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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34 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?


  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….


    • 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.

    • MyDarlin says:

      THANK YOU for that answer! I struggled to figure out why it would keep freezing rows I didn’t have highlighted. I read your suggested solution and thought – NO WAY! But indeed 2013 works like you said. Dumb imho but that’s how it works!

  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!

  10. StevenM says:

    I have a worksheet with many rows and columns of data. I have frozen the first row and column by making cell B2 active and then freezing panes. This works as I want it to. I can even save and close the file, and the panes are still frozen when I reopen the file. However, if I open a new window for this file (View/Window/New Window), the new window does NOT have frozen panes. As I have frozen panes on many tabs in this spreadsheet I have to be VERY careful about which file I close first. If I close the “original window” first, when I close the “new window” it saves all the un-frozen worksheets. Is there a way to get the new window to retain the frozen panes settings?

    • Bob Ryan says:

      Steven- Not to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps you’ve investigated this already, but I’m wondering if there is another way of accomplishing your task(s) without creating a new window. In all the years I’ve used Excel, the only time I created a new window was related to training on Excel.

  11. Reg says:

    OMG!!! Thank you so much. That was driving me crazy and to think the simple fix was to just get off of Cell A1,smh! Who would have thunk it!!!

  12. AnneL says:

    Thanks for your article Bob – I found it really helpful as was having lots of issue with freeze panes but now all fixed.

  13. burt bowend says:

    thanks much. my ss kept freezing panes in the middle of the SS and i would freeze and unfreeze with the same result. i could have spent hours fighting it but your solution worked perfectly
    thanks much again

  14. rodalsa says:

    The problem: Row 10 is now the top of my sheet on one of my sheets in one workbook. I have never used filters prior to encountering your website while trying to find a solution to my problem. I have used every combination of freeze this unfreeze this (and That) I could think of. Nothing changes. I do not have any hidden rows or columns. Row 10 is my ceiling. I shut down Excel 2010 and launched it again. No change. I made a copy of the sheet. No change. I deleted all data in Sheet(2) and set all column and row widths to 10. No change. (As you can see, I’m getting desperate. Oh, I also did a cold computer power on yesterday.

    Any suggestions?

    For me to believe is insufficient for you to know. – rodalsa

  15. rodalsa says:

    I am still trying.

    I named a new sheet “Hope this helps” and copied via selecting the whole sheet, right clicking and copying. Then Pasting the whole sheet into my “Hope” sheet. Same problem. Then I selected the range that contains all of the data A10:many cells and copied that. I pasted the copied data into cell A10 on my “Hope” sheet. Row 10 was no longer my ceiling. Of course this process lost all of the data that might have been in the Range A1:ZZ9.

    At least that is a move in the right direction.


  16. rodalsa says:

    I think I have recovered a working sheet. It column widths need work and that seems to be the end of it.

    I typed “A1″ in the cell address box (top left of sheet). I held the Ctrl key down and pressed the down arrow key. The cursor immediately jumped to cell A10. I pressed the right arrow key until it reached the last column that could have contained any of my data. I copied the selected range. I then pasted the copy into cell A1 on my “Hope” sheet. Walla! I got data…. AND …. the A10 ceiling was smashed..gone… I was free to fly (but that is a another story).

    I cannot produce a reason for the A10 ceiling… just this workaround.

    Renaming the sheets and deleting the bad one finished the job.


    P.S If the moderator wants these three submissions consolidated let me know. I’ll be happy to comply.

  17. rodalsa says:


    My apologies to the moderator. I tried one more fix and found out that I was wrong about not having any hidden rows.

    I selected the whole sheet and clicked on one of the row numbers (far left column). I “UnHide”‘ed the rows and that fixed my problem. My needed solution was already mentioned on your site. I just did not remember how to do the Unhide thing when the hidden rows started in row 1 until I went through all of the other pain.

    Sorry to have “messed around with your day”.

  18. ShelleyB says:

    I can’t seem to freeze a row AND a column. I froze a row (A3), no problem. Then when I try to freeze the first column, it works but it cancels out the A3 freeze. So, it’s one or the other but not both. Any ideas? I don’t have any other freezes, splits, filters, etc.

  19. Jessi B says:

    Hi, I have froze the top 2 rows and the first column without issue, but when the shared users access the excel sheet, these panes are no longer frozen. Any suggestions to carry my frozen panes over to the shared users? – thanks

  20. Michelle says:

    My problem is the “freeze pane” tab is almost invisible, not hight-lighted for me to click on…..y are some spreadsheets I start to create,I can freeze pane and sometimes I cant?

    • Bob Ryan says:

      Michelle – I tried a few different things, but could not duplicate what you described. The only reason I can think of is that the workbook, or worksheet, is protected.

  21. mark says:

    I have a workbook with 5 sheets that are set up identically, but with different data entered.
    the first 4 are all frozen to G2 so the first row and cols A-F freeze. when I open the workbook, the 5th sheet is un frozen, I freeze it, it works fine all day. save it and close it at the end of the day, the next day, sheet 5 is unfrozen again, but any data changes I made have been saved, the only thing that won’t save is the freeze.
    Lots of filters, but whether they’re active or not doesn’t seem to matter, no hidden rows or columns.

  22. Bob Ryan says:

    Mark – Like my response to the comment by a user just above yours, I tried a variety of options – shared workbook, more than one sheet selected, etc – but could not duplicate the problem you described.

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