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: Deletions Don't Work as Expected.

Deletions Don't Work as Expected

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 28, 2020)

1

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:

  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. Make sure the Typing Replaces Selected Text option is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

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-in 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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Deletions Don't Work as Expected.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Inserting a Cross-Reference to the Last Style on a Page

It is often helpful to reference a specific heading in the header or footer of a page, and have that reference change on ...

Discover More

Undesired Font in Form Fields

If you get unwanted formatting in your form fields, it could be because of the way you are formatting the line on which ...

Discover More

Controlling the Format of Cross-References

When you use fields to add cross-references to tables or figures, Word normally takes care of formatting the words used ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Controlling Overtype Mode

Some people like to have Word replace previous information as they type; this is called 'overtype mode.' You can control ...

Discover More

Moving Breaks Quickly

Breaks in a document can be easily moved from one place to another using familiar editing techniques. The trick is to ...

Discover More

Permanently Turning Off the Tracking of Formatting Changes

The Track Changes tool can be a great asset when you are working on a document with others. It can also be a hassle if ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 2?

2020-03-28 06:02:23

JillG

My current Notebook is HP Spectre. On this I cannot replace selected text by typing ) though "Typing replaces selected text" is checked. My suspicion is that it is because of the computer. It is so sensitive that it constantly selects stuff I had no wish to select. I am wondering if when I have selected text I wish to replace my first key stroke is taken as cancelling the selection, as it is registered as a letter.


This Site

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.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.