Latest Microsoft365 Excel will not freeze panes properly

Copper Contributor


  • Selected rows 1 & 2
  • Attempted to freeze panes 
  • Latest Microsoft365 Excel disregarded selection and froze panes beginning at row 12?!


Googled issue & attempted suggested fixes:

  • check for Normal view (was never out of Normal)
  • update software (have latest)
  • etc. to no avail - Microsoft365 Excel continues to freeze panes from 12th row

Is there a patch that fixes this glitch?  

Why did Microsoft's programmers fix what wasn't broken? 

Excel's own menu states "Freeze Panes: Keep rows columns visible while the rest of the worksheet scrolls (based on current selection)" This is NOT happening. Please help.


Thank you to any and all who are able to help me get this fixed. I'm sure there are thousands of other Excel users who need the same help.



14 Replies


Freeze Panes will freeze the rows above and towards the left of the active cell. Select cell A3. Then freeze panes and the first two rows will be frozen.


And, as an example, select C4 and then Freeze Panes will freeze columns A and B and rows 1,2 and 3.




If you have already performed updates and the problem persists,

the next thing I would ask is, does this only happen in this workbook/worksheet?

If it happens to all Excel workbooks, I recommend running a repair as well.

If that doesn't help either, try starting in safe mode and see if the problem persists there too.

If not, deactivate all AddIns first and see if everything works as it should again in normal start mode.


Have you recently added new software such as antivirus?



If none of this helps, I recommend inserting a file (without sensitive data) to be able to view the problem.

@NikolinoDE Am pretty sure it has nothing to do with updating, repairing or add-ins.


Did some more testing and it seems that as soon as you include the entire row 1 in your selection and then press Freeze Panes, the grid will be frozen both horizontally and vertically, exactly in the middle of your visible grid.

Selecting entire row 3 and then Freeze Panes will have the same effect as selecting A3 and then Freeze Panes.


You're probably right, but according to the text, some things have been done by the user, as well as updates. This actually means that the knowledge is available to be able to carry out the basics. Maybe my translation was wrong. It would be nice if the user would give us feedback.

Did this but it still is taking from row 12? I've a mind to just squish up rows 3-12 and start my calcs from row 13 - I really don't see any other solution?
It's weird because it happened on the Windows 10 version at work AND on my MS Office365 version as well? I've found where it's a known glitch by Microsoft, which is why I say their programmers have fixed what was not broken. I'm just going to squish lines 3-12 and start at 13 - obviously some programmer thought that was funny and/or likes the #13 (i.e. MS-13?) but thank you for your help!!
Thank you Riny_van_Eekelen - I can easily freeze row 1, but I can't get any multiple rows to work. I have a top row that is merged across 6 columns, then a 2nd row that has the titles of each column and I should be able to select just row 1 & 2 and freeze panes - that simple, but the program isn't allowing it so I'll just squish up rows 3-12 - it shouldn't even be this hard :) Thank you so much!



As you can see - the 'panes' are frozen - I thought it was row 12 but not even as nice as that - freezes at the grayed lines which means row 17. no matter what I try this is how it comes out. 

You can't see it, but my cursor is in row 3 which is below the rows I want to freeze. I just wanted to make a simple budget for home, but now it's a big deal. Not really though I won't need to scroll at home--but I AM worried about the one at work. However, one of my bosses literally went to Harvard so she might know how to fix it, yet somehow I'm thinking this shouldn't need a Harvard graduate to figure it out. I should just be able to highlight row 1 & 2 and hit Freeze Panes and wah-lah...scroll happily along. Thank you for your help!!




I recommend re-reading @Riny_van_Eekelen's solution.  Selecting multiple rows or columns prior to Freezing Panes is not recommended.  I thought I'd chime in because I've worked with plenty of people in person and through remote and many of them will select multiple rows more often than not (It's one of my Excel pet peeves!).


I've included a gif of this.  Freezing panes is all about active cell.

freeze panes.gif

@Patrick2788 @Riny_van_Eekelen @NikolinoDE
Thank you all. I accept the fate that only the 1st line can be frozen until the glitch is fixed.
I'll still be taking it up with my coworker when I return to work on Tuesday. Either way I'll come back and let you all know how it was fix or if it remains a Microsoft faux pas.

Thank you all for your help :)

@BCR8TV I believe you still haven't understood the issue here. It's not a glitch. It's the active cell that is the key factor for determining where to freeze the panes.


Select rows 10 to 15 and observe that A10 is the active cell. Rows 1 to 9 will be frozen. Select rows 15 to 10 (so by dragging upwards), A15 will be the active cell and rows 1 to 14 will be frozen.


Note that when you start selecting rows from the top of the grid, the active cell will be A1. Freeze panes now. Excel can't freeze rows above row 1 as there aren't any. Same thing if you would select the entire column A through D, starting at the left. The active cell will also be in A1 and Excel can't freeze any columns to the left if it.. In stead, it inserts a frozen panes in the center of the visible grid, just as you showed in the screenshot when you answered @NikolinoDE . Now, if that is an undesired result, perhaps you can send feedback to MS and suggest that they display warning "Can not freeze panes", rather that insert frozen panes in the center of the grid. But I would take it as a signal that I did something wrong here, as one can't freeze panes at A1. Ctrl-Z and try again.


So, ensure that A1 is NOT the active cell when you freeze panesSelect the cell that should be the top left-hand cell of the moving portion (i.e. not frozen) of the spreadsheet.


Freeze the first two rows? Select A3 and freeze panes.

Freeze the first two columns? Select C1 and freeze panes.

Freeze the first two rows AND the first two columns? Select C3 and freeze panes.


Understand this principle and you will never make the mistake again. Simple as that!





Thank you all!! One of my supervisors showed me what you all meant:
• To freeze row 1&2 put cursor in first cell of row 3 with nothing selected anywhere on page
• Hit freeze panes
• Now row 1&2 are frozen
Apparently, I was over-thinking it. Thank you all for sharing with me & I hope you have a great year ahead!


I had the exact same problem.  But it turned out that I had accidentally used the "split" screen command which is similar to freezing pains but is useless and I have no idea why it is still in excel.  So you need to undo the split and then you can use the freeze pains as you would expect.

Thanks rotenberg9 - I tried to like your response, but the site wouldn't let me, so I wanted to thank you for that, and give you a big thumbs up for helping!! :) Hope you have a terrific Labor Day Weekend!!