Keeping the data straight in an Excel spreadsheet can be difficult, particularly if you’re using the spreadsheet for very similar kinds of data (numbers come to mind). One way to avoid confusion is to freeze, or lock, the pane that you are using for labeling your data (some people may use top-row headers, others may use first-column labels) or freeze the pane that has the data you need to compare. Here’s how you do that:
- Once you have your initial data set, you will start with a spreadsheet like this. You may want to freeze the top row, where the headers are in this example, for instance:
- Move to the View tab of the spreadsheet and select the “Freeze Panes” button, which should give you a choice of freezing top row, first column or freezing multiple panes based on your current selection. Once you’ve selected a pane or panes to freeze, Excel will offer you the “Unfreeze Panes” option, pictured below – which will remove every single frozen pane rule you’ve set, so use wisely.
- Once you’ve made your selection (pictured below, the frozen first row), you can scroll up or down without affecting the frozen panes. Excel will automatically include a darker, heavier, single line border around the cells that you have frozen, instead of the normal thin gray border.
- While freezing these panes does involve a number of mouseclicks, you can add the “Freeze Panes” command to your Quick Access Toolbar. To do that, select the arrow at the top right of the toolbar (upper left of your window) and choose “More Commands”
- Once into the commands selection screen, you can choose “Freeze Panes” from the “Popular Commands” or “All Commands” list, and voila! It will appear in your Quick Access Toolbar and allow you to Freeze Panes in a more streamlined manner.