How to Turn Off Overwrite in Google Sheets

An overwrite, or the overtype as it’s sometimes referred to, is one of the two working modes that any computer has. It’s when the text you’re typing is overwriting the existing text instead of pushing it along as it does in Insert mode.

How to Turn Off Overwrite in Google Sheets

This can happen in any program, app, or piece of software, including Google Sheets. But how does this happen in the first place? And how do you turn off the overwrite in Google Sheets or anywhere else for that matter? In this article, we’re going to explain how to switch from one working mode to another.

Find the Insert Key

Here’s the problem with the overwrite – it happens out of nowhere. Often, this is because most people accidentally hit the “Insert” button on their keyboards when they type.

In fact, a lot of people aren’t aware that almost every keyboard has the “Insert” button. And even if they are aware, they might not necessarily know what it’s for.

So, what’s the deal with the “Insert” key anyway? It’s a toggle feature that switches from Insert Mode to Overwrite Mode and vice versa.

Also, you’ll notice that when you went from Insert mode to Overwrite Mode your cursor suddenly vanished from your Google Sheets cells, even though you clicked on it.

The Insert mode is the standard Mode we use when typing any text, and it’s actually rare that people need the overwrite mode at all.

On the surface, therefore, turning off the overwrite mode couldn’t be easier. But there are a few issues you might run into.


What If You Don’t Have the Insert Key?

As mentioned, most keyboards will have the insert key, but not all of them. Does this mean you can’t switch from Insert mode to Overwrite Mode? Absolutely not, there’s a shortcut for that.

If you find yourself trying to enter data into a Google Sheets spreadsheet in overwrite Mode, you can simply press “Shift + 0”.

But here’s the trick, you have to turn off the Num Lock on your numbers pad and use the “0” on the pad. You’ll likely see the “Ins” abbreviation just under the zero that signifies this operation.

Make sure you hold these two keys at the same time. Then go back and check if the overwrite is turned off in your spreadsheet.

If you’re using Google Chromebook, the Insert key is replaced with a combination of the Search Key and the period key pressed at the same time.

And for those with Mac laptops and desktops, the Insert key is simulated by pressing the Fn key + Enter.

Turn Off Overwrite

Overwrite Mode in Formula Bar

When it comes to Google Sheets, you might run into an overwriting problem when entering text in the formula bar. But only if you’re trying to edit an existing formula.

Pressing the Insert key or using the Insert Mode shortcut won’t work here. There are no guarantees regarding fixing this issue because the feature can be a little tricky at times.

But there is something you can try. You can click on any random cell and press the Insert key. And then go back to try and edit the formula once again. It could work as a reset button in case the formula bar overwrite issue doesn’t usually happen.

Google Sheets

Can You Permanently Disable the Overwrite Mode?

The continuous pressing of the Insert key can cause some serious damage from time to time. You might not even notice the text you’re typing is overwriting other text.

Especially when you’re working with a lot of data in Google Sheets, risking accidentally overtyping important information can be a cause for concern.

But so far, there isn’t a way to permanently disable this feature on your computer, or G Suite products like Google Sheets.

Overwriting the Overwrite Mode

The Insert key isn’t something most people think about when using their keyboards every day. But most of us have found ourselves in the often dreaded overwrite mode at least once or twice.

When you see that your cursor is gone while you’re working in a spreadsheet, stop what you’re doing and look for the Insert key. Alternatively, use the shortcut that applies to the operating system you use. And no, unfortunately, for now, you can’t permanently disable the overwrite mode.

Do you often hit the Insert key by mistake on your keyboard? Let us know in the comments section below.

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