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.

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:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 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-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.

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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