Disable Overtype Permanently

Disable Overtype Permanently

figs/beginner.gif figs/hack35.gif

Inspiration strikes, and you begin a flurry of typing with nary a glance at the screen. A few minutes later, you look up and discover with horror that you've accidentally entered Overtype mode, that zero-sum game of editing by attrition. This hack shows you how to disable Overtype mode once and for all.

Do you know anyone who uses Overtype mode? Didn't think so. In fact, many people simply reassign the Insert key to some other function—typically Paste, though any command will do. Word even includes an option to use the Insert key for pasting: simply select ToolsOptions, click the Edit tab, and check the "Use the INS key for paste" box.

But if you've been burned before, even this may not be enough to assuage your fears. With this hack, Overtype can never hurt you again. It also offers a great example of intercepting built-in commands [Hack #61], one of the most powerful customization features available in Word.

Select ToolsMacroMacros, choose Word Commands from the "Macros in" drop-down list, and select Overtype from the "Macro name" list, as shown in Figure.

Select Overtype from the list of Word macros

Next, choose Normal.dot (or the template of your choice [Hack #50] ) from the "Macros in" drop-down list and click the Create button, as shown in Figure.

Preparing to create a new Overtype macro in Normal.dot

The Visual Basic Editor will open, and you'll see a brand new macro named Overtype, already filled in with the VBA code equivalent to toggling the Insert button, as shown in Figure.

When you create a macro based on one of Word's commands, the VBA code to perform the command is inserted automatically

Select the line of code that says:

Overtype = Not Overtype

and replace it with the following:


Now select FileSave, and then go to FileClose and Return to Microsoft Word.

If you prefer to completely disable Overtype, just delete the following line of code:

Overtype = Not Overtype

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