How can I freeze rows and columns in Google Sheets?

Freeze rows and columns in google sheets - Featured Image

Written by Valentine Schelstraete

Sep 8, 2017

Google Sheets is the modern day device and location independent spreadsheets application, that’s based on Cloud technology. It has been significantly helping everyday information requirements from both individuals and teams alike. As advanced and powerful as it may be, the size of the device’s screen real estate tends to limit its user-friendliness. To overcome that challenge, we have a simple yet effective workaround that lets us freeze rows and columns in Google Sheets.

Consider the Sales Information file of a company below. It holds the information for all the number of sales each salesperson made in a month. There are about a hundred salespersons and the timeline spans from January 2015 to September 2017.

Sample Sales Information in Google Sheets

While being able to have all the data in one place is good, navigating within the cells can get challenging can be time-consuming. For example, I wanted to check the sales numbers in the month of March 2016. To do that, I will just move the horizontal scroll bar to the right until I am able to see the column corresponding to March 2016. But the problem is I won’t be able to see the sales persons names as a result of scrolling. So we do not exactly see who sold how much in March 2016. Thus, moving the scroll bar is ineffective.

Freeze Rows and Columns in Google Sheets: Sample Data

The same applies to the vertical dimension as well. For example, I want to see how Michelle Haynes performed. I’ll have to move the vertical scroll bar to reach the row where this particular salesperson is present. Once we are there, we will notice that this time around, the month headers went missing. Thereby making it difficult to correlate which sales figures corresponding to which month.

Freeze Rows and Columns in Google Sheets: Sales Information

Solution: Freeze rows and columns in Google Sheets

What happens when we freeze rows and columns in Google Sheets? They remain stationary even when we scroll in any of the directions, enabling us to correlate the values in an effective manner. There are two ways in which we can achieve this.

Approach # 1: Drag and Drop panes

The top left corner of the Google Sheets spreadsheet real estate contains vertical and horizontal panes as identified in the image below.

Freeze Rows and Columns in Google Sheets: Vertical and Horizontal Panes

When we hover the mouse pointer onto those grey colored panes, it turns into a hand icon. It is then we have to drag the vertical pane to the right just after the first column. similarly, drag the horizontal pane down until it clears just row # 2. The result will be as shown in the image below.

Freeze Rows and Columns in Google Sheets: Snapshot of Frozen Panes

Now, if we try and scroll in any direction, the frozen rows remain intact. This will make reading the data much easier. Let’s try this out. We move to the column corresponding to March 2016, and to the row belonging to Michelle Haynes. And, we’ll notice the first column and first two rows are intact even though other rows and columns have shifted.

Approach # 2: Select rows and columns to freeze

We can accomplish the exact same result in a different manner. To freeze the first two rows, we navigate to View > Freeze > 2 rows.

Then, we’ll freeze the first column by navigating to View > Freeze > 1 column.

Freeze Rows and Columns in Google Sheets: Navigation to Choosing Number of Columns to Freeze

We will notice, we essentially arrived at the same result, wherein we can scroll across the data without moving the first two rows and the first column. The number of rows or columns to freeze may vary depending upon the extent to which the useful information is present.

10 spreadsheet tips and tricks to maximize results

Check out the following blog post to see which other spreadsheet tips and tricks there are to maximze your results in Google Sheets!

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