Making Pane Settings Persist

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 1, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


If Cindy freezes panes in a worksheet and then saves the workbook, the next time she opens that workbook the previously frozen panes no longer appear. Each time she opens the workbook, she needs to reset the panes. Cindy doesn't think it used to be this way in older versions of Excel and wonders if there is some setting she needs to make or wonders, perhaps, if Excel has changed how it handles panes. She wants to save the pane settings with the workbook so they persist from one usage to another.

The default behavior of the latest versions of Excel is that your pane settings should be persistent, just as Cindy remembers in older versions of Excel. If that is apparently not happening for you, there are a few things you can check:

  • See if someone else is updating or using the workbook and, while doing so, removing the panes.
  • Check to see if the workbook has a macro that runs automatically when starting that removes the panes. You might try looking for the text "FreezePanes" in the macros.)
  • See if the workbook is actually being saved in a non-Excel format, such as CSV or HTML. Other formats don't necessarily hold on to some settings, such as panes. (Save the file in XLS or XLSM format to see if that fixes the problem.)
  • Is the workbook, when open, being worked with using multiple windows? If so, and one of the windows doesn't use panes, the settings in the last-closed window are those that will "stick" in the workbook.
  • Check if the workbook is being shared with others. Some users report an oddity where pane settings may not save properly in shared workbooks.
  • Are filters being used in the workbook? If you apply filters, then set panes, and finally remove filters, the panes may also go away.

If none of those ring a bell with you, try starting with a brand new, blank workbook. Put some test data in it, freeze the panes, and then save it. Exit Excel and open the workbook again. If the panes are still there, then this is a good sign that the problem is with the other workbook only. In that case, it could be that the workbook is becoming corrupted (for some reason) and you may need to work on getting your data into a different workbook.

There are two other things you can do, if you desire. One is to simply save a custom view of your worksheet, with the panes in place. You should then be able to load the custom view at a later time and have the pane settings be present (along with many other settings) so that you can continue working with the workbook.

The other thing you could try is to create your own macro that sets the panes as you want them to appear. Here's an example:

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
    ActiveWindow.FreezePanes = True
End Sub

This macro would be added to the ThisWorkbook module, and you'll need to change the cell reference (D4) and worksheet name (Sheet1) to reflect where you want the panes set. You could also, if desired, change the code to a "regular" macro that could be assigned to a shortcut key or the Quick Access Toolbar. That way you could use the macro to set similar panes in any worksheet, with the click of a button.

Sub SetPanes()
    ActiveWindow.FreezePanes = True
End Sub

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (604) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 5 + 0?

2023-07-01 10:26:42

J. Woolley

My Excel Toolbox includes the following dynamic array function to list all panes of the active window in four columns (Pane, ScrollColumn, ScrollRow, VisibleRange):
The following dynamic array function will list all properties of the active window (including freeze, split, and scroll information):
My Excel Toolbox's SpillArray function (described in UseSpillArray.pdf) simulates a dynamic array in older versions of Excel:

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