how do I type over existing type (so that it replaces as I go)?

On a PC, I used the insert key to replace text when I was typing new.  On the MAC, I must delete the old text, it doesn't "get eaten" as I go.  Solution?

 

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Last updated June 24, 2019 Views 4,715 Applies to:
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In the main menu bar, select Word > Preferences > Edit and under Editing options place a checkmark in Overtype mode.

If you want to toggle the mode on and off conveniently, you'll need to assign it a key shortcut. To do that:

  • In the menu bar, select Tools > Customize keyboard
  • In the list to the left, select All Commands
  • In the list to the right, select Overtype
  • Place your cursor in the Press new keyboard shortcut field
  • Type an available key combination (Word will let you know if it's already in use, although you can override it). You can use any combination of Command and/or Option and/or Shift and/or Control plus a key. Most Control + character combinations are available.
  • Click on Assign,  then OK.

Depending on your preference settings, Word may ask you if you want to save your Normal template. Do so, to save the new shortcut.
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Daniel's instructions are accurate regarding the use of Overtype Mode & if you intend to use it assigning a keystroke is the best thing to do. However - no offense intended - that's a rather archaic manner of editing in contemporary text-based environments. Toggling it on/off at precisely the right times is not only a challenge in itself but also slows the entire process of editing. That's one of the main reasons it's  been pushed so far out of easy reach - Overtype is used by fewer & fewer users with each release of the software.

You might consider taking advantage of remaining in Insert Mode. There's absolutely no need to 'delete' anything unless you actually want to remove rather than replace it. Instead, simply select the text to be replaced, then type the replacement content. The selected content is instantly deleted with the first keystroke, and by not going into Overtype Mode it makes no difference whether the volume of replacement content is greater or less than the volume of text being replaced. IOW, you aren't left with additional content to delete nor do you run the risk of overwriting content not intended to be replaced.

There are literally dozens of techniques for precisely selecting text & extending/reducing selected areas using either the mouse, the keyboard or a combination of the two. For example:
  • Double-click a word to select it plus the trailing space. If you type replacement content the space will be retained but if you delete the word the extra space is deleted with it.
  • Triple-click a paragraph to select it, regardless of its length
  • Command+click anywhere in a sentence to select it in its entirety
  • Extend a selection in the same manner you start the selection by using Shift+click. I.e., Select either a word, a sentence or a paragraph using the methods above, then hold Shift while you click in another word, paragraph to include it as well as all text between the start & end of your selection.
  • Employing the Shift-click technique also enables you to avoid trying to scroll in a document while dragging to select longer passages - select the starting paragraph or sentence, scroll to locate the end of the passage, then hold Shift while you click there.

See Word Help on the main topic: Word Keyboard Shortcuts with specific focus on the subtopics pertaining to Moving the cursor, Selecting text and graphics, & Extending a selection.

Regards,
Bob J.
As an MVP my contributions here are purely voluntary.

Please mark Yes/No as to whether a Reply answers your question.

Regards,
Bob J.

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