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Ted French

Keeping Headings and Titles on Screen in Excel

By January 2, 2012

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When working with large spreadsheets, it gets a bit frustrating, when you go to read the data in a distant row or column and the headings at the top of the page or down the side of the sheet disappear.

If you are like me, you're never quite sure if you are reading the right cell so you scroll back and forth trying to read first the heading and then the data, then back to the heading and then the data again, until you're almost sure you have it right.

One way to avoid this back and forth waste of time, is to use Excel's Freeze Panes feature. Freeze panes allows you to lock specific rows and columns so that they will always be visible on screen no matter how far you scroll to the right or down.

Related Tutorials

January 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm
(1) Excel User says:

Personally, I absolutely hate Freeze Panes and much prefer the little sliders found at the top of the vertical scroll bar and found at the right of the horizontal scroll bar because the sliders allow me to isolate (temporarily “freeze”) an area of the screen, but also allow me to grab them individually or both at the same time and move (expand or contract) the “frozen” area without having to unfreeze and refreeze the “frozen” area again and again when I want to see more or less of it.

August 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm
(2) Now a Happy Man says:

OH!! Found this page online when I Googled Excel Freeze Panes – Thanks for the little sliders info!! Never noticed that before.

Freeze – Pains would be a better word for it. Little Sliders work great – simple to use. check out the little sliders just like the post says!!

August 16, 2011 at 11:53 pm
(3) KP says:

Try Numbers for Mac. Way better spreadsheet program, period. Multiple tables in one sheet with up to 5 frozen header, footer, rows. This is how a spreadsheet program should work people. I bring my Mac to work just so I can do all my reports and spreadsheets in iWork. I just got sick of all the bugs in word 2010 and xcel 2010, as well as the generally shoddy interface in excel. Honestly, Windows products are subpar, and always will be–complete waste of time and money in my opinion.

August 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm
(4) Yunomi says:

The “little sliders” are called split boxes. They have their uses but they also have drawbacks.

First, the split boxes actually split worksheets into different panes, all of which can move. This means the contents of the sheet will be seen in all panes if they are scrolled to the same area creating confusion for some when presenting data.

When you need to freeze both vertically and horizontally, split boxes create four scrollable panes on the sheet at once. Again, can be useful, but this gets very confusing to neophyte users and even to seasoned Excel users.

Since frozen panes actually freeze the left-most and/or the top-most cells, scrolling only occurs over one area. This is more intuitive than multiple scrollable areas. For those who like to navigate using key-strokes, [Ctrl]+[Home] takes you to the first cell (vertically and horizontally) that is unfrozen (which is A1 when no panes are frozen). But with split sheets, this is always A1. All panes will then scroll to A1, which may not be the result you wanted. The same idea applies to [Ctrl]+cursor keys (the arrow cluster of keys).

Toggling frozen panes is easy (click of a button) from 2003 to 2010; plus, selecting where to apply it only requires the selection of one cell:
– Select B1 = Column A is frozen
– Select A2 = Row 1 is frozen
– Select B2 = Column A and Row 1 are frozen
– VBA making applying forzen panes repeatedly very easy (and VBA can make toggling frozen panes off upon opening workbooks also easy, just be careful not to save since removing someone else’s settings can get you in hot water).

Both features have their strengths and weaknesses. I typically freeze panes more, but use both depending on the task requirements and end user. For example, split boxes work better than freeze panes when autofiltering on the same worksheet and/or sharing a workbook.

September 30, 2011 at 7:19 am
(5) T says:

I need help.

My spreadsheet won’t scroll at all. The screen displays A through J horiontally and 1 though 20 vertically. When I try to scroll below 20 there is no movement on my screen. Sometime previously, I typed information below row 20 but something has occurred that now prevents scrolling.

Please help.

October 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm
(6) U says:

T, “Unfreeze Panes” will fix your problem.

November 7, 2011 at 10:42 am
(7) kiwi says:

the split box actually works good. Thanks for reminding.

November 8, 2011 at 8:09 am
(8) Barry says:


November 30, 2011 at 7:07 pm
(9) Squavy says:

Slider bars are a little geeky. When you’re at the top left of the scrollable section you have multiple views of the same cells.

Freeze panes has been ruined somewhere between 2003 and 2010. You can no longer freeze multiple panes – only the top row or first column. So if you want to freeze multiple columns or rows you have to use the geeky sliders.

March 30, 2012 at 3:54 am
(10) Frustrated says:

I have been using Freeze Panes for years but recently our laptop died and had to purchase new one, which we did with Office Small Business 2007 (supposedly with upgrade to 2010). Been giving me nightmares, but recently working on a spreadsheet with numerous sheets and cannot turn on Freeze Panes (dull, so can’t use) on all but one of the sheets. Can somone tell me why this is happenin??. Thanks for info re split boxes – that helps but prefer to use Freeze Panes.

April 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm
(11) Sherry says:

I’m having issues with freeze panes too. I can highlight the area I want frozen but instead of the top 3 lines I highlighted that I need to carry down the 5 page price list I’m looking at, it freezes the top 25 lines which takes up half the screen. WTH, Microsoft?

Can anybody advise? Splitting the screen is just as big a disaster because again it won’t split off what I want it to.

April 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm
(12) CM says:

Try adjusting your view to “Normal” view. My “Freeze Panes” options was also dull, but once I adjusted to normal view, it was an option again.

Hope this helps!

June 13, 2012 at 3:56 pm
(13) Patricia says:

Thanks, CM! I too am new to 2010. It was driving me crazy and no formal site or search gave me that information on using the Normal setting.

July 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm
(14) Derrick says:

Yunomi: Boss

Thanks for the help

August 9, 2012 at 1:27 am
(15) Nina says:

thank you to those clever people to help solve how to keep titles on multiple pages, I was tearing my hair out trying to work out how to do this

September 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm
(16) April says:

Even better, is to format the document with the tables option in excel 2010. Just check the box that document has headers. there are several options for viewing the table as well which make it easier to read.

April 12, 2013 at 2:51 pm
(17) Bill says:

Sorry to dig up an old post, but this might help someone

@Sherry – It sounds like you highlighted what you wanted frozen instead of positioning the cursor at the row/column that you want frozen. Position the cursor and then choose freeze panes. If you don’t want to freeze columns, then put the cursor in the left most column. If you don’t want to freeze the header, then put the cursor on the top row. It’s not real obvious until you play with it a little.

November 12, 2013 at 11:47 am
(18) siva says:

i have wasted my time for searching for row fields. now i am able to check it very quickly

Thank you for you right heading

November 26, 2013 at 12:55 am
(19) Dav says:

Thanks a million for the main post and for “Excel user”‘s comment! Helps a lot!

December 14, 2013 at 11:41 am
(20) Matt says:

I’d like to keep Cells A1:O7 always in view but be able to scroll normally through the rest of the sheet. So Freeze Pane at P9 doesn’t do what I want as it also freezes A9, A10, O9, O10, etc.

So is there any way of freezine just the top left of the screen and have anything below that scroll horizontally and vertically as normal?


March 7, 2014 at 1:52 am
(21) Chad says:

That was simple and super helpful. BTW I’m a Mac user and happen to like Excel.

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