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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Excel Tip: Freeze panes to make scrolling easier

Another simple tip this week. This time to make life easier when scrolling around large spreadsheets.

Many of you may know this, but I regularly see users scrolling around large sheets, lost - or using split windows as a very clunky way to try to achieve the same thing - so clearly, many users don't.

So if you need to be able to know your heading and row titles wherever you are on a worksheet, read on.

Freeze Panes is accessed from the View ribbon in Excel 2007 onwards, or from the Window menu in earlier versions.

In the later versions, you get three options, Freeze Panes, Freeze Top Row and Freeze First Column. Once I have explained the first one, the second and third options will be pretty obvious (and don't exist in Excel 2003 and earlier as the same can be achieved easily using the first option).

Selecting Freeze Panes freezes everything above and to the left of the active cell. Meaning that these rows and columns will stay on screen when you scroll down or to the right, no matter how far you go.

For example, if you click in cell B3 and select Freeze Panes, this will freeze (or lock) rows 1 and 2 and column A. This means as you scroll to the right, the first column to disappear from view will be column B, and as you scroll down, the first row to disappear will be row 3.

If you no longer need these panes frozen, you will notice that the option on the menu has now changed to Unfreeze Panes, so just click that to remove the lock.

Simple, but can make life so much easier when a spreadsheet doesn't fit on your monitor screen.

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