Split Views for Documents/Spreadsheets
Many software programs allow you to split the screen to give you two different views into the same document or spreadsheet — Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and TextPad 5, to name three. For this demonstration, I will be using Microsoft Excel.
The first thing to look for, to see if your program offers this feature is a tiny spacer next to the scrollbar. There may be one above the vertical scrollbar.
There may be one to the right or left of the horizontal scrollbar. (In Excel, it is on the right. In TextPad, it is on the left.)
Or both. (Note: in Microsoft Excel, there is also a spacer to the left of the horizontal scrollbar, but that one merely adjusts the size of the scrollbar.)
To take advantage of the split view feature, simply click-and-drag that spacer towards the middle of the window. This will divide the window in half, giving each half its own scrollbar.
Now, you can scroll the data within each part of the window independently. This is particularly handy when there is a need to compare two different parts of the spreadsheet/document, which are not near each other.
Speed Tip: Whenever you are done with a split view, just double-click on the divider line between the two views. This will usually make one of the views go away. It is the equivalent of dragging the divider bar back to its original “parking place.”
Keeping Headers Visible: Another common use for split views is to keep the column labels, and/or row labels, visible in one part of the split view while the data is manipulated in the other part of the split view.
Frozen Panes in Excel: If you happen to be using Microsoft Excel, there is actually a better technique to use when the goal is to keep the first couple of rows and/or the first couple of columns visible while the rest of the worksheet is scrolled through. There is a command under the Window menu called “Freeze Panes.” This has the same effect as using the split scrollbars, as described above, but with the following differences:
- As the name implies, the “header” panes are fixed, which means that those regions won’t accidentally be scrolled when the intent is to scroll a different pane. In fact, frozen panes do not have any scrollbars (unlike the split view panes above).
- The division between panes as a cleaner, more efficient appearance. For one thing, the divider appears exactly between cells. For another, the divider is only as thick as it needs to be.
- Using Ctrl+Home with split views sends the cursor to cell A1, but using Ctrl+Home when there are frozen panes means that the cursor will be sent to the upper-leftmost scrollable cell (the first non-frozen cell).
To use Freeze Panes, place the cursor in the upper-leftmost cell that is to be allowed to scroll and then pull down the Window menu and select Freeze Panes.
All of the rows above the highlighted cell, plus all of the columns to the left of the highlighted cell, will now be frozen in place.
For example, if the cursor is in cell B2 when Frozen Panes is invoked, then the entire A column becomes fixed on the screen, along with the entire row 1. To freeze only header row(s), without freezing any columns, either place the cursor in the A column (e.g. A4), or else highlight the entire row (by clicking on the row number), before invoking Window | Freeze Panes. To freeze only header column(s), without freezing any rows, either place the cursor in the 1 row (e.g. B1), or else highlight the entire column (by clicking on the column letter), before invoking Window | Freeze Panes.
After invoking Window | Freeze Panes, the menu option changes to “Unfreeze Panes,” so that selecting it again causes those rows/columns to be scrollable again. Each worksheet within a workbook has its own settings for frozen panes.