opens.

Step 7

Select the "Freeze Panes" option. You have now frozen the columns or rows, or columns and rows you designated.

Step 8

Freeze panes using the keyboard by sequentially pressing the keys, "ALT, W, F, F." Ignore Steps 5 through 8 if using this choice.

Step 9

Unfreeze panes by repeating Steps 5 through 7 and selecting "Unfreeze Panes" or sequentially press the keys, "ALT, W, F, F."

Tips & Warnings

  • You can freeze a sequence of rows or cells that start at the top only. In other words, you can freeze columns A, B, and C, but you cannot freeze column C only.
  • If you need information that is not available unless you scroll, hide unnecessary columns or rows to make more of the relevant information visible.