When I Type, It Replaces (and Forward-Deletes) My Existing Text! (4/25/2014) (2023)

Microsoft Word: When I Type, It Replaces (and Forward-Deletes) My Existing Text!

The problem
Has this ever happened to you? You're editing a document in Microsoft Word, and all of a sudden, instead of inserting the new text you're typing, with every keystroke you're deleting and replacing your existing text! Here's how it might look:

Imagine your Word document contains the following sentence:
This is my |interesting text.

You then place your text cursor (the vertical blinking line or "insertion point") right before the word "interesting" and type "wonderful" Your intention is to insert this word. Normally, you'd get this:
This is my wonderful|interesting text.

However, in this crazy-making situation, you get this instead:
This is my wonderful|ng text.

The 9-character word "wonderful" has replaced the first 9 characters of "interesting," leaving you with "wonderfulng" which is probably not what you wanted.

The explanation: Insert mode (good) vs. Overtype mode (bad)
If you are experiencing this odd behavior in Microsoft Word, this means that you have accidentally switched from "Insert mode" (the default) to "Overtype mode." Word's help system describes Overtype as a mode where you "replace existing characters as you type."

Overtyping (also known as overstrike or typeover) made sense decades ago when all text was monospaced, i.e., every character you typed had the same width. For example, you could construct a crude table using spaces to perfectly line up the columns, and later you might use Overtype mode to "type over" parts of that table to update it without inserting or shifting any text to the right.

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Modern computers and word processors typically use proportional-spaced fonts, where narrow letters use less space than wider ones. Here's the difference:

Monospaced font Courier, different letters all have the same width:

Proportional-spaced font Verdana, different letters have different widths
(However, even in proportional-spaced fonts, the digit characters 0-9 are usually monospaced so that tables of figures line up properly.)

Here are ways you can turn off Overtype mode:

Quick fix #1 in Microsoft Word for Windows (any version): Tap the "insert" key on the keyboard

How it can happen: If you have a full-size Windows keyboard, tapping the "Insert" key once toggles between Insert mode and Overtype mode.

How to fix it: If you find yourself in Overtype mode, just tap the Insert key on your keyboard once more, and you'll probably be back in Insert mode. Type a few characters at the start of an existing paragraph to be sure.

If you have a Windows laptop and you can't find an "insert" key, look for the "INS" key. Depending on your keyboard, you may also have to hold down a "modifier" key (like "FN" or "Mode") first.

Quick fix #2 in Microsoft Word (Windows or Macintosh, any version): Close and reopen
First, you may want to use the Undo command (if available) to restore your text to what it was before you started overtyping. You'll probably have to invoke the Undo command multiple times, once for each keystroke.

Then, close all Word documents (saving your changes as appropriate), close the Word program itself, then reopen your document. (If you're not sure whether you've closed Word, you could certainly Restart your computer.) That will get you out of Overtype mode and back to Insert mode.

Quick fix #3 in Microsoft Word for Windows (any version): Turn off the "Overtype mode" option

To turn Overtype mode off, you open Word's Options, look for "Edit" or "Advanced Editing" (the details will depend on which version of Word you have), and then uncheck the "Overtype mode" option.

Quick fix #4 in Microsoft Word 2004 for Macintosh: Click "OVR" in the Status Bar

How it can happen: If you have Microsoft Word's "Status Bar" turned on at the bottom of your document window (it's an option under View), you might have accidentally single-clicked on the "OVR" button, which is another way to toggle between Insert mode and Overtype mode.

When Overtype mode is off (so text you type inserts), you'll see "OVR" in the Status bar preceded by a white circle.
When I Type, It Replaces (and Forward-Deletes) My Existing Text! (4/25/2014) (1)
When Overtype mode is on, you'll see "OVR" in the Status bar preceded by a green circle.
When I Type, It Replaces (and Forward-Deletes) My Existing Text! (4/25/2014) (2)

How to fix it: Click once on the "OVR" button in the Status bar, and when you see its little circle change from green to white, you'll be back in Insert mode. Type a few characters at the start of an existing paragraph to be sure.

Quick fix #5 in Microsoft Word for Macintosh (any version): Turn off "Overtype mode" in Preferences

To turn Overtype mode off, open Word's Preferences, look for "Edit" or "Advanced Editing" (the details will depend on which version of Word you have), and then uncheck the "Overtype mode" option.

Additional things you should know about Overtype mode
Here are some subtle things about Overtype mode:

  • When Overtype mode becomes active in one open Word document window, it immediately becomes active in every other open Word window as well. Similarly, turning Overtype mode off in any open Word window will also turn it off in all open Word windows.
  • Closing and reopening will only turn Overtype mode off if you close the program (and thus every open Word window) before reopening.
  • Overtyping does not replace text beyond the end of a paragraph, and does not remove paragraph breaks or section breaks, so your potential "damage" is limited. However, it does remove line breaks, page breaks, and column breaks.
  • If Overtype mode was active when you saved changes to your document, that fact is not stored in the document. So, if Overtype mode is turned off in a later editing session, reopening that document will not turn it back on.
  • Copy and Paste always inserts text, even if Overtype mode is on. AutoText always inserts as well.
Preventing Overtype mode on Windows
If you have a Windows computer, here are the simplest ways I've found to avoid accidentally tapping the "Insert" key and ending up in Overtype mode:

Method #1: Take a screwdriver and gently pry the "Insert" key off your keyboard; on a Windows laptop look for the "INS" key. However, only do this if that key has no other function, or if it has another function and you don't need it. (Don't throw that key away! Instead, attach it to the side of your keyboard with scotch tape in case you need it again in the future. If you have a laptop, make sure you can still close the lid without damaging your screen.)

Method #2: Customize Word to remove the "Insert" key as the shortcut for Overtype mode:

  • Open Word's Customize Keyboard dialog (the details will depend on which version of Word you have).
  • On the left under "Categories," scroll down and click "All Commands."
  • On the right, under "Commands," scroll down and click "Overtype."
  • Under "Current keys," click to select "Insert," then click "Remove."
  • Click "Close" to save your changes.
This should disable the "Insert" key.

Where to go from here

  • Find your version of Word (common versions on Windows are 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013; on Macintosh are 2004, 2008, and 2011), then google this (replace "20xx" with your version): Word 20xx turn off overtype mode
  • Save your important documents as you work and make backup copies of them. You never know when something might go wrong, like Overtype mode.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insert_key - More about the Insert key

How to contact me:
email: martin@kadansky.com
phone: (617) 484-6657
web: http://www.kadansky.com

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Copyright (C) 2014 Kadansky Consulting, Inc. All rights reserved.

I love helping people learn how to use their computers better! Like a "computer driving instructor," I work 1-on-1 with small business owners and individuals to help them find a more productive and successful relationship with their computers and other high-tech gadgets.


How do you stop my words from deleting when I type? ›

Simply tap the Insert button on the keyboard and this will make sure that each letter is inserted into the text rather than overtyping it. The problem was caused by you accidentally tapping the Insert key in the first place.

How do I stop forward deleting when typing? ›

Turn off overtype mode:
  1. Click File > Options.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Under Editing options, clear both the Use the Insert key to control overtype mode and the Use overtype mode check boxes.

Why is my text deleting itself? ›

Make Sure "Delete Old Messages" is Off

You can disable the option and avoid getting your messages deleted as follows: Open your Messages app and head into the Settings menu. Turn the toggle for Delete old messages to the off position.

How do you Insert text without deleting word? ›

Turn on Overtype mode

In the Word Options dialog box, choose Advanced. Under Editing options, do one of the following: To use Insert key to control Overtype mode, select the Use Insert key to control overtype check box. To keep Overtype mode enabled always, select the Use overtype mode check box.

What is overtype mode? ›

A data entry mode that writes over existing characters on screen when new characters are typed in.

How do I turn off overtype mode without Insert key? ›

How to Turn off Overtype in Microsoft Office?
  1. Open Word.
  2. Go to File > Word Option > Advanced.
  3. Uncheck the Use the Insert key to control overtype mode option under the Editing options.
  4. Close Word.
Nov 25, 2020

What key pressed to erase typing? ›

Press the 'backspace' button to delete your word.

How do I turn off insert mode? ›

In the Excel Options window, click on Advanced. Scroll down to the Editing options section and find the option for Use insert mode. By default, this option is turned on. To turn it off, simply uncheck the box next to it.

What is insert mode and overtype mode? ›

When the Update Processor is first entered, it is in overtype mode. This means any characters typed overwrite the characters on the screen. Insert mode is used to insert new text just in front of the text beginning at the cursor.

What is text deletion? ›

Delete individual text messages

Touch and hold the message you want to delete. Optional: To delete multiple messages, touch and hold the first message, then tap more messages. In the top right, tap Delete . Tap Delete to confirm.

How to recover deleted texts? ›

Tap the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner and open the Recycle bin. Check your deleted text messages. Long tap the message you want to retrieve. Select Restore at the bottom and check the same in your primary inbox.

How do I turn on auto delete text messages? ›

Go to Settings > Storage. Tick "Delete old messages" and in the drop down menu below, set the limit on the number of messages each conversation can have.

How do I find hidden text boxes in Word? ›

Click File > Options > Display, and then under Always show these formatting marks on the screen, select the Hidden text check box. Click File > Options > Advanced, and then under Show document content, select the Show drawings and text boxes on screen check box.

How do I insert text without formatting? ›

Sometimes you just want to paste as plain text. Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox all support Ctrl + Shift + V as a keyboard shortcut for “paste as plain text.” This means that Ctrl + Shift + V also works in browser-based apps, like Teams.

What will happen if you type text in the overtype mode? ›

Overtype mode is an editing mode in which everything you type replaces something else in your document. When overtype mode is active and you type a letter, it replaces the letter to the right of the insertion point.

Which mode overwrites existing text with any new text that is type? ›

By accidentally pressing the Insert button on your keyboard, you could turn on the overtype mode. In this case, any attempt to type anything between the already typed letters will result in overwriting the next characters as you type new ones.

What is the difference between Insert and overtype? ›

overtype mode, in which the cursor, when typing, overwrites any text that is present in the current location; and. insert mode, where the cursor inserts a character at its current position, forcing all characters past it one position further.

How do I turn on the Insert key on my keyboard? ›

Ins is short for Insert, which means you can use the zero key on the Numpad as the alternative to the Insert key. And you just need to turn off the Num Lock. Then you can press the zero key and it should function as the Insert key.

Where is my Insert key? ›

The Insert key, which is occasionally written as Ins, is located next to or right next to the Backspace key on most computer keyboards. The Insert key changes how letters, numbers, characters, and other text are inserted.

How do I turn off overtype in notepad? ›

Press the " Ins " (insert) on your keyboard, that should change to add again instead of overwrite .

What two keys are used to erase text? ›

Backspace and Delete

The Backspace key erases the text to the left of the insertion point one character at a time. The Delete key erases the text to the right of the insertion point.

What does Ctrl Alt Delete do on a keyboard? ›

On a personal computer with the Microsoft Windows operating system, Control+Alt+Delete is the combination of the Ctrl key, the Alt key and Del key that a user can press at the same time to terminate an application task or to reboot the operating system.

What are two keyboard keys used to erase text in word document? ›

To delete text in Word while typing, use the “Backspace” and “Delete” keys on your keyboard to remove text while typing. On most PCs, using the “Backspace” key deletes text to the left of the insertion marker.

How do you turn on the overtype mode press the Insert key from the keyboard True or false? ›

The Insert key can be used to turn on overtype mode is a true statement. Explanation: We have to press the insert key to turn on or off the overtype mode.

What is insert mode Command? ›

Insert Mode is a mode within the Editor that allows any number of new lines to be inserted in an item. Insert Mode is invoked when you type the I command without any text, and is exited by pressing ENTER on an empty line. Insert Mode is like a processor within the Editor processor.

What is the function key insert mode? ›

The insert key, also known as "Ins" key, is a keyboard key found on most computer keyboards. This key is used to toggle between two functions - typing mode and overwrite mode.

How do you insert text without overwriting? ›

To stop overwriting the next character whenever you type a letter, press the "Insert" key on your keyboard. The Insert key is located to the left of the Home key on most keyboards. You are not warned in any way when you enable or disable the overtype mode.

Why overwrite mode is used? ›

One of two typing settings on a keyboard, overwrite mode allows new input to replace existing characters. The Insert key is used to toggle this mode, enabling or disabling it.

When a text is deleted is it gone? ›

When you delete a piece of data from your device — a photo, video, text or document — it doesn't vanish. Instead, your device labels that space as available to be overwritten by new information.

Do deleted texts go somewhere? ›

The Android operating system stores text messages in the phone's memory, so if they're deleted, there's no way to retrieve them. You can, however, install a text message backup application from the Android market that allows you to restore any deleted text messages.

Can you recover texts from years ago? ›

Restore Texts from a Computer Backup

Check when the last backup was made on the computer. If the date of the backup is before you accidentally deleted the texts, you can restore that backup to your phone, and the text messages will be restored as well.

Where is my phone's recycle bin? ›

Is There A Recycle Bin/Trash on Android? No – unlike a Windows or Mac system, there is no Recycle Bin or Trash folder in an Android device.

Is there a way to recover deleted Imessages? ›

Recover deleted text messages on your iPhone or iPad
  1. In Messages, tap Edit on the conversations page. If you previously turned Message Filtering on, the Edit button doesn't appear. Instead, tap Filters on the conversations page.
  2. Tap Show Recently Deleted .
Jan 12, 2023

Why does iMessage delete old messages? ›

There are several reasons may lead to iMessages lost, like iMessage saving settings, insufficient memory and so on. You might need to rule out those possible causes and see if you can recover those lose messages.

Why is my iPhone erasing messages? ›

Why are my messages disappearing on iPhone? One possible reason is that you set your iPhone to keep the messages for only 30 days or 1 year. In addition, iOS updates may also delete some types of data on the device including text messages. Sometimes, you may also delete your message by mistake but you don't know it.

Is there an app that auto deletes text messages? ›


The app allows users to send short text messages automatically deleted once the recipient reads. Apart from that, Snapchat offers users many other useful features, such as creating a public profile, Snap streak, and more.

Can you delete a text before someone sees it? ›

The recipient can read your message before you unsend it. If you unsend a message, it will disappear from the recipient's screen, but they'll be notified that you unsent it.

Can you hide text box? ›

PowerPoint and Excel

Right-click the text box that you want to make invisible. If you want to change multiple text boxes, click the first text box or shape, and then press and hold SHIFT while you click the other text boxes. On the shortcut menu, click Format Shape. On the Fill tab, select No Fill.

Is it true that when you delete all the text in a text box the object remains on the slide? ›

PPT Productivity's Delete Text or replace feature lets you delete the text in all selected text boxes or shapes or replace it. When the delete option is selected, PowerPoint shapes remain on the slide and will retain their original appearance, but without any text.

What is the ghost text in Word? ›

The correct answer is Watermark. It is a faded image or text, that sits across the contents of a document.

How can hidden text be found? ›

Select Private mode or click on the option from the notification panel. Step 2: Turn on the private mode & Enter your security pin. View your hidden texts in the private folder or browse the gallery for other content. Step 3: You can move to any folder other than the private folder.

Can plain text be formatted? ›

A plain text file has no formatting options. You cannot change the font, font sizes, font styles, paragraph styles, and more. Sometimes a plain text document is also referred to as an ASCII file, where it is simply a set of encoded characters. A reader can easily read aloud all the characters of a text file.

What are formatting options for text? ›

Bold, italics, and underline are common text-formatting features. The “Bold” feature thickens the text's individual characters, like this. The italics feature tilts the characters of text slightly to the right, like this. The underline feature inserts a line under the text, like this.

How do I stop notepad from overwriting text? ›

You can enable and disable overtyping (that is, instead of inserting characters at the cursor, you replace them) by pressing insert, or clicking on the rightmost section of the statusbar, which will indicate the current mode: INS for inserting characters, OVR for overwriting them (overtype).

How do I turn off overtype in Excel? ›

If you want to turn off Overtype mode, simply uncheck the "Use overtype mode" box in the Keyboard options section of the Control Panel. Excel is a powerful tool that can help you organize, analyze, and visualize data. One of the lesser-known features of Excel is Overtype mode.

Why is my mouse deleting everything? ›

Take it easy, you're not alone. It has been reported by many users on Windows 10. Incomplete installation of programs, problematic Windows OS, outdated mouse driver, virus attacks, and false registry change on your system are the main reasons for this to occur.

What is the difference between insert and overtype mode? ›

When the Update Processor is first entered, it is in overtype mode. This means any characters typed overwrite the characters on the screen. Insert mode is used to insert new text just in front of the text beginning at the cursor.

How do I turn on insert mode on my keyboard? ›

Insert mode is a mechanism that allows users to insert text without overwriting other text. This mode, if it's supported, is entered and exited by pressing the Insert key on a keyboard. In Microsoft Word, this mode is called overtype mode.

How do I set insert mode? ›

To enter Insert mode, press i . In Insert mode, you can enter text, use the Enter key to go to a new line, use the arrow keys to navigate text, and use vi as a free-form text editor. To return to Command mode, press the Esc key once. [ Get more out of your text editor: 5 Vim features for power users. ]

Does Notepad remove all formatting? ›

Notepad (Windows)

If you don't already use Notepad, don't worry, you will find it by pressing the Windows key or going to the Start menu and searching for it. It is a very basic text editor. This means if you copy and paste text from a website or from Word into it, it will automatically strip out all the formatting.

Why is Notepad overwriting? ›

Sounds like you've pressed the insert key on your keyboard accidentally and switched to overwrite mode. Check the bottom right corner of the screen - does it say INS (insert mode) or OVR (overwrite mode)? Try pressing the insert key again to see if it fixes the problem.

How do you change to overwrite in Notepad? ›

Type the “Insert” key to change from insert mode (INS) to overwrite mode (OVR).

What does overwrite mean in Excel? ›

Overwrite text simply means that the new characters you type replaces existing characters. Overwrite files. You can also overwrite data by replacing old files with new ones. If you are saving a document with the same filename as an already existing document, then the old document will be overwritten by the new one.

How do I change the font back to normal in Excel? ›

On the Excel menu, click Preferences. Under Authoring, click General. In the Default font and Font size boxes, select a new font and font size. Click OK.

How do I fix auto delete files? ›

Step 1: In the “Settings,” go to “System” and look for the “storage” option. Step 2: The “Storage Sense” option is “On” by default. Turn it off so that Windows 10 doesn't delete any of the files from recycle bin or downloads folder automatically.

What is a virus that automatically delete files? ›

Is Autorun a virus? Autorun.in is a virus that is usually spread through infected external devices like USB drives. Once an infected USB disk is introduced to your system, the virus can destroy your computer, self-executing files, destroying important documents, and replicating itself so that it is hard to remove.

How do I stop Windows 10 from automatically deleting files? ›

How to Prevent Windows 10 from Automatically Deleting Files
  1. Open the "Settings" app. Click the "System" category and then click "Storage".
  2. Move the "Storage Sense" switch to the off position to turn off the feature. When the feature is turned off, it will not automatically delete files to free up disk space.
Feb 22, 2023


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