overtype mode-1.png

One of the things that can be really annoying for me is when I’m writing something only to realize later on that I had pressed the Insert key enabling the overtype mode. In many applications this will cause you to overwrite text whenever you move the cursor into the middle of a block of text and continue typing. So I thought it would be fitting to explain some different ways to disable this mode either specifically in Microsoft Word or globally across all of Windows.

Lets start with Microsoft Word. Following these few steps is all you need to do to disable the overtype mode in Word for Windows:

  1. Do one of the following, as appropriate for your version of Word:
    • In Word 2010, click the File tab, and then click Options.
    • In Word 2007, click the Office Button icon, and then click Word Options.
  2. In the Word Options dialog box, click Advanced.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To enable the INSERT key in order to control Overtype mode, click to select the Use the Insert key to control overtype mode check box.
    • To keep Overtype mode always enabled, click to select the Use overtype mode check box.
  4. Click OK.

On a Mac you can turn off Overtype mode in Microsoft Word as well:

  1. Open the Preferences.
  2. Click the Edit option.
  3. Uncheck the Overtype mode box.
  4. Close the Preferences.


Now what about if you want to disable the Insert key system-wide? That is easy as well, and there are various ways you can do this. You can use keyboard remappers to essentially render the key useless, make a modification to the registry, or use my personal favorite method… a tiny little app called CapsUnlock.

CapsUnlock runs in the System Tray (as pictured to the right) and lets you choose whether you want both CapsLock and Insert keys disabled. The nice thing about this method is that you can re-enable the keys at any point or you can use the Shift key override method. The other tricks I mentioned would require you to restart your computer to have the changes applied, and I find this to be perfect since it can be toggled at anytime without rebooting.

Let me know if you’ve come up with your own ways of disabling the Insert key.