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How to freeze a row in Excel so it remains visible when you scroll, to better compare data on different parts of a spreadsheet

Spreadsheets can get complicated, and frequently you need to be able to compare two different sets of data that are widely separated on your Mac or PC screen.

An easy way to do that is to lock a row (or column), so it stays in a fixed location while the rest of the spreadsheet scrolls up and down (or side to side).

There are two ways to do this: You can freeze the first visible row, or you can freeze a set of rows.

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How to freeze the top row in Excel

Keep in mind that this doesn't have to literally be the top row in your spreadsheet — this command lets you freeze the first visible row.

1. Scroll your spreadsheet until the row you want to lock in place is the first row visible under the row of letters.

2. In the menu, click “View.”

3. In the ribbon, click “Freeze Panes” and then click “Freeze Top Row.”

Choose Freeze Top Row to lock the top row (or the top visible row) to compare it to rows elsewhere in the spreadsheet.

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Now, when you scroll through the spreadsheet, the top row that was visible will remain fixed while the rest of the spreadsheet scrolls under it.

How to freeze a set of rows in Excel

When you use this option, you're actually freezing all the rows from the top down to the row you want to freeze — you can't freeze a random row in the middle of a spreadsheet without locking everything above it at the same time.

1. Select the row below the set of rows you want to freeze.

2. In the menu, click “View.”

3. In the ribbon, click “Freeze Panes” and then click “Freeze Panes.”

Select the row under the one you want to freeze before selecting Freeze Panes.

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How to unfreeze a row

Once you freeze a row, you can return to the Freeze Panes menu in the ribbon and choose “Unfreeze” to toggle the locked row.

You can release a row by returning to the Freeze Panes menu.

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