Why Doesn’t My Insert Key Work?

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.

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.

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.