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Floating Information in a Frozen Row

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Floating Information in a Frozen Row.

Bev has a worksheet with two header rows that are frozen and a column that is frozen. She can then scroll across the page adding data week by week. Names and subtotals are fixed on the left, week dates across the top. Above all this, in the first frozen row, Bev has a nice fancy title describing the workbook. She's looking for a way that she can have her title (the one in the first row) "float" so that when she scrolls across the page the title does not disappear off the edge of the visible worksheet.

The easiest way to do this is to make sure that the title is in cell A1. Since you have one column and two rows frozen, as you scroll to the right cell A1, containing the title, will always be visible on the screen.

If you want something a bit more fancy with your title, then you need to do a bit of work with text boxes and macros. If you place the title in a text box positioned in the first row, then you can use some macros to make sure that the text box is always centered on the screen in that row.

Let's assume, for the sake of this example, that the text box containing the title is called "TitleTextBox." As you scroll left and right in the worksheet, a macro could automatically check to make sure that the left edge of the text box is always equal to the left edge of the visible screen area. The following code needs to be added to the worksheet code for the worksheet containing the text box:

Private Sub Worksheet_SelectionChange(ByVal Target As Excel.Range)
    Me.Shapes("TitleTextBox").Left = ActiveWindow.VisibleRange.Left
End Sub

This macro, because it is part of the worksheet code, will run every time the selection is changed in the worksheet. Thus, when you use the arrow keys to move left or right, use the tab keys, or select a cell with the mouse, the macro will run and make sure that the left edges of the text box and the visible area always match up.

When this macro won't kick in is when you scroll left and right by using the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the screen. There is no "scroll event" that is triggered automatically when the scroll bars are used. Until a selection is made somewhere within the new visible range, thereby triggering the SelectionChange event, the textbox location will not be moved.

The only workaround to this limitation is to use Visual Basic's timer capabilities to update the textbox periodically. The following code does it every second, but you can adjust it to run less often, if desired. This code gets added to a regular VBA module:

Sub UpdateTB()
    If ActiveSheet.Name = "Sheet1" Then
        ActiveSheet.Shapes("TitleTextBox").Left = _
          ActiveWindow.VisibleRange.Left
    End If
    Application.OnTime Now + TimeSerial(0, 0, 1), "UpdateTB"
End Sub

And this gets added to the workbook object to start the timer when the workbook is first opened:

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
    UpdateTB
End Sub

If you use the timer-based approach to positioning the text box, you won't need to use the one that is tied to the SelectionChange event. The timer version simply adjusts the title after every interval.

There is an additional "downside" to either macro-based technique besides any sluggishness introduced by the code running: every time the code runs it clears the "undo stack." This means that you won't be able to "undo" changes that you make to the workbook if you need to.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3140) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Floating Information in a Frozen Row.

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