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Insert key

Insert keySometimes displayed as Ins, the Insert key is a located on most computer keyboards by the backspace key. The Insert key toggles how text is inserted by either inserting the text in front of other text or overwriting text to the right of the cursor as you type.

Example of using the Insert key

For example, in a word processor, if the I-cursor is placed in front of any text, nothing is overwritten as you type. However, if the Insert key is pressed and the I-cursor changes to a block cursor or enters overtype mode, as you type the text is overwritten.

Overtype modeIn the example animated picture, you can see each mode in action. In the Overtype Mode when "test" is being typed it overwrites (replaces) "Computer" to become "test ter" with the text being overwritten.

Note: Not all programs allow you to change the insert method with the Insert key. If the cursor does not change when you press the Insert key, text input mode toggling it is not supported.

  • How to enable and disable the Insert key in Microsoft Word

Where is the Insert key on the keyboard?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the insert keys highlighted in blue on the main keyboard as well as the numeric keypad. For the Insert key to work on the number pad, the Num Lock key must be turned off.

Insert key

Where is the Insert key on Apple keyboards?

If you have an Apple computer, Apple laptop, or Apple keyboard, the Insert key is replaced by the Fn key. To simulate an Insert key on an Apple keyboard press the keyboard shortcut Fn + Enter.

Where is the Insert key on a Google Chromebook?

On Google Chromebooks, you can simulate an Insert key or enter overwrite mode by pressing the Search key and the period key at the same time.

Further explanation

InsertIn the additional example image, you can see the different cursors (I-beam cursor on the top and block cursor on the bottom). In the top portion, if we were to type "test " in front of "Computer Hope example" it would become "test Computer Hope example." However, if we pressed the Insert key to change the insert method, the result would be different. Typing "test" in this instance (bottom portion of the image) would make the text "test ter Hope example" because the first part of the text would be overwritten.

What is the point of the Insert key?

Today, the Insert keys function is most often used as a shortcut key. For example, pressing the Shift + Ins key on the keyboard is another way to paste text on a computer. The Insert key is also another way to make corrections to existing text. Instead of moving the cursor to an error, pressing backspace, and then typing the correction you could move the cursor in front of an error, press Insert (if not enabled), and then overwrite the error.

Tip: Because many programs do not use the Insert key, you can also use the key for any custom keyboard shortcuts. For example, we use PureText and the shortcut key Windows key + Ins to paste unformatted text in any program.

Also see: Control keys, Insert, Insert mode, Overtype mode, Keyboard terms