by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 2, 2019)
Arvid notes that in older versions of Excel he was able to freeze both a row and a column by selecting a cell at the required intersection. Once done, the left and top portions of the worksheet would remain visible when scrolling. Now Arvid can only find the option to freeze either a row or a column, but not both. He wonders if he is missing something.
Somewhere over the past few versions of Excel, Microsoft changed how you freeze both columns and rows. Actually, they didn't change how you freeze them; they changed how the freezing is displayed in the various options available from the ribbon. Here's how you go about it.
First, select a cell above which you want the rows frozen and to the left of which you want the columns frozen. For instance, if you want to freeze the first 2 rows and leftmost column, choose cell B3.
Now display the View tab of the ribbon and click the Freeze Panes tool. Excel displays some options that you can choose from. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. The Freeze Pane Options
It is the very first option—Freeze Panes—that you want to select. If you select either of the other two, then you'll only freeze either the rows above or columns to the left of the select cell.
There is a caveat here, and it could be the cause of the confusion for Arvid. When you click the Freeze Panes tool, what you then see may not match what is shown in the previous figure. It is very possible that the first option will not be Freeze Panes but will instead be Unfreeze Panes. This is the case if there are already frozen panes in the worksheet. (In other words, someone previously chose any of the three options available through the Freeze Panes tool.) Microsoft refers to this ability to modify tool options based on the actual conditions in the workbook as "dynamic menus," and it can throw users for a loop at times.
If you see the Unfreeze Panes option, simply select it (this removes any panes already defined) and then click the Freeze Panes tool one more time and you should see the Freeze Panes option available in that first position.
If you are a keyboard type of person, you can instead use the keystrokes Alt+W, F, F to both freeze and unfreeze panes—it acts as a toggle.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13616) applies to Microsoft Excel 2019 and Excel in Office 365.
Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!
The number of formats used in a workbook can become a problem if you run up against the limit Microsoft hard-coded into ...Discover More
Hate to take your fingers off the keyboard? Here's how you can move from worksheet to worksheet without touching the mouse.Discover More
AutoComplete is a great feature for quickly adding data to a worksheet. If you are confused by why some things are picked ...Discover More
Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.