How to freeze rows and columns in Excel

While working with large sets of data, it is often useful to keep certain rows or columns fixed as you’re scrolling through the worksheet. We essentially lock rows or columns so that they are visible while we scroll through data.

This is done by using the Freeze Panes in excel. Let’s see how to freeze cells in excel.

How to freeze rows in excel

While freezing rows in excel, we can do the following things:

  1. Freeze Top Row in Excel
  2. Freeze Multiple Rows in Excel

Let’s see how to go about both:

  1. How to freeze top row in excel

    First go to View tab, and select Freeze Panes. Within freeze panes select ‘Freeze Top Row
    Excel Freeze Cells 1

    This is how we used freeze panes to lock top row in excel. You can see that the top row is frozen by observing a grey line just below it.
    Excel Freeze Cells 2
    After learning how to lock a row in excel, let’s move to freezing multiple rows.

  2. How to freeze multiple rows in excel

    Let’s say you want to freeze top 2 rows in excel. First select the 3rd row. Select the row which is right below the last row you want to freeze.
    Now go to View tab, select Freeze Panes and select the first option ‘Freeze Panes
    Excel Freeze Cells 3
    Now we have just locked top two rows in excel. You can scroll down to see the effect.
    Excel Freeze Cells 4

Please note that in excel, you can only freeze top rows. You cannot lock rows in excel which are in middle of the worksheet. So now that you’ve learned how to freeze rows in excel, let’s move ahead.

How to freeze columns in excel

Just like we locked rows we have to use the same option to lock columns in excel.

  1. How to freeze first column in excel
    Just go to View tab, then Freeze Panes and select ‘Freeze First Column
    Excel Freeze Cells 1
    This will lock the first or leftmost column while you scroll towards right.
  2. How to freeze multiple columns in excel
    Let’s say you want to freeze the 2 leftmost columns. Select the 3rd column. Select the column to the right of last column which you want to freeze.

    Now go to View tab, select Freeze Panes and select the first option ‘Freeze Panes
    Excel Freeze Cells 6
    Now we have just locked the 2 leftmost columns in excel. You can scroll right to see the effect.
    Excel Freeze Cells 7

Please note that in excel, you can only freeze columns on the left side of the sheet. You cannot lock columns in excel which are in middle of the worksheet.

How to freeze rows and columns in Excel

You can only freeze topmost rows and leftmost columns together in excel. Let’s see how:

  1. Select the cell which is below the last row & to the right of the last column which you want to freeze
    Excel Freeze Cells 8
  2. Go to View tab, in Freeze Panes select ‘Freeze Panes’ option
    Excel Freeze Cells 9

This way the top row & leftmost column will get locked and be visible as you scroll right or down the worksheet.

You can use the same process to freeze multiple rows & columns together.

How to unfreeze rows and columns in excel

The process is pretty straightforward. Go to View tab, under Freeze Panes select Unfreeze Panes.
Excel Freeze Cells 10

Other ways to freeze panes in excel

Apart from what we saw there are few other ways to use excel freeze panes to lock cells in excel.

  1. Split Pane instead of Freeze Panes
    We can also split a worksheet in different parts. Freezing panes locks rows/columns while we scroll. But Splitting panes divides excel worksheet into 2 or 4 parts which can be separately scrolled. When you scroll the cells in other parts remain fixed.
    Excel Freeze Cells 11

    Just select the cell below the row or to the right of column at which you want to create a split. Go to View tab, click on Split button.
    Excel Freeze Cells 12

    To undo the same click the Split button again.

  2. Using tables to lock top row in excel
    If you want to freeze top row in excel, you can just select the range of cells and create a table.
    Excel Freeze Cells 13
    In a table the first row remains fixed. We recommend do learn How to make tables in excel.

Conclusion

While dealing with large sets of data and working with filters you would be using excel freeze panes option quite frequently.
I hope this article was helpful to you and explained you in depth how to lock cells in excel and much more.

If you have any questions or tips, I’d love to hear them in the comment section below.

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