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Controlling Overtype Mode

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Controlling Overtype Mode.

Word has two different editing modes you can use—insert mode and overtype mode. When insert mode (the default) is active, the information you type is inserted at (where else?) the insertion point. When overtype mode is active, information isn't inserted, but replaces whatever is to the right of the insertion point.

You can tell if overtype mode is active by looking at the status bar. If it is, you will see the letters OVR there in bold black type. If insert mode is active, then the OVR letters still appear, but they are gray and not as visible.

One way to switch between insert mode and overtype mode is to double-click on the OVR letters on the status bar. Overtype mode becomes active, the OVR letters become bold, and you can proceed to make any edits you desire. If you double-click on OVR again, then insert mode is active and you can continue to edit away.

If the status bar is not visible in your configuration of Word, then you can turn overtype mode off (and on) by following these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Edit tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Edit tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Click on the Overtype Mode check box. If it is clear, then overtype mode is turned off and insert mode is active.
  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 (1423) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Controlling Overtype Mode.

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Comments for this tip:

Jim    12 Oct 2016, 13:02
I appreciate the tip for turning "Overwrite" off in word, however, I don't use Outlook for e-mail, but the e-mail service within Comcast. OVR doesn't appear at the bottom of the screen and mail doesn't use Word. Is there a keyboard button for turning Overwrite on and off?
Allen    08 Jan 2016, 13:18
Loretta: What version of Word are you using? Note the notice at the beginning of the tip.

Loretta Land    08 Jan 2016, 12:38
Where i.
n the world is the Tools Menu?
Marcie    07 Nov 2015, 11:53
Finally help for overtype!!! Thank you so much!
Juli    17 Jun 2014, 19:16
Thanks! You fixed my overtype mode which was rather annoying. All good now!
Rick    28 Apr 2014, 11:26
But did they get rid of this status in Word 2013?

cecilia e. thurlow    04 Mar 2014, 08:50
Thanks, Craig, for the tip.
Craig Hartmann    03 Mar 2014, 23:45

Pressing the "INS" key (Insert) above the numeric keypad toggles Overtype/Insert mode.
cecilia e. thurlow    01 Mar 2014, 09:59
I uncheck overtype mode and it still pops up at times when I do not check it. Very annoying. How do I fix this?

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