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Deletions Don't Work as Expected

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: Deletions Don't Work as Expected.

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. 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. Make sure the Typing Replaces Selection 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 Edit tab of the 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 toolbar) 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 (9292) 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: Deletions Don't Work as Expected.

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