Excel Freeze Panes are Not Working – 5 Causes with Solutions

In the sales dataset below the column headers in Freeze Panes are not working.

Dataset-Excel Freeze Panes not Working


What is an Excel Freeze Pane?

The Excel Freeze Panes feature locks the rows or column headings.

freeze panes-Excel Freeze Panes not Working


a) Previewing Worksheet Page Layout Preview

If preview in Page Layout Preview is active, you won’t be able to apply the Freeze Panes feature.

Page layout

b) Workbook Protection is Enabled

To enable Freeze Panes, you have to Unprotect the Worksheet:

Go the Preview tab > Select Unprotect Sheet (in Protect).

unprotect sheet-Excel Freeze Panes not Working


c) Worksheet Protected by Earlier Versions of Excel

Sometimes, Excel workbooks are protected by earlier versions of Excel. Opening an Excel workbook generated in earlier versions may prevent Freeze Panes from working.

Excel Freeze Panes are Not Working: 5 Solutions

Method 1: Excel Freeze Panes are Not Working Resolved by Changing the Page Layout Preview

If  Preview is active, Freeze Panes to be grayed out (disabled).

layout-Excel Freeze Panes not Working

  • Go to the View tab > Select Normal Preview (in Workbook Views). Select the Page Break Preview to enable the Freeze Panes.

frozen freeze panes

The Freeze Panes feature is enabled.

To insert Freeze Panes:

Click Freeze Panes > Select Freeze Panes.

Applying freeze panes

A Split Line is inserted and the panes above the line freeze.

Split line for freeze panes-Excel Freeze Panes not Working

Read More: How to Freeze Top Row and First Column in Excel

Solution 2 – Removing the Protection from the Sheet to Make Freeze Panes Work

You want to insert Freeze Panes.

Applying freeze panes-Excel Freeze Panes not Working

A warning is displayed: The cell or chart is a protected sheet and if we want to make a change have to unprotect it first…


  • Go to the Review tab > Select Unprotect Sheet  (in Protect).

Applying unprotect sheet

  • Apply the Freeze Panes feature repeating the steps described in Method 1.

Outcomes-Excel Freeze Panes not Working

Read More: How to Unfreeze Rows and Columns in Excel

Solution 3 – Unfreezing the Panes to Make Freeze Panes Work

➤ Go to the View tab > Select Unfreeze Panes (in Freeze Panes).

unfreeze panes-Excel Freeze Panes not Working

Apply the Freeze Panes repeating the steps described in Method 1 sequences.

Solution 4 – Using a Table Instead of Freeze Panes

You can use Excel’s Table feature to transform the range into a table dataset. An Excel Table by default offers Freezing Panes.

  • Select the entire range and go to the Insert tab > Select Table (in Tables).

Inserting table

  • In Create Table, click OK.

Create table window

Excel inserts the Table.


After scrolling 4 or 5 rows, you see that the Table freezes the column headers.

Table outcomes


Read More: Keyboard Shortcut to Freeze Panes in Excel

Solution 5 – Using the Microsoft Excel Repair Tool

Use the Excel inbuilt Open and Repair option.

  • Select the File.
  • Click the little Down-Arrow Button beside the Open command.
  • Select Open and Repair.

open and repair-Excel Freeze Panes not Working


In case Excel isn’t able to repair the file, free Microsoft Excel Repair Tools are available on the internet.

Read More: How to Freeze Multiple Panes in Excel

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Maruf Islam
Maruf Islam

MARUF ISLAM is an excellent marine engineer who loves working with Excel and diving into VBA programming. For him, programming is like a superhero tool that saves time when dealing with data, files, and the internet. His skills go beyond the basics, including ABACUS, AutoCAD, Rhinoceros, Maxsurf, and Hydromax. He got his B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET, and now he's switched gears, working as a content developer. In this role, he creates techy content... Read Full Bio

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