Freeze Panes in Excel 2016

I love simple things that allow me to streamline process and work faster. The ability to freeze panes in Excel is one of those simple yet marvelous things that just make things better. And without a lot of work!

Freezing select areas of your worksheet makes those trips deep into the data much easier.


Even with a very large monitor it doesn’t take much data in a spreadsheet to force scrolling.

And once you begin scrolling it doesn’t take long before you forget the number you told yourself not to forget and then need to scroll all the way back to remind yourself what that number was.

And then scroll back to where you were.

And then back again.

Talk about a time wasting process...

The freeze panes option in Excel allows you to freeze different parts of a worksheet. This allows you to scroll one area of the worksheet while keeping another area on screen at all times. 

This is especially useful when you are working with very large data sets. And very large data sets are usually the norm in digital marketing 

The goal

The concept behind freezing panes is to keep certain rows and/or columns visible no matter how far you scroll.

There are three options:

Freeze top row
This option keeps the top row locked in place at the top of the screen as you scroll up and down
Freeze first column
This option keeps the first column locked in place on the side of the screen as you scroll left and right.
Freeze panes
This is a custom option that allows you to freeze both rows above and columns to the left as you scroll.

The freeze top row and freeze first column options are preset one-click options based on the most common use case scenarios where there are headers on either the columns or the rows.

The freeze panes option is an open-ended option to meet all other use cases.

Freeze those panes!

  1. Go to the view tab on the ribbon.
  2. The display will look a little different on the Mac version vs the Windows version.
    • Here it is on Excel 2016 for Mac.
    • The freeze panes feature on the ribbon in the Mac version of Excel 2016
    • Here it is on Excel 2016 for Windows.
    • The freeze panes feature on the ribbon in the Windows version of Excel 2016
  3. Choose one of the three options below.
    • Click freeze top row.
      • No matter how far down you scroll the top row will always remain visible allowing you to see the connection between your data and your column headers.
    • Click freeze first column.
      • No matter how far right you scroll you will always be able to see the data in the first column.
    • Click freeze panes.
      • Any columns above the and to the left of the currently selected cell will now be frozen in place. So if you have your cursor in cell C3 then rows 1 and 2 will always be visible and columns A and B will always be visible.

Once you click freeze panes a faint grey line will indicate where the split between the frozen row/column and scrollable area is occurring.


Just go back to the view tab and click unfreeze panes.