Freeze or Lock Columns and Rows in Excel

Freezing makes it easier to read data

When you scroll too far right or too far down, you lose the headings located at the top and on the left side of the worksheet in Excel. Freeze Panes helps you keep track of which column or row of data you're looking at.

Instructions in this article apply to Excel for Microsoft 365, Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010.

Freeze Panes Using the Active Cell

When you use Freeze Panes in Excel, all the rows above the active cell and all the columns to the left of it become frozen in place.

As you scroll across the spreadsheet, those cells won't move.

  1. Select the cell to the right of the columns and just below the rows that you want to freeze in place. For example, to keep row 1, row 2, and column A on the screen when you scroll, select cell B3.

  2. Select the View tab.

    View tab in Excel
  3. Select Freeze Panes to display a drop-down list.

    To freeze panes in Microsoft Excel 2010, select View > Arrange All > Freeze Panes.

    Freeze Panes on View tab
  4. Select Freeze Panes. This freezes all rows and columns to the top and left of the selected cell. The status of frozen cells or columns is displayed by a darker line beneath the frozen rows and to the right of frozen columns.

    Freeze Panes in Freeze Panes list

Unfreeze Panes in Excel

When you freeze rows or columns in Excel and then save the file, the status of frozen panes is also saved. This means that the next time you open the sheet, those frozen rows and columns remain in place.

If you don't want those rows or columns to stay static anymore, unfreeze all rows and columns with the Unfreeze Panes command.

To unlock the rows and columns so that you can scroll the entire spreadsheet:

  1. Select View.

  2. Select Freeze Panes to open a drop-down list.

  3. Select Unfreeze Panes.

Freeze the Left Column in Excel

You can quickly freeze the left column of a spreadsheet using the Freeze First Column command. This command freezes the left column of your spreadsheet, regardless of which cell you've selected. This feature is useful when the left column contains information about all of the numbers to the right of it in the sheet.

To freeze the left column:

  1. Select View.

  2. Select Freeze Panes to open a drop-down list.

  3. Select Freeze First Column.

    This immediately freezes the left column so that you can scroll the sheet to the right as far as you like, but still see the left column.

    If you want to navigate to Freeze First Column using your keyboard, press Alt+W, press F, and press C.

    Freeze First Column in Freeze Panes list

Freeze the Top Row in Excel

If you want to keep the top row visible in Excel, use the Freeze Top Row command. This command freezes only the top row of your spreadsheet, regardless of which cell you've selected. This is commonly used when the top row contains header information for all of the data in the spreadsheet.

To freeze the top row in a spreadsheet:

  1. Select View.

  2. Select Freeze Panes to display a drop-down list.

  3. Select Freeze Top Row.

    This freezes the top row to scroll the sheet down as far as you like but still see the top row.

    There is no quick keyboard shortcut to freeze the top row in Excel, but you can press a few keys in sequence to navigate to the Freeze Top Pane in the menu using your keyboard. To do this, press Alt+W, press F, and press R.

    Freeze Top Row in Freeze Panes list


    If you use the Freeze Panes feature a lot in Excel, you can add all the freeze commands to the Quick Access Toolbar at the top of the Excel Ribbon.