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.

Controlling Overtype Mode

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 1, 2014)

9

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.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Using Custom Number Formats

Most formatting needs are met by using the predefined formatting options in Excel. The program also allows you to move beyond ...

Discover More

Concatenating Ranges of Cells

Putting the contents of two cells together is easy. Putting together the contents of lots of cells is more involved, as ...

Discover More

Limiting Document Page Count

Do you need to have your document fit within a certain number of pages? This can be close to impossible to do within Word; ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Understanding the No-Width Characters

Search through the Symbol dialog box, and you may see some special characters whose names seem odd. These are the no-width ...

Discover More

Specific Capitalization

How to get around Word's AutoCorrect feature for having uncapitalized words at the start of a sentence.

Discover More

Overcoming Automatic Word Selection

When you select text with the mouse, Word usually selects entire words for you. If you don't want to do this, you can use the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight minus 3?

2016-10-12 13:02:04

Jim

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?


2016-01-08 13:18:11

Allen

Loretta: What version of Word are you using? Note the notice at the beginning of the tip.

-Allen


2016-01-08 12:38:16

Loretta Land

Where i.
n the world is the Tools Menu?


2015-11-07 11:53:42

Marcie

Finally help for overtype!!! Thank you so much!


2014-06-17 19:16:10

Juli

Thanks! You fixed my overtype mode which was rather annoying. All good now!


2014-04-28 11:26:01

Rick

But did they get rid of this status in Word 2013?

Thanks
Rick


2014-03-04 08:50:48

cecilia e. thurlow

Thanks, Craig, for the tip.


2014-03-03 23:45:21

Craig Hartmann

Cecilia:

Pressing the "INS" key (Insert) above the numeric keypad toggles Overtype/Insert mode.


2014-03-01 09:59:10

cecilia e. thurlow

I uncheck overtype mode and it still pops up at times when I do not check it. Very annoying. How do I fix this?


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.