Excel: Why is “Keep my Headings on Top” called “Freeze Panes?”

Last spring, I taught an Excel workshop.  Now I receive lots of “just one quick question” calls and visits.  By far, the most common question is “How do I get Excel to keep my headings at the top of the page even when I scroll down?”

This function is called “Freeze Panes.”  Odd name?  You have to remember that Microsoft views everything on your computer as a “Window.”  The parts of your screen are the panes of the window or your “View.”  So of course, Microsoft put the “Freeze Panes” command on the View ribbon.  Hopefully, now the terminology makes perfect sense, in an odd sort of nerdy way.

To freeze your panes, put your cursor on your first bit of data, just under the headings and to the left of your identifying columns.  Here is an example:

Bennet, Elizabeth
Bennet, Jane
Bingley, Charles
Darcy, Fitzwilliam
Click on Elizabeth’s phone number (highlighted yellow) because you want to always see the column headings at the top of your worksheet, and you want to always see the names on the left of your worksheet.  THIS DOES NOT AFFECT THE PRINTOUT, just the on-screen appearance.

Go to the “View” ribbon (in blue).  In the “Window” section (in green), click “Freeze Panes” (in red).  Click “Freeze Panes” from the drop -down menu after you notice that you may just freeze the top row or left column by selecting those options.

Freeze Panes Freeze Panes

Now scroll down past your data or to the right past your data.  Voila, your column headings and row names stay just where you want them.

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