How to Freeze and Unfreeze Columns and Rows in Excel

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You can fit a lot of data into an Excel sheet. With thousands upon thousands of rows and columns, it can get pretty unwieldy.

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One small feature that makes it easier to manage all of that data is the ability to freeze rows and columns so that no matter where you scroll in the spreadsheet, those rows or columns always stay visible.

How to Freeze the First Column or Top Row in Excel

With this method, you’re going to have to choose to freeze either the row or column. Unfortunately, you can’t do both.

  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet and go to the View tab.
  2. Click the Freeze Panes button.
  3. To freeze the top row, click Freeze Top Row in the dropdown menu. To freeze the first column, click Freeze First Column in the dropdown menu.

How to Freeze a Selection of Columns and Rows in Excel

If you would prefer to freeze a combination of rows and columns, it’s possible but it’s only just slightly more tricky:

  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet and go to the View tab.
  2. Select the cell directly below the row you want to freeze and the cell to the right of the column you want to freeze. If you want to freeze rows 1 to 4 and columns 1 to 3, then you’ll select cell D5. If you want to freeze the top row and the first column, you’ll select cell B2.
  3. Click the Freeze Panes button and again, click the Freeze Panes option in the drop down menu.

How to Unfreeze Columns or Rows in Excel

  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet and go to the View tab.
  2. Click the Freeze Panes button.
  3. Click Unfreeze Panes in the drop down menu.

To see each of these processes in action, check out this video demonstrating the feature in Excel 2016

What are your favorite tips or tricks for making it easier to handle large amounts of data in Excel? Let us know in the comments. 

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