Messed-up Typing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 3, 2017)


If you are a new Word user, you may have noticed that there are many ways you can mess up your document using Word. This comment isn't meant to be flippant or disparaging. The truth of the matter is that Word provides quite a bit of editing power. Along with that power goes the ability to mess up a document if the powerful tools are not used correctly.

A very simple example may be in order. Let's say you are typing along, and you look at your document. You notice that some text you previously entered is gone, and each character you type seems to also delete a character. What is going on?

If this happens to you, stop for just a moment. Take a look at the status bar at the bottom of the Word document window. If you see the letters OVR in bold type on the status bar, the problem is that you have inadvertently hit the Insert key as you were typing. When you do, Word enters a special editing mode known as "overtype mode" (that's what the OVR characters stand for). While in overtype mode, everything you type replaces something else in your document. For instance, when 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.

To undo your messed-up document, first turn off overtype mode by pressing the Insert key again. (The OVR characters on the status bar should no longer be bold.) Then, press Ctrl+Z to undo your last edit. You can continue to press Ctrl+Z until all the characters you inadvertently overtyped are again within your document. Now you can go ahead and continue typing without overtyping your original text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (537) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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What is five less than 8?

2014-05-23 16:14:47


Thank you so much for this tip... I can't tell you how many times this has happened and I had no idea what was going on. many many thanks!!!

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