Disabled Insert key and other “gotchas” in Word 2010

July 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Recently, while working on an Office 2010 / Windows 7 rollout at the San Diego offices of a large law firm (still involved in the project, but at the downtown L.A. branch), I learned that a user had requested a new keyboard.  The reason?  The Insert key no longer acted as a toggle between Insert and Overtype (Typeover) mode in Word 2010.

As soon as I heard that, I went to my supervisor and suggested she cancel the keyboard order.  “The Insert key has been disabled in the newer versions of Word,” I told her.[1]  “So she can order new keyboards until the cows come home, but they won’t work any better than the one she has now.”

Rather than frustrate the user still further — by replacing the “broken” keyboard with another seemingly defective one  — I re-enabled the Insert key in Word so that it worked as she expected.   It’s a simple configuration tweak:

  • File > Options > Advanced
  • Under Editing options, check the box labeled “Use the Insert key to control overtype mode.”
  • Do not check the next box, “Use overtype mode,” unless you prefer overtype as the default.  (That’s not the norm in most Windows program, so it’s not likely to be the option to which you’re accustomed.)
  • After you make the change, be sure to click OK to save your settings.

* * * * *

There are a few other potential “gotchas” in Word 2010.

The Section indicator no longer appears on the Status Bar by default.  Nor does the Track Changes indicator.  To add those items, and others you might like, to the Status Bar, simply right-click it, then click within the pop-up menu to select (check) the items you want displayed.  When you’ve finished, click anywhere outside the menu or press the Esc key.

Also, the keyboard shortcut Ctrl F no longer works as in prior versions of Word (including Word 2007).  Instead of invoking the Find dialog, it opens the Navigation Pane, which is a combination of an enhanced Find dialog, the Document Map, and thumbnails.  You still can open the traditional Find dialog by pressing Ctrl H (the dialog will open with the Replace tab at the forefront; you’ll have to click the Find tab to make it active).  Or, if you’re more of a mouse person than a keyboard person, you can open the Find dialog by doing one of the following:

  • Clicking the Home tab, navigating to the Editing group at the far right side of the Ribbon, and clicking Advanced Find; or
  • From within the Navigation Pane (Ctrl F or View tab, check Navigation Pane), click the drop-down arrow to the right of the magnifying glass / search box, and click Advanced Find.

Someone pointed out to me the other day that Reveal Formatting is difficult to locate in Word 2010.  Indeed it is, unless you know the keyboard shortcut:  Shift F1.

Locating the Reveal Formatting pane in the Ribbon takes patience and determination.  I will save you the trouble.  Here’s the somewhat convoluted path:

  • Home tab > Styles group
  • Click the dialog launcher to open the Styles pane
  • Click the middle icon at the bottom of the Styles pane (if you position the mouse over that icon, you’ll see the label “Style Inspector”)
  • When the Style Inspector dialog opens, click the left-most button at the bottom (hovering over the icon displays the label “Reveal Formatting”).

Or, better yet, simply add Reveal Formatting to your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).

  • Right-click the QAT, then choose “Customize Quick Access Toolbar.”
  • When the Word Options dialog opens, click the “Choose commands from” drop-down and change “Popular Commands” to “All Commands.”
  • Scroll down about 2/3 (or 3/4) of the way to “Reveal Formatting…” and click to select it.
  • Click the “Add” button in the center of the screen.
  • If you like, click the Up arrow to move the Reveal Formatting icon to the left of other icons you’ve added to your QAT.
  • When you’re finished, click OK to save your settings.

Now you don’t have to remember either the keyboard shortcut or where the command is buried in the Ribbon.

There are probably a few other possible “gotchas” I’m forgetting about.  If I think of others, I’ll either edit this post or write a new post.

Incidentally, thanks to all my regular readers for bearing with me while I’ve been on this Office 2010 / Windows 7 upgrade project.  It has meant very long hours and little leftover brain power for adding substantive posts to the blog.  But OTOH, it also has meant steady work, which is a very good thing indeed!  (And it has been a great gig.  Everyone involved in the project has been wonderful to work with.)

I’ll make an effort to compose new material as my time and energy level permit.  Meanwhile, I hope these tips are helpful to you!


[1]  Word 2007 was the first version in which the Insert key as a toggle between Insert and Overtype was disabled.

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