How to Turn Off Overtype in Google Sheets

Is there anything more irritating than an unwanted overtype? But what many people don’t realize is that there’s an easy solution to the issue, one that doesn’t involve turning your device on and off, hoping the overtype will magically disappear.

How to Turn Off Overtype in Google Sheets

In this article, we’ll show you how to turn off overtype in Google Sheets. What’s more, this method works in most other programs that have this option.

Why Does This Happen?

It’s happened to everyone, no matter what program they might be using: Google Sheets, Word, Excel etc. Everything worked fine, and then suddenly, you weren’t able to edit your documents anymore. When you try typing, you start adding new text over the text that was already there. So frustrating!

Let’s get straight to the point. Even though you weren’t to blame, you might have done something accidentally. The overtype feature turns on when you press the Insert key. Now, if you have a modern keyboard, you may not even be aware that you have that particular key. It’s usually somewhere near the Backspace key.

In other cases, Insert and Print Screen share the same button, and it may be like that on your keyboard as well. Look for a small “Ins” sign somewhere on the right part of your keyboard, and you should be able to find it.

overtype in google sheets

How to Turn It Off?

When you know how the overtype mode gets activated, it’s easy to figure out the way to turn it off. All you have to do is press the Insert button one more time. This is the fastest way to turn off the overtype mode in any program. However, there’s one trick you should be aware of.

In Word, you can turn it off by simply pressing the Insert button wherever your cursor might be. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in Google Sheets. You have to place the cursor in a cell in your spreadsheet. Therefore, if the cursor is in the formula bar at the top of your spreadsheet, the Insert key won’t function.

Many people give up and complain that the Insert key isn’t working in Google Sheets. The truth is they just didn’t know how to activate it properly. Now, when you know this trick, you can use it even in other spreadsheet programs. Most of them have similar features, and when you familiarize yourself with one of them, you’ll be able to use them all.

It Won’t Turn Off

If the Insert key still doesn’t work, maybe it’s disabled. Here’s how to check and enable it again:

  1. Click on File.
  2. Click on Options.
  3. Click on Advanced.
  4. Select Editing Options.
  5. Check the box next to the “Use the Insert key to control overtype mode” sign.

Now, go on and press the Insert key again. This time it should turn the overtype mode off.

To clarify: the “Use the Insert key to control overtype mode” option doesn’t automatically turn the overtype mode on or off. It only allows you to control this mode using the Insert key itself.

However, if you don’t think you’ll need overtype mode anytime soon, we suggest you un-check this option in the settings. That way, you won’t be able to activate this mode accidentally while typing. This one small trick can save you tons of time and anxiety.

turn off overtype in google sheets

Bye-Bye Overtype

We hope that this article was useful and that you won’t have problems with the overtype mode anymore. The best thing is that you can use this knowledge in multiple other programs as well. And if you ever need the overtype mode again, you’ll know how to turn it on.

Have you ever needed to use overtype mode? Was it helpful or distracting? Let us know in the comments section below.

8 thoughts on “How to Turn Off Overtype in Google Sheets”

Cheryl says:
Not helpful. Google Sheets does not have File-Options. That is in Word. I need to turn this off in Sheets, and pressing the “Insert” button is not doing it.
Cecil Bingham says:
not seeing an Options choice under File
Brian Williams says:
I had the same issue at as the other commenter. Access to sheet is emailed by admin so I can’t select the file in a directory and the described steps weren’t visible under the “file” dropdown menu. Selecting every cell in the entire document and pressing the insert key worked.
Julie says:
This didn’t work for me because there is no Option under File in my version. I found another site that suggested to double-click on the cell, then press the insert button. That worked.
Julie says:
Jessie, I am not seeing an Options choice under File. I’ve looked everywhere.
Melanie D says:
Very helpful for Google Sheets! Thank you so much!

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos