Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Using the Insert Key to Insert Text.

Using the Insert Key to Insert Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 23, 2022)

When you first install Word, the Insert key is used to turn overtype mode on and off. To some people this is very awkward, particularly if they are used to working with other word processors that use the Insert key differently. In some word processors the Delete key is used to delete text, and the Insert key is used to place the text at the current cursor position.

Word can work in this way, as well. You can set the Insert key to function the same as the Ctrl+V key combination—it will insert the contents of the Clipboard. To control the way the Insert key works, use the following steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down until you see the Cut, Copy, and Paste section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Use the Insert Key for Paste check box is selected.
  6. Click OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7122) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using the Insert Key to Insert Text.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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