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)

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. ...

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