How to Lock Rows in Excel

John Coyle

Locking rows in Excel is useful for keeping part of your worksheet visible while scrolling through other parts. This allows you to always view row headers, totals, or other important information as you navigate the sheet.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of locking rows in Excel. So, head to the excel sheet on your computer or open online Excel sheet to follow and test all the steps.

Why Lock Rows in Excel?

Locking rows can be helpful in these situations:

  • Keeping row headers visible when scrolling down through a dataset. Users can scroll through the worksheet while keeping an eye at the row headers.
  • Prevents unintentional changes to critical data, ensuring its accuracy.
  • Locking part of a sheet to prevent accidental edits
  • Holding filters or legends in place when sorting or changing data
  • Simplifies data input forms by keeping headers stationary while users fill in information.

How to Lock Rows

Locking rows in Excel is easy to do with these steps:

1. Select the row(s) you want to lock

To select a row, click the row number on the left side. To select multiple rows, click and drag over the row numbers.

2. Go to View > Freeze Panes > Freeze Top Row

This will lock all selected rows at the top of the visible area. The rows will remain in view as you scroll down.

Alternatively, you can right-click the selected rows and pick “Freeze Panes” then “Freeze Top Row”.

3. Scroll down and observe the frozen rows

Now when you scroll vertically, the frozen rows will stay pinned at the top above the regular scrolling rows.

This allows you to always view the important rows, whether they are headers, summaries, labels, or any other data you need to reference.

Tip: To unlock the frozen panes, go back to View > Freeze Panes > Unfreeze Panes

Unlocking a Row in Excel

If you want to unlock a previously locked row, follow these steps:

1. Access the “View” Tab

Go to the “View” tab on the Excel ribbon.

2. Click on “Freeze Panes”

Under the “Window” group in the “View” tab, click on the “Freeze Panes” dropdown menu.

3. Select “Unfreeze Panes”

Choose “Unfreeze Panes” from the dropdown menu. This action removes the lock from the previously frozen row.

Advanced Freezing Options

The Freeze Panes command has additional options for more control:

  • Freeze First Column – Locks the leftmost column(s)
  • Freeze Panes – Opens a dialog to freeze rows and/or columns based on a selected cell
  • Split – Splits the pane into four sections with movable divides

Take advantage of these to customize freezing as needed for your spreadsheet.

Tips for Effective Row Locking

  • You can lock multiple rows by selecting the row numbers corresponding to the rows you want to lock before choosing “Freeze Top Row.”
  • To lock columns, use “Freeze First Column” or “Freeze Panes” and select “Freeze Panes” to freeze both rows and columns simultaneously.
  • Remember that Excel allows you to lock only one row at the top or one column at the left. You can’t lock multiple rows or columns in this manner.
  • Ensure you save your workbook after making changes to preserve the row locking settings.


Locking rows is a useful Excel trick to keep important information visible while scrolling through a sheet. Simply select the rows, access the Freeze Panes options, and pin those rows in place. This can enhance usability and readability for long worksheets.

Give it a try for keeping headers visible, holding filters in place, locking summary data, and more. Freeze panes in Excel to boost productivity.

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