How to Fix Freeze Panes not Working in Excel (Step by Step)

November 10, 2023 525 views

Freeze panes is a useful feature in Excel that allows you to keep certain rows or columns visible while you scroll through your spreadsheet. However, sometimes freeze panes might not be available in Excel. This can be frustrating, as it can make it difficult to work with your data. This article will explain why freeze panes might not be available in Excel and how to troubleshoot the problem.

Part 1. Reasons why Freeze Panes are not working in Excel

Freeze Panes is a valuable feature in Excel that allows users to lock specific rows or columns in place while scrolling through large datasets. However, there are situations when Freeze Panes might fail to function correctly. Here are some of the most prevalent culprits:

Page Layout View: Freeze Panes might not work if your Excel sheet is in Page Layout view, as this view prioritizes printing layout over interactive features like Freeze Panes.

Windows Protected Mode: When Windows Protected Mode is active, it can disrupt certain Excel functions, including Freeze Panes, due to security settings designed to isolate potentially harmful content.

Compatibility with Earlier Excel Versions: Freeze Panes functionality could be affected if the worksheet was protected or created using an older version of Excel, as newer versions may not fully support the settings from previous versions. This can lead to unexpected behavior when attempting to freeze rows or columns.

Part 2. How to Fix the Freeze Panes not Working in Excel?

Excel Freeze Panes Not Working Resolved by Changing Page Layout Preview

Step 1: Adjust Page Layout

Open your Excel sheet. Go to "View" tab in the ribbon.

Pick "Normal" or "Page Break Preview" from "Workbook Views."

view tab

Step 2: Enable Freeze Panes

Locate "Freeze Panes" group in "View" tab.

Click "Freeze Panes" and select "Freeze Panes" from the options.

Freeze Panes

This method is useful if the Freeze Panes feature is not working because the worksheet is in Page Layout Preview mode.

Removing Protection from the Sheet to Make Freeze Panes Work

Step 1: Remove Sheet Protection

Navigate to the "Review" tab.

Find the "Unprotect Sheet" option within the "Protect" section.

Select "Unprotect Sheet" to remove the protection.

Select unprotect

Step 2: Apply Freeze Panes

Head back to the worksheet. Apply the Freeze Panes feature by following the steps from Method 1.

This time, the Freeze Panes feature should work seamlessly after removing protection.

follow method 1

Removing protection is like clearing the way for Freeze Panes to do its job. It's a straightforward solution that ensures a smooth interaction between the two features. Just remember to reapply protection if needed after resolving the Freeze Panes issue.

Unfreezing the Panes to Make Freeze Panes Work

Step 1: Unfreeze Panes

Go to the "View" tab in Excel.

From the "Freeze Panes" options in the "Window" section, select "Unfreeze Panes."

Select unfreeze

Step 2: Apply Freeze Panes Again

Reapply the Freeze Panes feature by following the steps from Method 1.

After completing the sequence, you'll notice that Freeze Panes now work as intended.

Freeze Panes now work

If the Freeze Panes feature is already applied to the sheet, but it is not working, you can try unfreezing the panes and then reapplying the Freeze Panes feature. This may fix the issue.

Using Table Instead of Freeze Panes

Step 1: Create a Table

Select the entire range you want to work with. Move to the "Insert" tab in Excel.

From the "Tables" section, choose "Table."

Choose table

Step 2: Confirm the Table Creation

The "Create Table" command box will appear. Click "OK" to confirm the creation of the table.

Click OK

If you only need to freeze a few rows or columns, you can use a table instead of Freeze Panes. Tables are a more flexible way to freeze data, and they can also be used to perform calculations and formatting.

Using Microsoft Excel Repair Tool

Step 1: File Recovery with Repair Option

Open the Excel workbook that is encountering issues.

Click on the "File" tab. Beside the "Open" command, you'll see a small down-arrow button. Click on it.

From the options that appear, choose "Open and Repair."

Select Open and repair

Step 2: Apply Necessary Fixes

After retrieving the file using the repair option, proceed to apply any required features, such as Freeze Panes or others.


Step 3: Using External Repair Tools

Excel attempts to repair damaged files upon opening. If Excel's built-in repair isn't successful, consider external repair tools.

On the internet, you'll find various free Microsoft Excel Repair Tools.

Download a tool of your choice and use it for severe file corruption or damage.

These tools offer a range of retrieval features, including:

  • Repairing corrupted files.

  • Retrieving data with Cell Formatting, Formulas, Table Styles, Charts, and more.

This method is your safety net when files seem beyond repair. Excel's repair options can work wonders, and if not, external tools come to the rescue. A reliable solution to salvage valuable data from files on the brink.

Part 3. Best Alternative to Microsoft Office–  WPS Office

WPS Office is a free office suite that allows you to create, edit, and collaborate on a variety of documents. It is divided into four parts: Writer, Spreadsheet, Presentation, and PDF. WPS Office supports Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

Features and Benefit

  • Compatibility: WPS Office works smoothly on devices, ensuring you focus on tasks, not compatibility worries.

  • Document Formatting: Customize documents using diverse formatting tools and styles.

  • Collaboration: Real-time collaboration lets multiple users work together seamlessly for productive teamwork.

  • Cloud Convenience: Access and save documents from various cloud storage services, staying connected and mobile.

  • Templates: Ready-to-use templates for different documents save time and effort in creation and design.

WPS Office is a wonderful alternative if you want a free and robust office suite. It is a powerful Microsoft Office substitute, and it has a number of features that make it a great tool for both personal and business usage. Download WPS Office now to access a range of features and benefits for your document management and creation needs .

Steps to edit Word/Excel/Powerpoint in WPS:

Follow these instructions to edit a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file in WPS Office:

Step 1 Open the WPS Office app.

Step 2 Click on the application you want and select "Open".

Select application

Step 3 Select the document that you want to edit.

Click Open

Step 4 Make the desired changes to the document.


Step 5 Click on the "Menu" menu and select "Save" or Save As


WPS Office: Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.



How do you reset freeze panes in Excel?

If you're experiencing frozen sections while scrolling through your Excel worksheet, it's likely due to previously frozen panes. To undo this, navigate to the "View" tab, find "Window" in the group, and select "Unfreeze Panes." This will restore your ability to scroll freely without any frozen areas.

How do I freeze multiple rows in Excel?

To freeze multiple rows in Excel, follow these steps: First, identify the last row you want to remain visible while scrolling. Then, click on the row number right below that specific row. After selecting the row, head to the "View" tab located in the Excel ribbon. In the "Window" group within this tab, you'll find the option "Freeze Panes." Click on it.

How do I freeze panes vertically and horizontally at the same time?

To freeze panes vertically and horizontally at the same time in Excel, you need to select the cell that is at the intersection of the row and column that you want to freeze. For example, if you want to freeze row 2 and column A, you need to select cell B3. Then, click the View tab and click the Freeze Panes button. You will see an option that says Freeze to row 2 column A. Click on that option and you will see that the row 2 and column A are frozen. You can scroll the worksheet and still see the frozen panes.


In this detailed guide tailored for Excel enthusiasts in 2023, we've covered a crucial skill: pasting without formatting. This ensures your documents remain clean and professional. Moreover, we've provided step-by-step solutions for the common hiccup of Freeze Panes not cooperating.

Throughout, we've underscored the prowess of WPS Office, a versatile suite that streamlines document creation and management. By embracing these techniques and harnessing the power of WPS Office, you'll effortlessly enhance your productivity and craft polished documents.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.