I work a lot in Excel, in fact I use spreadsheets for just about everything! This tutorial is to show you how to freeze columns and rows when you’re working in a large sheet (that isn’t using the Tables feature).

Below is an example of a spreadsheet I use to record my Facebook schedule. I haven’t set any columns or rows to freeze, however because this is set up in a table format, as soon as we scroll down the page the column headings of the table automatically appear at the top of the sheet.

Table header

However, what if the data isn’t in a table? Below is the same information as the image above, except it’s not in Table form. You can see the column headings are now the usual A, B, C, and so on…

Non-tabular data

In order to view the actual column titles in this sheet we need to scroll back up to the beginning of the data. Then we click on View in the ribbon, and click the drop down arrow next to Freeze Panes

View - Freeze Panes


You’ll see 3 options for freezing panes:

Freeze Panes – This freezes the rows above and columns to the left of the cell you’ve selected.  For example, if I click on cell E6 in the sheet and select Freeze Panes, you’ll notice a line has appeared between columns D and E, and between rows 5 and 6.

Freeze panes

When you scroll down, all rows above 6 are still showing…. scroll right and all columns to the left of column E are still visible.  Below is an example showing how columns have jumped from D-G, and rows have jumped from 5-76 after scrolling…


To undo the frozen panes at any time, just click back on Freeze Panes (on the View tab in the ribbon), and you’ll see there is now an option to Unfreeze Panes.  Click this and it all returns to normal…

Unfreeze panes

The next 2 options do exactly as they say…

Freeze Top Row – freezes the very first row of the spreadsheet, no matter what cell you’re currently in.

Freeze First Column – freezes the very first column which is visible on the spreadsheet (usually column A, unless that column is hidden).

These would only work if the headings you want are in the first row of the spreadsheet. In our example the column headings are in row 2 so freezing the top row wouldn’t be any good for us.

In our example we would place the cursor in cell A3 and select Freeze Panes. Scroll down and the column headings remain visible…

Correct freeze

And that’s it, I hope you found it helpful 🙂