Skip to main content
Library Research Guides

Using Microsoft Excel

This guide explains the basics of common features in Microsoft Excel for PC.

Automatic Freezing

If your data set is large and it is difficult to see which values correspond to what heading, you can “lock” the first column or the top row in place while you scroll.

To do this, go to the View Ribbon, click on the Freeze Panes icon in the Window Group, and choose either Freeze Top Row or Freeze First Column (you would have to do this one at a time if you wanted to freeze them both).

Once you freeze the panes, you need to unfreeze them to either adjust them or add another pane. To remove the pane(s), go back to the Freeze Panes icon in the Window Group, and and you will now see the option Unfreeze Pane.

Splitting and Dragging

If you click the Split icon (View Ribbon > Window Group), it will add a horizontal and vertical split in your document that you can adjust, and then freeze.

You can also drag the panes into position:

1. At the top of the vertical scroll bar, there is a thick bar. Move your cursor over this bar and it changes to two parallel lines with an arrow.

2. Click and drag to divide the window vertically into panes. Adjust the split so that the first row (or two) is the only row in the top pane. 

3. To set a horizontal pane, use the similar thick bar at the lower right corner of the scroll bar and drag it to the left. 

Once you have the column and row headings in place, you can scroll left to right and top to bottom and they will remain in place. This can be very useful to manipulate your data – see the Sorting Data section for more information.


Splitting and Dragging Demo

Watch the video for a demonstration of the splitting and dragging techniques described above.