All the ways to freeze rows and columns in Excel

Within Microsoft Excel, users possess the ability to ensure a particular portion of their sheet remains in view at all times. This comes in 3 forms and is referred to as freezing. 

Method Description 
Freeze panes Freeze all above selected row/all behind selected column 
Freeze top row Freeze the top row of sheet 
Freeze first column Freeze the first column of sheet 

Below you’ll find information regarding the 3 ways to freeze columns and rows in Excel as well as an image example of each method in use. 

Quick links: 

Freezing methods overview 

Freeze panes 

The freeze panes default option is the most useful, yet difficult method. Due to granting you the ability to freeze columns or rows within one tool. The tool works by freezing columns above a selected column, or alternatively, freezing columns to the left of a selected column. 

Freeze top row 

The freeze top row option is responsible for freezing the upmost row in your sheet. This would be ideal for large lists/tables where your headers are far from new entries/elements. As such, freezing it would allow it to be visible no matter how low you must scroll. 

Freeze first column 

The freeze first column option takes care of keeping the first column of your table/list visible when you scroll left or right too. 

Freeze panes demo 

Step 1 – Select the boundary 

  • Anything above a selected row or to the left of a selected column will be froze, while items to the right or beneath the selection will be left as they were. 

Step 2 – Freeze your zone 

  • Open Freeze Panes within the View tab and select Freeze Panes

Step 3 – Scroll to test your freeze 

  • If you froze columns, try scrolling horizontally, or vertically if you froze a row. 

Freeze top row demo 

Step 1 – Select freeze top row from the freeze panes dropdown 

  • From the ribbon navigate to the view tab and click Freeze panes to activate its dropdown. From the list select Freeze top row

Step 2 – Scroll to test your freeze 

  • Scroll vertically to ensure the freeze occurred correctly 

Freeze first column demo 

Step 1 – Select freeze first column from the freeze panes dropdown 

  • From the ribbon navigate to the view tab and click Freeze panes to activate its dropdown. From the list select Freeze first column

Step 2 – Scroll to test your freeze 

  • Scroll horizontally to ensure the freeze occurred correctly. 

End note 


Excel rows and columns can be frozen to ensure part of your sheet remains in view at all times. This is done via the freeze panes button in the view tab. The freeze panes button provides 3 options. Freeze panes which will freeze a number of columns or rows based on your selection. Free top row operates by freezing the top row of your sheet, while freeze first column will free the first column in your sheet. 


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Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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