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: Using Overtype Mode.

Using Overtype Mode

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 12, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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.

You can tell when overtype mode is active in two ways. First, by the effect it has on your document (described in the previous paragraph). Second, the status bar will have an indicator that says OVR. There are three ways to turn on overtype mode. The first is to use the Ins key, but this depends on the function you have assigned to that key. The second method is to double-click on the OVR letters in the status bar. The third method is to follow these steps:

  1. Select Options from the Tools menu. You will see 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.
  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 (950) 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: 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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