Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 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 Overtype Mode.

Using Overtype Mode

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 19, 2021)

Overtype mode is an editing mode in which everything you type replaces something else in your document. When overtype mode is active and you type a letter, it replaces the letter to the right of the insertion point. When overtype mode is not active, your text is inserted where the insertion point is located.

The primary way to tell if overtype mode is active is by the effect that typing has in your document (as described in the previous paragraph). If you use overtype mode a lot, you may want to implement an even easier way of telling whether it is active or not—by adding an indicator to the status bar. All you need to do is right-click the status bar and then click the Overtype option so there is a check mark next to it. The indicator then appears on the status bar, and you can easily tell if overtype mode is in effect.

There are three ways to turn on overtype mode. The first is to use the Ins key, but this depends on whether you have Word configured to use the insert key in that manner. The second method is to click on the overtype indicator on the status bar. This assumes, of course, that you've enabled the indicator, as described in the previous paragraph.

The third method to turn on overtype mode is to 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 of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Click on the Use Overtype Mode check box.
  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 (9479) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Overtype Mode.

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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