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How to Freeze Columns in Excel

Microsoft Excel provides a helpful feature called “Freeze Panes” that allows you to lock or freeze specific columns or rows in your spreadsheet. This feature is particularly useful when working with large datasets in an online Excel sheet, as it ensures that certain columns remain visible while you scroll through the rest of your data. In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through the steps to freeze columns in Excel, enhancing your data analysis and organization capabilities.

What is Freeze Panes in Excel?

The “Freeze Panes” feature in Excel allows you to lock specific columns or rows in place, ensuring that they remain visible while you navigate through your spreadsheet. This can be incredibly useful when dealing with large datasets where you need constant reference to specific data points or headers.

Freezing Columns in Excel

Before freezing columns, ensure that your data is well-organized in your Excel worksheet. Identify the columns you want to freeze and make sure they contain the relevant information you need to reference as you work with your data. Once done, follow the steps to freeze columns in Excel:

Step 1: Selecting the Column to Freeze

  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Click on the column header of the column that you want to freeze. This header contains the letter representing the column, such as “A” for the first column, “B” for the second column, and so on.

Step 2: Accessing the Freeze Panes Option

Once the column is selected, navigate to the “View” tab in the Excel ribbon at the top of the window.

Step 3: Choosing the Freeze Option

  1. Under the “View” tab, locate the “Window” group.
  2. Within the “Window” group, you’ll find the “Freeze Panes” dropdown menu.
  3. Click on the dropdown menu to reveal several options:
    1. “Freeze Panes”: This option freezes the selected column, keeping it visible as you scroll horizontally or vertically.
    2. “Freeze Top Row”: This option freezes the top row of your spreadsheet.
    3. “Freeze First Column”: This option freezes the leftmost column of your spreadsheet.
    4. “Unfreeze Panes”: This option unfreezes any previously frozen panes, returning your view to normal scrolling.
  4. To freeze the selected column, simply click on “Freeze Panes.” The chosen column will now remain visible as you scroll through the rest of your data.

Unfreezing Columns

If you want to unfreeze the column you previously locked, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate back to the “View” tab in the Excel ribbon.
  2. In the “Window” group, click on the “Freeze Panes” dropdown menu.
  3. Select “Unfreeze Panes.”

This action will remove the frozen state of the column, allowing you to scroll freely through your data.

Freezing Multiple Columns

To freeze multiple columns in Excel, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the cell in the column to the right of the last column you want to freeze. This cell should be in the row where you want the freezing to begin.
  2. Access the “Freeze Panes” dropdown menu from the “View” tab.
  3. Choose “Freeze Panes.”

This will freeze all columns to the left of the selected cell, keeping them visible while you scroll.


The “Freeze Panes” feature in Excel is a powerful tool that enhances your ability to manage and analyze data. By locking specific columns or rows in place, you can maintain a reference point while navigating through large spreadsheets, improving your data accuracy and efficiency.


What is the difference between freezing columns and freezing rows in Excel?

Freezing columns keeps specific columns visible while scrolling horizontally, whereas freezing rows keeps specific rows visible while scrolling vertically. Both features are used to maintain reference points in large spreadsheets.

Can I freeze both columns and rows simultaneously?

Yes, you can freeze both columns and rows simultaneously by selecting the cell where you want the freezing to begin (e.g., the top-left cell of the range you want to freeze).

How do I freeze the top row along with columns in Excel?

To freeze the top row along with columns, select the cell in the top-left corner of the area you want to freeze, and then choose “Freeze Panes” from the “View” tab.

Are there any limitations to freezing columns in Excel?

While freezing columns is a helpful feature, it’s essential to note that frozen columns may take up space on your screen, limiting the horizontal view of your spreadsheet. Use this feature judiciously to balance visibility and workspace.

Can I freeze columns in Excel Online or Excel for Mac?

Yes, you can freeze columns in both Excel Online (the web-based version of Excel) and Excel for Mac. The process is similar to the one outlined in this tutorial, with minor interface differences.

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