I use header rows in almost every spreadsheet that I create in Google Sheets.
Not only does it help me to make sure that I am putting the right data in the right column, but it also helps the people that are going to be reading that data later.
Our tutorial below will show you how to make a header row in Google Sheets and lock it to the top of the spreadsheet.
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How to Make a Google Sheets Header Row
- Open your Google Sheets file.
- Add a description to each cell in row 1.
- Select the View tab at the top of the page.
- Choose the Freeze option, then click 1 row.
Our article continues below with additional information on adding a header row to a Google Sheets spreadsheet, including pictures of these steps.
Creating a header row in Google Sheets makes it much simpler to identify the information contained within a column. You can also choose to keep that header row visible at the top of the spreadsheet as you scroll. Use these steps to make a header row in Google Sheets.
Spreadsheets can quickly become difficult to read as you add a lot of information. It becomes even more complicated when the information in your columns is very similar to other columns.
One way to simplify this is by creating a header row. By entering a description of the type of information that is contained within a column, it becomes easier to edit, and the information is easier to read.
Once you’ve added those descriptions, you can then choose to freeze that header row at the top of the sheet. This allows you to scroll further down in the spreadsheet while still keeping the header row visible.
Our guide below will show you how to create a header row in a Google Sheets spreadsheet.
The Microsoft alternative to Sheets, Excel, has many of the same features. For example, our guide on creating tables in Excel shows you how to turn a selection into a table in that application.
How to Create a Header Row in Google Sheets (Guide with Pictures)
The steps in this article were performed in the desktop version of the Google Chrome Web browser, but will also work in other desktop browsers like Firefox or Safari.
Step 1: Sign into Google Drive and open your spreadsheet or create a new one.
Step 2: Type a description for the first column into the A1 cell, then repeat for each additional column in the spreadsheet.
For example, in the image below I have three columns. The “First Name”, “Last Name”, and “Employee ID” text are all going to be the headers for the data that is contained in the rest of the cells in those columns.
Step 3: Select the View tab at the top of the window.
Step 4: Click Freeze, then choose the 1 row option.
Now when you scroll down in your spreadsheet the header row will stay frozen at the top of the spreadsheet so that you can easily add the correct information in each of your columns.
Since you know how to make a Google Sheets header row, you will be able to use this skill in the future to make your spreadsheets much easier to read and understand, which is something that your readers will really appreciate.
If your spreadsheet already has data in its cells, then you can insert a new row at the top by right-clicking on the row 1 label at the left side of the window and choosing the Insert 1 above option. This will slide all of your data down one row.
If you switch back and forth between Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel, then read our guide on adding columns in Excel to learn about a fast and easy method for totaling column values in a spreadsheet.
Frequently Asked Questions About Google Sheets Header Rows
How do I make the first row a header in Google Sheets?
Our article above discusses the steps that you need to follow if you want to make the first row of your spreadsheet into a header.
You must first place the headers for each of your columns into the cell in the first row, then you can select the View tab at the top of the window and elect to freeze the top row. This will ensure that the data in that first row remains visible as you scroll down through the rest of the spreadsheet.
How do I create a header in Google Sheets?
Creating a Google Sheets header is slightly different, as it is a separate entity from the header row.
While a header row in a spreadsheet identifies the type of data that is in a column, a “header” in a spreadsheet is going to contain information like page numbers, or perhaps an author name, a company logo, or a name for the spreadsheet.
You can create a header in Google Sheets by going to File > Print and then clicking the Headers & footers tab on the right side of the window.
There you will be able to select the type of data that you want to include in the header. You can also select the Edit Custom Fields option if you would like to include data in the header for which there isn’t a listed option.
How do I make a header row?
Creating a header row in your Google Sheets spreadsheet can be as simple as typing descriptive information into the top row of the spreadsheet.
While our article focuses specifically on freezing the top row so that it stays visible, as well as making it possible to print that row at the top of every page, simply placing a description in the first row is often sufficient for turning that row into a header row.
What is a header row in Google Sheets?
If you have heard the term “header row” and you aren’t familiar with it, then you may wonder what it is.
A header row is a row in a spreadsheet that includes a description of the data in the columns below it.
Usually, this header row is the first row in the spreadsheet.
By including a row at the top of the spreadsheet, which identifies the information in the cells below it, you can ensure that you are putting the right data in the right place, which can help to minimize mistakes.
It’s also beneficial to people who might be looking at your data, as they won’t need to try and figure out how you have organized everything.
You can also freeze the header row, which will lock it to the top of the sheet as you scroll down. This makes it much easier to add new data to the right location, as you won’t need to keep scrolling up to see the content in the header row since it’s always visible.
While much of this article has focused on adding a header row to your spreadsheet when it’s blank, you might be curious about what to do when you want to include a header row at the top of a spreadsheet that already contains data.
How to Insert a Row Above the First Row in Google Sheets
If you already have data in your spreadsheet, then there’s a good chance that there is already data in the first row.
At first it might seem like you are going to have a problem creating a Google Sheets header row in this situation, but there’s actually a short series of steps that you can use to place a blank row above the existing content.
Step 1: Open your Google Sheets file.
Step 2: Select the row 1 heading at the left side of the window.
Step 3: Right-click on the selected row number, then choose the Insert 1 row above option.
You should now have a blank row at the top of the sheet, which you can fill with your header row information.
You can then complete the steps above if you would like to lock that row to the top of the sheet while you are scrolling down.
More Information on How to Make a Header Row in Google Sheets
For many spreadsheets, it is very likely that you only want to freeze the first row.
The important part when you freeze rows in a spreadsheet is ensuring that they stay visible when you scroll so that you don’t place data into the wrong column.
But you may want to freeze more than one row if your spreadsheet structure requires multiple columns or if you are using more than one row to display important information. If so, you can choose to freeze rows up until the one that is currently selected in your spreadsheet.
To select a row, click the row number that appears on the left side of the window. You can use the same action to select an entire column by clicking that column letter at the top of the sheet.
The View menu at the top of the window contains not only the option to freeze rows but also hide or show gridlines, view formulas, or zoom in on your data.
While it doesn’t have the various viewing options that you would find in Microsoft Excel, many Excel users have found Google Sheets to be a fairly capable alternative to Microsoft’s paid spreadsheet application.
Using Google Sheets as a former Excel user can require a bit of a transition period.
While many of the features in the application are easy to find, certain things, especially printing and viewing options, may require a bit of experience before you become familiar with them.
If there’s something that you want to do which affects the way that your Google Sheet appears on the screen or when you print, then there is likely a way to apply that change.
Definitely familiarize yourself with the View menu, and the menu found at File > Print, as that is where most of those options are found.
Google Sheets Header Row Infographic
Video About Making Header Rows in Google Sheets
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Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.