Things That Can Go Wrong with Freeze Panes… and How to Fix Them

In my book, I stick to solutions that work. But when I teach an Excel course, I take time to point out things that can go wrong. For example, has your screen ever had crosshairs in the middle of the worksheet? If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, please click this link to open an Excel 2007 file (zipped, no macros) named “Freeze-Panes-Problems-1.xlsx” to view the problem. Or, have you ever opened a spreadsheet and tried to move down the spreadsheet using either the scroll bar or keyboard down arrow but nothing seemed to happen? Please click this link to open an Excel 2007 file (zipped, no macros) named “Freeze-Panes-Problems-2.xlsx” to view this situation.

Both of these problems are a result of someone incorrectly applying the Freeze Panes feature. In the first case, the crosshairs in the middle are a result of someone applying the Freeze Panes feature while Cell A1 is the active cell. In the second case, this can happen if someone applies the Freeze Panes feature while the data is filtered.

To fix the problem in the first case, Unfreeze the Panes, click some cell other than Cell A1, and reapply the Freeze Panes feature. To fix the problem in the second case, Unfreeze the Panes, make sure the data is not filtered, and reapply the Freeze Panes feature.

For more information on the Freeze Panes feature, please see Chapter 2 of "Simply learning Excel 2007."

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16 Responses to Things That Can Go Wrong with Freeze Panes… and How to Fix Them

  1. Frankie Peele says:

    Fantastic. Thank you so much for providing a solution to my Filter and Freeze Panes issue.

  2. Lisa Boban says:

    Damn. I messed with this for hours before I found your answer. Many Many Many thanks!

  3. Gordon B says:

    my problem is that if I select top two rows and then freeze panes it freezes a different amount of rows …. sometimes 14, 19, 28 etc. It never did this before …. how do I fix this?? I’m on a MAC using Office 8

  4. CRitter says:

    Hi Bob, thanks for sharing.
    Moreover, be sure to remove any splitting before freezing panes again.

  5. Scott Bohm says:

    I am trying to freeze row and column so I can scroll through data. The title or top row is frozen only. I can’t get A column to freeze. I am using Excel 2010. Data is not filtered or split….Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks

  6. Scott Bohm says:

    Thanks Bob…I have tried B2 and it just freezes the titles. I cant seem to get it to freeze the titles and first column together so I can scroll the data….any other suggestions….

    thanks
    Scott

    • Bob Ryan says:

      Scott – I don’t understand why that doesn’t work. To be sure I understand, after you were sure the panes were not frozen, you clicked Cell B2, froze the panes (View > Freeze Panes dropdown > Freeze Panes (NOT freeze top row)), and when you scrolled to the right, the first column did not stay visible?

  7. Mike Peckmann says:

    I am having a simular problem that Scott is having. I want to freeze row 1 and 2 and column A. It doesn’t matter what cell I have selected it still gives me the “crosshair” in the middle of the sheet. It freezes column A to row 16 and row 1 and 2 to column J. My data goes past these quadrants

    • Bob Ryan says:

      Mike – Based on your comments, I recommend you unfreeze the panes first (View > Freeze Panes dropdown > Unfreeze Panes). After you do that, you should be able to select Cell B3, and freeze the panes as I described in my response to Scott. Will you let us know whether it worked?

  8. Gary in NYC says:

    FYI, I was having a problem with freeze panes where I’d select the rows I want frozen, but then after invoking the “Freeze Panes” function I found that more rows were included in this than I’d selected. I had highlighted the first 3 rows, but the first 10 rows were frozen. WTH?

    By trial and error, I discovered that if I simply click in a cell right below where I want the freeze pane to end, THAT works. So in this case I click on cell A4, and the top 3 rows are now included in the freeze pane.

    I am baffled beyond belief why it functions this way, in Excel 2013.

    • Bob Ryan says:

      Gary – Not only below, but also to the right, because both the rows at the top and to the left can be frozen. Also, I’m not sure why it works this way, but the method hasn’t changed for quite some time.

  9. Adrienne says:

    You are awesome! I kept trying to highlight the selection I wanted to freeze (first two rows and first two columns). Once I unfroze the panes, clicked on cell C3, then selected Freeze Panes, it worked!

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