How to Freeze Columns in Excel? (Step by Step)
Freezing columns in excel is a method where we freeze a column so that it doesn’t move while the rest of the columns can move.
To freeze a column in excel follow the 2 simple and easy steps:
- Step 1: Select a column which needs to be freeze
- Step 2: Then go to the view tab where we can find freeze panes in the windows section and click on freeze panes.
In this article, I will show you the ways of freezing Top Columns, Multiple Columns, and Both Rows & Columns.
#1 Freeze or Lock Top Column in Excel (ALT + W + F + C)
To Freeze Top Column is nothing but freezing your first column i.e. when you are moving from left to right we would see the first column (column A) all the time. Like freezing top row means the very first row of the worksheet and similarly freezing top column or first column means the very first column of the worksheet irrespective of where your data starts.
Consider the below datasheet for an example. Download the workbook to get access to the large data set and see the live impacts of freezing the columns in excel.
In order to see the first column when you are moving from left to right, we need to freeze the first column. Follow the below steps to freeze the first column.
- Step 1: Select the worksheet where you want to freeze your first column.
- Step 2: Go to VIEW tab > Freeze Panes > Freeze First Column.
The shortcut key to freeze the first column is. Press ALT + W + F + C
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- Step 3: Ok you are done and good to go. It is very similar to the way of freezing the top row. You have frozen your first column to see column A when you are scrolling from left to right.
Now, look at the above image, even though I am in column AB i.e. our last column in the data set still we can see the first column.
#2 Freeze or Lock Multiple Columns in Excel (ALT + W + F + F)
Freezing multiple columns is very similar to that of freezing multiple rows. It is almost the identical process of freezing multiple rows.
- Step 1: Firstly, decide and identify how many columns you need to freeze. Let’s say I want to freeze first 4 columns
In my data, I know that the first four columns are the main columns I want to keep seeing at any point in time. If I want to freeze the first 4 columns then I need to place my cursor in the fifth column. In this I will place a cursor in the E1 cell, refer above image.
- Step 2: After selecting the cell E1 to go to VIEW tab > Freeze Panes > again select the option Freeze Panes under that.
Now we have frozen first four columns. We can see the straight gray line which indicates the frozen line.
We can see all the 4 columns while scrolling from left to right. Right now I am in the last column still I can see the first 4 columns which are frozen.
#3 Freeze or Lock Both Column and Row at the Same Time in Excel
We have learned the ways of freezing rows and columns individually. Here comes the important portion of the article. Usually in excel first row contains our headers and the first column contains the column headers.
Look at the below image of the data.
Now let’s say I want to access the top row as well as the first column simultaneously. This enables me to see the top row while scrolling down and see the first column while scrolling from left to right.
Notes: While freezing top row and first column in excel we have not selected any of the cells. But while selecting multiple rows we have selected the first column cell and while freezing multiple columns we have selected the first row.
- Step 1: Unlike previous methods, we cannot simply freeze columns. You need to be very sure how many rows and how many columns you need to freeze exactly.
In this case, I want to freeze only the first row and first column. So I need to select the cell B2 only.
- Step 2: After cell B2 is selected type the shortcut key ALT + W + F + F. It will freeze panes for you i.e. left of the active cell columns and above of the active cell rows.
We can see two tiny gray lines unlike only one in previous cases.
You can see Freeze panes by scrolling from left to Right and Top to Bottom.
#4 Unfreeze Panes in Excel? (ALT + W + F + F)
This is very simple, you need not select any cells you can just go to VIEW tab > Freeze Panes > Unfreeze panes.
You can also type the keyboard excel shortcut ALT + W + F + F.
The output is shown below:
Note: Excel Unfreeze Panes is available only if any of the freezes are applied in the sheet.
Things to Remember
- Only one freeze panes are available in an Excel worksheet. We cannot apply multiple freezes in a single worksheet.
- We have one more option called Split. It will split the sheet as multiple sheets.
- If you want to see only the headers of the data you can use excel tables.
This has been a guide to Freeze Columns in Excel. Here we discuss how to Freeze Top Columns, Multiple Columns, Freezing both Rows & Columns and Unfreeze Columns in Excel along with practical examples and downloadable excel template. You may learn more about excel from the following articles –