Hey, Data Friends!
Today I’m going to show you how to freeze the top row and first column of your data in Excel! The first part of this tutorial will be the technical walk-through that outlines steps needed to freeze panes for the first row and first column, while the second part of this tutorial will be a conceptual overview of why the freeze panes functionality is helpful when creating reports in Excel.
Let’s get started!
To freeze the top row and first column in Excel you simply need to know the following shortcut hotkey:
ALT + W + F + F
The ALT + W + F + F hotkey will freeze panes for you in Excel. While the freeze panes hotkeys are easy to execute, what’s more important here is how you execute the shortcut.
You have 3 different options in how you execute the freeze panes shortcut. The three options are as follows,
• Freeze the row(s) above my selection
• Freeze the column(s) to the left of my selection
• Freeze the column(s) and row(s) above and to the left of my selection
To freeze a specific row (or specific rows) we need to select the entire row below it. For example, if we wanted to freeze all the rows from 3 and up in the below screenshot, then we would highlight row 4 before executing the Freeze Panes Hotkeys.
What we’re telling Excel is that we want to freeze all the rows above the row we selected.
To freeze a specific column (or specific columns) we need to select the entire column that comes after our target column. For example, if we wanted to freeze all the columns to the left of column C in the below screenshot, then we would highlight column C before executing the Freeze Panes Hotkeys.
What we’re telling Excel here is that we want to freeze the columns to the left of the column we have selected.
If we don’t highlight an entire row or column before we execute the freeze panes shortcut (ALT + W + F + F), then excel will assume that we want to freeze both rows and columns. To be specific, Excel will freeze the rows and columns relative to the cell that we have selected when we execute the freeze panes shortcut.
For example, below we have cell C6 selected. If we freeze panes from cell C6, then Excel will freeze all the rows above row 6 and it will also freeze all the columns to the left of column C.
With this knowledge in mind, if we want to freeze the top row and first column at the same time, then we need to select cell B2 before we execute the freeze panes shortcut. Below is an example output of freezing the top row and first column at the same time in Excel.
Notice the grey lines that I pointed out with the green arrows. These lines are boundary lines that show us which rows and columns are frozen. Since we executed the freeze panes shortcut from cell B2, we froze the top row and the first column at the same time in Excel!
Knowing how to freeze panes in excel is not a necessity by any chance. What it does bring to your Excel game is what I like to call the little details. Knowing how to freeze panes and implementing it in your Excel reports is a small detail that adds a large dose of professionalism to your work.
Freezing panes correctly allows your audience to understand what each column and row in your report represents, regardless of whether they’re looking at row 1 or row 500 of your report. Without the freeze panes functionality, the reader needs to zoom up and then back down if they forget what column C represents.
Now that you know how to freeze panes, show your best professional side and use it go-forward in your work.
As always, if you have any questions or need anything clarified don’t hesitate to reach me through Twitter DMs @Cest_Nick!