Why Doesn’t My Insert Key Work?

by DanB

It’s frustrating. Something you have used for years stops working. It is not just that the process has changed. Sometimes it becomes more complicated. What am I talking about?

Today someone asked me how to fill in a form inside Microsoft Word 2007. This was not a document formatted as a form. The person who sent it had just put rows of __________ where the answers should go. As you expect typing on the lines caused the formatting to go all wacky. The solution is to press the “Insert” key on the keyboard and “Overtype” the underlines. Except my Insert key was not working.

A bit of quick research revealed that Microsoft decided to override the entire Insert/Overtype process. Why? Nobody knows. We just have to file that under unsolved mysteries.

Here is the way to replace the functionality of your “Insert/Overtype” in your copy of Microsoft Office 2007.

There are actually two changes you will want to make. First right-click on the status bar inside Word 2007. A menu will appear. Locate and click on the word Overtype. It looks like this:

Your status bar will show the word Insert or Overtype depending on which mode you are in. To change between the two all you need to do is click on the word Insert or Overtype. Word will toggle between the two modes each time you click.

Now you have an easy way to toggle Overtype mode but your Insert key still does not work. To enable your Insert key click the Office Button in the top left corner of Word. A menu will appear. Click the Word Options button at the bottom of this menu:

On the left side of the Word Options box chose Advanced. On the right side you should now find a check box labeled Use the Insert key to control overtype mode. Check that box then click OK.

Now the Insert key on your keyboard will toggle between Insert and Overtype.

A lot of work to replace some very basic functionality that has existed since the very earliest use of computers. Thank you very little Microsoft.

  • Mindbodyandspirit

    awesome! it workes perfectly. Thanks

  • PhilipWallace

    Fantastic, your post really helped. I wonder if it’s because Macs don’t have insert keys that Word is downgrading them. You make a very good point that the change doesn’t actually help anyone (whether you have an insert key or not) but I’m wondering if there’s a connection somehow. It’s very annoying, whatever the reason, because the insert key is incredibly useful for anyone who works with text. In certain situations, it can be much quicker to type over something than to a) highlight the bit you want to delete, b) delete it and c) type the new stuff.

    Anyway, you’ve saved the day, so hats off. It’s great when someone takes the trouble to solve a problem and then post the solution online, to benefit everyone else. For everyone who has commented here, another 100 have been helped but didn’t get round to leaving a message. All in all, a very useful post! Many thanks.

  • 123abc

    thx, you’ve helped me a lot!

  • AE Rice

    I turned on the Insert  key under the Advanced Options (Word 2010), but it does not work for documents already created, only for new documents. What is going on?

  • http://www.tnpcnews.com/ DanB

    Not sure but the Insert key setting may be saved with each document.

  • Guest

    Very helpful thanks

  • Trudy

    Thank you for posting this!!! Great instructions. I love my insert key and it has been driving me crazy!!

  • Cassidy Lakhan

    Fantastic! Thank you so much.

  • Bonnie Milani

    OMG, the Lord has a special place in Heaven reserved for you!

  • Adrianne

    Thank you for posting this!

  • Nate Werner

    This does not work, ALT+A is Save As in 2010

  • Rachel

    Thank you! That worked perfect!!

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