Out, Out Nasty Ins Key

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally pressed the Insert (Ins) key and innocently typed over a complex paragraph that I worked on for more than an hour. Thanks for the blessed Ctrl+Z keystrokes, which undid my accidental erasures. Isn’t it about time the Insert key was removed from our keyboards?

Yes, and that time is arriving. The overtype Insert key is a holdover from the early word-processor designs. Some new keyboards have removed it from the keypad section and, in its place, doubled the size of the adjacent Del key. And Office 2007 has disabled the function. However, the annoyance still exists in earlier Office programs. It’s possible to decommission it by adjusting the Registry, but toying with the Registry is always dangerous. However, all is not lost: Since it’s only in Word that the problem really manifests itself, I’ll show you a simple way to render it impotent in Word.

While in Word, click on Tools, Customize and highlight the Options tab. Click on Keyboard at the bottom of the screen (see screenshot below).

Under Categories, scroll down to All Commands, and under Commands, go to Overtype. Then click on Remove at the bottom of the screen (see screenshot below) and on Close, and the Ins key will no longer be functional. To make it functional again, return to Commands and click on Reset All. However, be aware that this action will undo any customized keyboard commands you have created.

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