How To Enable Insert Key In Microsoft Word 2007, 2010 and 2013

If you are used to using Microsoft Word 2003 or earlier, you should have used the Insert key in order to replace the characters while typing. This is also called Overtype mode. Things have changed in Word 2007 and onwards including Word 2010 and Word 2013.

Microsoft Word versions previous to Word 2010 and Word 2010 and even Windows WordPad had an option to overwrite the text if we preseds the Insert key before typing anything. Things have changed in Microsoft Word 2007 and onwards. Now there is an Insert Mode which works in the same way as pressing insert key in the previous versions. But the problem is that it must be enabled before it can be used in Microsoft Word 2007 or Word 2010. Otherwise Insert will have no function by default.

Microsoft Word 2013 starting

There are two ways by which we can enable the overtype mode in Word 2013, Word 2010 or Word 2010.

1- Using Word Options

To enable this feature in Microsoft Word 2007, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open Microsoft Word 2007 and click on the File Menu Globe on the top left corner of the Microsoft Word window.
  2. Go to Word Options.
  3. Word 2013 options
  4. In Word Options, go to Advanced and check the following checkbox:
    ”Use the insert key to control overtype mode”
    Overtype mode to enable the insert key

This will enable the Insert Mode in Microsoft Word 2007 and same is the case with Microsoft Word 2010 and Word 2013. I have updated the screenshot with the latest Word 2013 options. The only difference between the different versions of Word is of the graphical user interface. You have to go to Options –> Advanced –> Editing options and check “Use overtype mode” or just press the Alt + V shortcut key once you are in the Advanced options.

2- Using the status bar

There is also a quicker way to enable Overtype mode of the insert and replace mode in Microsoft Word. If you have opened a document in Word, just right click the status bar at the bottom of Word window and make sure the Overtype is checked.

Enable overtype through status bar

The screenshot is from Word 2013 but the same applies for Word 2010 and Word 2007. If you know of any other shortcut to enable the overtype mode or the insert key, please let us know through comments.

13 thoughts on “How To Enable Insert Key In Microsoft Word 2007, 2010 and 2013

  1. I turned on the Insert key in Advanced Options (Word 2010), but it still doesn’t work for documents already created, only for new ones. What is going on?

  2. As Peter indicated above: “You can…alter the mode by clicking the icon…”

    To enable the icon in Word 2007 or 2010, “…right click on the status bar [at the bottom of the screen] and select Overtype, this will place the Insert/Overtype indicator on the left side of the status bar.”

    Thank you Peter, this just helped me.

  3. Aw man, actually, it’s not working for me. I have a keyboard where I have to press ‘function’ before ‘insert’, I wonder if that is the problem. Does anyone know how to select ‘insert’ from MS office 2010 (I mean, make the ‘insert’ key work without actually pressing the key if that makes sense?)

  4. For those who cannot see any visual indicator on the screen of which mode Word is in, (for 2007/10 only) right click on the status bar and select Overtype, this will place the Insert/Overtype indicator on the left side of the status bar. You can also alter the mode by clicking the icon but it is obviously much faster to use the keyboard.

  5. Christiaan van Hasselt · Edit

    Thanks indeed but how do you make visible in Word 2010 that you are using (have pressed) the insert function (button)? In Word 2003 (I skipped 2007) one could see/read OVR or something similar below.

  6. Am I missing the indicator on screen that shows when the overwrite mode is on. Do I need to be in a particular view? In the documents I frequently type it is necessary to go back and forth with using the overwrite feature. As it is not always obvious (the blank line I’m overwriting sometimes moves ahead even though the feature is on) it is nice to have the indicator.

  7. I should add that notepad and Wordpad also lack the ability to switch to overwrite / overtype mode. At least in Windows 7. In addition, the new version of Word may allow you to use overwrite mode, but there is no indicator on the screen which mode you are in.

  8. Hi I did this before and it was a great help. Now it has suddenly stopped working again and when I follow your instructions, I am unable to click on ‘advanced’ in options. It is faded and I can’t click on it. Maybe I am in some protected mode that I didn’t realise I went into??? Please help!

  9. Thanks for that…why remove that feature by default? It’s not as if it was taking up valuable memory…yet another setting I have had to fix in Office 2010, it’s becoming annoying!

  10. Thanks a lot. I don’t know why i never looked this up when i had word 2007! it’s only when i upgraded to 2010, i got fed up of the lack of functionality and decided to look it up. Thanks a lot!

  11. Interesting. Although I, for one, am glad they’ve disabled the functionality by default after many incidental type-overs I’m glad you’ve published the information so I know how to fix it if one of my users prefers it the other way.


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