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    MS Office File Repair

    [Fixed]: Freeze Panes not Working in Excel

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      Summary: This blog discusses the “freeze panes not working” issue in Excel. It mentions the possible reasons behind the issue and offers workarounds and methods to fix it. If the issue is associated with corruption in the Excel file, you can use the specialized Excel repair tool mentioned in the blog to repair the affected file.

      The freeze panes feature in Excel is used to freeze the row/column headings to keep them visible while scrolling the worksheet. It is a useful feature when you’re working on a large worksheet containing data that exceeds the rows and columns on the screen. Sometimes, you notice that the ‘Excel freeze panes feature is not working’. There could be numerous factors that can trigger this issue. Let’s know the reasons for the freeze pane not working issue in Excel and how to resolve this issue.

      Why can’t I freeze panes in excel?

      Several factors may contribute to the Excel freeze panes not working issue in Excel. A few of them are:

      • The cell editing mode is enabled in the workbook in which you are trying to use the Freeze Panes feature.
      • The Excel file is corrupted.
      • The worksheet is protected.
      • Advanced Options are disabled in Excel Settings.
      • The Excel application is not up-to-date.
      • You might be trying to lock rows in the middle of the worksheet.
      • Your Excel workbook is not in normal file preview mode.
      • Wrong/incorrect positioning of the frozen panes.

      How to fix ‘Freeze Panes not Working’ in Excel?

      The freeze panes option is available in the View bar. Sometimes, you’re unable to see the View option. It usually occurs if you are using the Excel Started version. Check and try to open the file in the advanced Excel version, which supports all the features. If you are using the advanced Excel version, then try the below workarounds to fix the freeze panes not working issue in Excel.

      Workaround 1: Exit the Cell Editing Mode

      If your Excel file is switched from normal file view mode to cell editing mode, you can encounter the freeze panes not working issue. In cell editing mode, certain features in Excel, such as the freeze panes, are temporarily disabled to prevent any conflicts. You can disable cell editing mode by pressing the ESC or Enter key. Now locate the View tab and check whether the freeze pane feature is working. If not, then try the next workaround.

      Workaround 2: Change the Page Layout View

      The Excel freeze panes not working issue can also occur if your workbook is opened in Page Layout view. The Page Layout view doesn’t support freeze panes. If you select page layout, the freeze panes option gets disabled.

      Excel freeze panes not working in Page Layout view

      To enable the freeze pane option, go to View and click the Page Break Preview tab.

      enable freeze panes in excel page break  preview tab

      Workaround 3: Check and Remove Options under the Data Tab

      Sometimes, you can experience the “freeze panes not working” issue if Sorting, Data Filter, Group, and Subtotal options are enabled in Excel workbook. Such options, when enabled, can lead to unexpected problems with the freeze panes’ functionality. You can check and remove these features from your workbook. To do so, follow these steps:

      • Open the Excel file in which you are getting the issue.
      • Navigate to the Data tab.
      • Check and remove the below features (if enabled):
      • Sort
      • Filter
      • Group
      • Subtotal
      remove sort, filter, group, and subtotal in excel step-by-step

      Workaround 4: Check and Unprotect Worksheet

      The freeze panes feature may stop working if your worksheet is protected. You can try to disable the worksheet protection option. Here are the steps:

      • In the Excel file, go to the Review tab.
      • Click Unprotect Sheet.
      Excel Review Tab - Accessing Unprotect Sheet Option - Learn how to navigate to the Review tab in Excel and click on the 'Unprotect Sheet' function to unlock protected content.

      After unprotecting the sheet, check whether the “freeze panes not working” issue is resolved. If not, follow the next workaround.

      Workaround 5: Use Correct Cell Positioning

      The freeze pane is not working issue in Excel can also occur when you use incorrect cell positioning to apply the freeze panes feature. Several users have reported facing this issue when trying to lock multiple rows with the wrong cell selection. So, use correct cell positioning to freeze the rows. For example, if you are trying to lock two rows in an Excel worksheet, then you need to click on 3rd row’s column.

      Excel Freeze Pane Issue: Fix with Correct Cell Positioning

      What if the above Workarounds Fail to Fix the Freeze Panes not Working Issue?

      If none of the above workarounds works, then there are chances that the workbook is damaged or corrupt. In such a case, you can try the below methods to repair the corrupt Excel workbook.

      Run Open and Repair Utility

      In case of corruption in the Excel file, you can use the Open and Repair tool in Excel to repair the file. To use this utility, follow these steps:

      • In the Excel application, navigate to File and then click Open.
      • Click Browse to select the workbook in which you are facing the issue.
      • The Open dialog box is displayed. Click on the affected file.
      • Click the arrow next to the Open option and then click Open and Repair.
      Excel File Repair: Steps - Open, Browse, Select, Repair
      • Click on the Repair option to recover as much data as possible.
      • You can see a completion message once the repair process is complete. Click Close.

      Use a Professional Excel Repair Tool

      If the Open and Repair tool doesn’t work to resolve complex file-related issues and your Excel file is severely corrupted, you can opt for a reliable third-party Excel repair tool, such as Stellar Repair for Excel. This tool can help you repair the Excel file and recover all the data with complete integrity. You can try the software’s demo version to scan the affected file and preview the recoverable data. The software is compatible with all MS Excel versions and Windows operating systems, including Windows 11.


      The “freeze panes not working” issue in Excel can occur due to several reasons, like protected worksheet, incompatible Excel version, and incorrect cell position. Try the workarounds shared in the blog to fix the issue. If the Excel file is corrupt, you can use Stellar Repair for Excel to fix the corruption issues in the file. This tool can quickly repair the Excel file and recover all the data from the file with 100% integrity.

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      About The Author

      Monika Dadool linkdin

      Monika Dadool is a Technical content writer at Stellar who writes about QuickBooks, Sage50, MySQL Database, Active Directory, e-mail recovery, Microsoft365, Pattern Recognition, and Machine learning. She loves researching, exploring new technology, and Developing engaging technical blogs that help organizations or Database Administrators fix multiple issues. When she isn’t creating content, she is busy on social media platforms, watching web series, reading books, and searching for food recipes.


      1. I thought my 5 top rows were all frozen as I could not page up to row 1. They were in fact hidden. by selecting the whole sheet (black arrow left of column A and row above my row 6) (rows 1 – 5 were not displayed), select unhide and they all came back.
        Thanks to those who create help pages like this one.

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