Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Deletions Don't Work as Expected.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 15, 2017)
Somehow Greg pushed the wrong key and changed the way Word deletes words. Normally, he selects a word or phrase and just starts typing a replacement. Or, he selects a word or phrase, hits Backspace, and the selected word of phrase disappears. Now they don't disappear. Greg wonders how he can get back to the way deletions used to work.
The most likely cause of the problem is that you've somehow changed how Word handles what you type when a selection exists. Here's how to get things back to the way they were:
Figure 1. The advanced options in the Word Options dialog box.
There is no single-key shortcut that we know of that will change this setting, so it is unlikely that Greg "somehow pushed the wrong key" to change the behavior of Word. If the change wasn't made in the Word Options dialog box explicitly, then the only other explanation is that someone else made the change while using Greg's machine or there is a macro or add-on that modifies the setting.
It is also possible (but not probable) that Track Changes is enabled on the system and that its configuration has been modified so that deletions aren't "marked" on the screen and insertions don't have a change mark displayed. This would stop deletions from appearing deleted and still allow insertions to appear. If the configuration changes weren't made, then it would be easy to tell that Track Changes was turned on; with the configuration changes, it would be easy to assume that something is messed up in how Word handles edits. You can check if this is the case by simply checking to see if Track Changes (on the Review tab of the ribbon) is enabled.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9294) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Deletions Don't Work as Expected.
The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!
Need to swap two adjacent paragraphs? Your editing arsenal can include a command to do this is you use the macro in this tip.Discover More
Want to add a finishing touch to your printed document? Hyphenating the words in the document can make your text read ...Discover More
Navigating quickly and easily around a document becomes critical as the document becomes larger and larger. This tip ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.