Microsoft Excel: How to Freeze Top Row and First Column

If you landed on this page, I assume you already have some basic Excel knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, it really is not required to understand this guide, but if you feel the need to freeze the top row or the top column in Excel, it probably means that you’ve already spent quite some time on it.

It’s an issue that everyone comes across eventually, but it’s not a big deal. In this guide you’ll learn how to freeze the top row and first column in Excel.

In this guide you’ll learn:

  • Why to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel
  • How to Freeze a Row in Excel
  • How to Freeze Columns in Excel
  • How to Freeze Panes in Excel
  • Conclusion

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Why to Freeze a Row or Column in Excel

When you have a large amount of data, you usually need to scroll vertically or horizontally to view it. In a common Excel spreadsheet, when you scroll to view some data, the column or row with all the labels fades out of the screen. You’re just left with a bunch of data, but you don’t really know what they mean as all main labels are offscreen.

At this point you have two solutions. You could either scroll up and down or left and right to keep an eye on the labels and find out what your data represents. However, that is very inconvenient, right? This is the perfect situation: to freeze the top row, or top column so you can keep an eye on all headings while scrolling the sheet. 

How to Freeze a Row in Excel

Freezing a row in Excel is very easy. The function we’re about to show you allows you to freeze any row you want, as long as it’s the first row visible at the top of your screen.

Make sure to scroll up or down to place the row that you want to block on top of your spreadsheet. Most of the time you will want to block a headings column like the blue one that you can see in the graph. Make sure it is visible at the top of the sheet.

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Once you’ve placed the right row in the correct position, click “View” in the menu at the top of the screen.

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There, you’ll find a “Freeze Panes” button. Click it.

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At this point, there are a few options open in front of you. Click “Freeze Top Row”.

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There you go! If you scroll up and down, you’ll notice that the top row is frozen on your screen, allowing you to check your data easily and work on the spreadsheet seamlessly.

How to Freeze Columns in Excel

If you’re looking to freeze a column of your spreadsheet, the procedure is very similar to the one explained above. You can choose one column of your choice, as long as you place it in the position of the first visible column on the screen.

Once the column is there and you are ready to go, click “View” in the top menu.

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Then, click the button, “Freeze Panes”.

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Now, you want to click “Freeze First Column”.

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At this point, if you scroll left and right, you’ll notice that the first visible column is frozen on screen.

How to Freeze Panes in Excel

Sometimes freezing one row, or one column, is not enough. You might need more. Specifically, you might want to freeze a group of rows and columns so you can scroll just the middle part of your spreadsheet. 

There’s a very easy solution to this. The procedure is similar to freezing rows and columns.

Let’s assume you want to lock the blue row and column on screen. 

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First of all, select the first cell underneath the row and to the right of the column you want to block, like in the example below.

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Once you’ve selected the right cell, click “View” in the top menu.

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Then, click “Freeze Panes”.

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Now, you want to select the “Freeze Panes” option. That will allow you to keep rows and columns visible, while the rest of the spreadsheet scrolls.

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How to Unfreeze Panes in Excel

Obviously, after learning how to lock rows or columns, you will need to know how to unlock them.

At some point, you’ll need to be able to go back to the normal use of your spreadsheet.

To unfreeze all locked panes, just hit “View” in the top menu.

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Then, click “Freeze Panes”.

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Now, the option “Unfreeze Panes” will be on screen. Click it to unlock all rows and columns.

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Conclusion

You just learned how to freeze the top row and first column in Microsoft Excel. This practice will definitely help you every time you need to analyse and process large amounts of data.

You’ll be able to keep an eye on all headings without needing to scroll all the time.

Your work will become smoother and more effortless, which will save you a significant amount of time.

I believe that if you landed on this page, you already have some Excel knowledge. However, if you just learning the basics, I can assure you that Excel is a great software, which allows you to process data and create graphs. Specifically, there are some advanced Excel features that can be real game changers, such as the Xlookups, Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts.

Excel also allows you to find and remove duplicates from large lists of data. Doing this manually could take hours, but the software allows you to do it in literally thirty seconds!

Microsoft Excel is part of a bigger package developed by Microsoft. The whole collection is called Microsoft Office Suite and it includes very well-known software such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. If you want to find out more about Microsoft Office, read our guide about How Much Does Microsoft Office 365 Cost? Deals, Price and Free Trial. If you already know enough and want to purchase Microsoft Excel or the full Office Suite, click here!