Word: Disable the Insert Key to Permanently Turn Off Overtype Mode

For some, the Insert key can be a nuisance, especially if you often find yourself inadvertently hitting it. Here is how to turn it off it in Word so that you will never accidently go into overtype mode again.

Since the days of the old word processors, typing at the cursor should insert text, not type over it. Yet, this is a common occurrence for many. You are typing along at a rapid pace only to realize that you have hit the insert key and turned on overtype. Now, half of your paragraph is typed over.

Typically, one turns on and turns off overtype mode by pressing the Insert key. If you want to avoid missteps involving the Insert key for good, use the following steps to disable it:

    1. Start Word.
    2. Click on the Tools menu.
    3. Click Customize.
    4. Click the Options tab.
    5. Click Keyboard.
    6. Under the Catgories dropdown box, select All Commands.
    7. Under the Commands dropdown box, select Overtype.
    8. Under the Current keys downdown box, select Insert.
    9. Click Remove.
    10. Click Close until the dialog windows close.

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • You are not alone! I also hate the overtype mode! What makes it even more frustrating is that if you go to Options (in Word) to turn it off, somehow later, it magically turns itself back on. Grr.

    I am about to follow your steps to disable the bugger. Thanks 🙂

  • EMAD



  • Andrea

    OMG, you are my hero!!!! I hate that dumb key!

  • Angela

    I concur.
    Thank you. My laptop keyboard doesn’t have an insert key so I don’t even know how it turned it on and sure as h*ll couldn’t figure out how to turn it off.

  • Michael

    OMG! no insert!!!
    OMG OMG OMG!!! you saved my life!!!
    TY so much!!!!



  • Vaclav

    This is great, THANKS!

    I wish I could completely remove the key from my laptop keyboard, without leaving a gaping hole…

  • Jeanmarie

    This didn’t work and when I tried to repeat the steps, the word insert no longer appeared under the current keys section, so there was nothing to select. Now I’m permanently stuck in the insert mode with my wireless keyboard.

    • meri

      my laptop kyboaard is acting wierd.(i am tediously having to use an onscreen keyboard). it is typing numbers for certain keys eg.u=4 etc.
      i have never seen this b4. The insert key light is on and when i press it wont turn off.
      i think the engineer pressed a commbination of keys while he was testing it.

  • Anasemona

    turn off please

  • Yaara

    TERRIFIC!!!!! THANKS!!!!!!!

    You must know I am from the older generation….. and since that OVR/Insert key kept driving me crazy on my new keyboard, I thought something was technically wrong with it and that I would have to buy a new one…… 🙁 🙂

  • John Simply

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • nick h

    I have the new Word with the big yellow button and the headers that turn into horizontal toolbars instead of vertical drop bars, so your instructions won’t work with the current Word model but i DESPERATELY WANT TO TURN OFF OVERTYPE so please help!!!

  • Anonymous

    one step solution. rip the insert key off your keyboard. problem solved. the void left is a badge of honor.

  • Anonymous

    I have an old HP laptop (2002)
    A few years ago the internal keyboard started ‘machine gunning’ the Insert key.
    I tried many things including prying it off, and chucking it out.
    It did not fix the problem.
    about a year or two ago, I came up with a generic solution (for the whole windows session, not just Word).
    If anyone is interested, I will post the solution.
    Over the next few days, I will be working with that computer, as I am going to set it up for a neighbor, so that he can access the internet.
    Whilst I am doing that, I can remind myself, how I solved the Insert problem.

  • Anonymous

    I did this and I still can’t stop the OVERTYPE. Any other suggestions. It is
    happening in all my programs.

    • Anonymous

      still looking for more help to STOP OVERTYPE
      http://tinyurl.com/635d2x — DID NOT HELP AT ALL

    • Leahescoto

      You have to re-click the insert key first to undo the overtype….then disable it.

  • BB

    Thank you for this but I just tried and it didn’t work. Any other ideas?

  • 37201xoIM

    Superb – thank you so much for this exceptional useful little tip!!!

  • Mark

    Thank you, thank you, thank you — if this works, it’ll reduce major stress and add years to my life. Why wouldn’t I be grateful!



    • Anonymous

      That’s why we are here!

  • Francine

    Can anyone help me…

    I have followed the instructions above about how to turn off my overwrite or insert key. But when I get to the point where I have selected overtype.. there is noting in the dropdown box to remove….!

    I have no idea how I have even pressed it but now I cant get it off and it’s driving me up the wall…

    Please help if you can.

  • Almcompan

    Thank you. The insert Key is reaaly annoying.
    But I have some comments:
    1) The insert key is the key to change status between overwrite and insert mode, so BEFORE deleting the insert key from the list of Word commands, be sure that you are in the insert mode!
    1a) If you get stucked in the overwrite mode, go back (to the same place you went to remove) and add a key (I would use the insert key again) to change the status between insert and overwrite. Close the window. Change the status to the one you want to keep (the insert mode). Go back again and remove the insert key again.

  • Leonard Martinez

    Thanks, Mickey. I’ve always been a fan. Users should make sure they get out of overtype mode before they jump through the hoops of disabling the insert key. Otherwise, they’ll have to reinstate it to get out of overtype, and then go through the process again.

  • Janet

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! However, I agree with Leonard Martinez … before you do this, make sure you are out of overtype mode!

  • Jeffdc47

    Thank you very, very, very much.

  • Lilla83

    Thank you! A million! It never even occured to me I could turn off a key, although I always turn off like a zillion of Word commands and stuff each time I use a new comp. And I pack my old Normal.dot (and NEVER upgrade the W – it is getting systematically worse and worse…). Why use it? ‘Cause everyone asks for a “w.doc format”. A curse. Thanks again!

  • Rusty48

    Thanks, So far this really seems to be working and I have Open Office!

  • ro

    THANK YOU!!! DO not attempt changing the registry. This is safe!

  • Scott

    Dubbelclick the OVR button in your Word-file.

    Problem solved.

  • ralph kramden

    BRILLIANT! Now only if microsoft would give us the option of permanently disabling that infurating ALT+R initiation of the document-crippling ‘research pane’. Have looked everywhere but no solution. Thanks for this though.

  • happy

    Oh m’gosh thanks a million! Frigging insert key activates itself randomly when I haven’t gone near the frigging thing. Take that you turd of a thing!!

  • Ninbriel

    need help pls ..my letter “i” button turn to be insert button..everytime i press “i button”.. it goes back at the very beginning of the line..but when i press “fn+i” it types normal letter i.. thanks

  • Renata

    Oh Boy, I LOVE you!!!! I really do! Thank you sooooo very very much!!!!

  • Rumpelstiltzkin

    Whatta relief! Thanks a lot! Worked for me.

    I’m a translator, I type ~10 hrs/day and Insert key has always been driving me mad like a mad cow.

  • WaxingRhapsodic

    This works great! Just make sure that you hit “Insert” to turn it off before removing the shortcut key, as “Insert” is usually the shortcut key to turn it on. If you don’t turn it OFF first, you’ll be stuck in Overtype Mode until you reset, and click off “Insert.”

  • sky

    you’re a life-saver! thank you!!

  • Andre

    Oh, thank you VERY much! It solved my problem. I don’t know why, my Insert buttom couldn’t control the overtype mode, the box was unchecked, for some odd reason. But your post helped me fix it, showing the way to change it.
    THANK YOU! God bless you.

  • david King

    I have no idea how that did it but my Insert key presently doesn’t remove as I type as it did before – now to see if it continues to behave after a shutdown/re boot

  • John Murray

    t Overtype is driving me mad!
    1st do I have to have Microsoft office to be able to get into word?
    following any instruction via the web as yours above don (see the ‘t’ has just jumped to before the ertypeword Ov and again it has just jumped.
    I am using Window 7, Outlook Express11
    Please! I need help, pressing the insert key does not work either



    Overtype is driving me mad, I am having to type this all out again as when I hit full stop 90% of what I had typed vanished.
    I am using Windows7. Outlook Express, I can not use your method above because Word I not in the All programs list, do I need to have ‘Office’ downloaded to be able to get into word? All I can find is WordPad/notepad an those don’t work.
    I NEED HELP to get rid of this Overtype monster permanently. eve n as I type things now letters don’t come up or they are jumping to other words.


    Knd Regards (see the i did not type). try agin, now the a did not type.

    Kind Rga e did not type.

    Kind Regads r did not type.

    Kind Regards (finally)



  • Excellent! Keep writing. 😀

    • John Murray

      r replyThank you D for you (See it is happening as I type) that should read Thank you D for your reply. I don`t know whether I`ve some strange program or what but the steps you list does not seem to be on this laptop, I got to Start, no WORD I in all programs, I go into ACCESORIES and I can only find NOTEPAD or WORDPAD neither of which has TOOLS or CUSTOMIZE so there is no point trying anything else.
      I am running Windows 7 home premium. And I don`t think I hit the insert key, only when I have tried to get rid of this Monster and that does not fix it either. I need something else! maybe a brick!!
      Thanks anyway.

  • John Murray

    I already had that method and it does not work!
    Pressing the insert key does not work!
    I don’t seem to have ‘word’ I am running Windows 7 home premium if that’s any help.
    And this overtype thing is driving me mad.