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: Replacing Text Selections.

Replacing Text Selections

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 20, 2020)

By default, if you have selected some text and then press any key except a cursor control key, the selected text is replaced with what you type. This can be annoying, especially if this behavior does not match what you are familiar with in another word processor. To disable this aspect of Word, follow these 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. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Advanced options in the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Click on Typing Replaces Selected Text. (This should be the first option in the dialog box.) If the check box is selected, then what you type replaces what you have selected; if it is not selected then what you type is inserted before what you have selected.
  5. Click on 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 (8959) 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: Replacing Text Selections.

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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