How to freeze rows and columns in excel (Lock rows and columns)

Excel has another awesome feature up to help you manage large worksheets: freezing.

Freezing is a very handy feature to make sure some set of rows or columns remains visible at all times. And by freezing I meant to say that, in simple terms, when you freeze data, it stays fixed at one place in the Excel window, even as you scroll to another location in the worksheet.

For example, perhaps you want to keep visible the first row that contains column titles. When you freeze that row, you can always tell what’s in each column—even when you’ve scrolled down deep. Similarly, if your first column holds identifying labels, freezing it will be awesome in that when you scroll off to the right, you don’t lose track of what you’re looking at.

You can freeze rows at the top of your worksheet, or columns at the left of your worksheet, but Excel does limit your freezing options in a few ways:

  • You can freeze rows or columns only in groups. This means that you can’t freeze column A and C without freezing column B. (You can, of course, freeze just one row or column.)
  • Freezing always starts at column A (if you’re freezing columns) or row 1 (if you’re freezing rows). That means that if you freeze row 13, Excel also freezes all the rows above it (1 through 12) at the top of your worksheet.

When you freeze data, Excel creates a vertical pane for columns or a horizontal pane for rows. It then fixes that pane so you can’t scroll through it.

To freeze a row or set of rows at the top of your worksheet, just follow these steps:

Note: Before you start exploring, know that if you’re freezing just the first row or the leftmost column, then there’s no need to go through this whole process. Instead, you can use the handy View➝Window➝Freeze Panes➝Freeze Top Row or View➝Window➝Freeze Panes➝Freeze First Column.

  • First, make sure the row or rows you want to freeze are visible and at the top of your worksheet. If you want to freeze rows 2 and 3 in place, make sure they’re visible at the top of your worksheet. Remember, rows are frozen starting at row 1. That means that if you scroll down so that row 1 isn’t visible, and you freeze row 2 and row 3 at the top of your worksheet, then Excel also freezes row 1—and keeps it hidden so you can’t scroll up to see it.
  • Now let’s get excel to know where exactly we want to create the freeze by setting the right coordinates; i.e. activating the cell right below the row we want to freeze in the A column. Perhaps if you want to freeze row 3, then you should activate cell A4. And if you want to freeze row 5 then you should make cell A6 active.
  • Then select View➝Window➝Freeze Panes➝Freeze Panes.

Excel splits the worksheet and uses a solid black line to divide the frozen rows from the rest of the worksheet. As you scroll down the worksheet, the frozen rows remain in place.

To unfreeze the rows, just select View➝Freeze Panes➝Unfreeze Panes.

Freezing columns works the same way as you can see below:

  • Make sure the column or columns you want to freeze are visible and at the left of your worksheet. For example, if you want to freeze columns B and C in place, make sure they’re visible at the edge of your worksheet. Remember, columns are frozen starting at column A. That means that if you scroll over so that column A isn’t visible, and you freeze columns B and C on the left side of your worksheet, Excel also freezes column A—and keeps it hidden so you can’t scroll over to see it.
  • As in freezing rows, let’s get excel to know where exactly we want to create the freeze by setting the right coordinates; i.e. activating the cell right after the column we want to freeze, but the active cell must be in the first row. Perhaps if you want to freeze Column B, then you should activate cell C1. And if you want to freeze column D then you should make cell E1 active.
  • Then select View➝Window➝Freeze Panes➝Freeze Panes.

To unfreeze the columns, select View➝Window➝Freeze Panes➝Unfreeze Panes.

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