How to Anchor Columns in a Spreadsheet

by LynDel Randash
Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Spreadsheets are used for database functions, math functions and creating graphs or charts. Microsoft Excel is an electronic spreadsheet program that is used for organizing, manipulating and storing data. The data is entered into a column on the spreadsheet. The columns may be lengthy and numerous. The user may not be able to view the entire spreadsheet on the computer screen. Having the ability to anchor or lock the columns on the spreadsheet is extremely useful when looking at a significant amounts of data on more than one column. When the columns are anchored, the columns selected to be anchored stay in place and the rest of the spreadsheet data can be scrolled through for easier viewing.

Step 1

Open the Excel program and open the desired spreadsheet or enter data to create a new spreadsheet.

Step 2

Select the column or columns that are to remain visible when scrolling. To select a column, click on the letter at the top of the column. The column will then be highlighted showing it has been selected.

Step 3

After selecting a column when using Excel 2007, click on the view tab on the toolbar. Once the view tab is open, in the Windows group, click on the arrow that is located below the freeze panes. To anchor only one column, click on Freeze First Column. To anchor more than one row, click on Freeze Panes. To anchor columns in other versions of Excel, such as 2003, select the column and click on the Windows tab on the toolbar and click on Freeze Panes.

When the column or columns need to be unanchored, click Unfreeze Panes in the Window menu.


  • When the first column is anchored, the Freeze Panes option changes to Unfreeze Panes, allowing those columns to be unanchored.
  • Columns on the left side of the spreadsheet can be anchored. Columns in the middle of the spreadsheet cannot be anchored.
  • Freeze Panes option is not available when editing is being done on the spreadsheet.


Photo Credits

  • Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., LynDel Randash has been writing professionally since 2010. Her work appears on eHow, focusing on topics in education. She also teaches elementary school children to write. She holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Minot State University and a double Master in Education in technology/curriculum and administration/supervision from the University of Phoenix.

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