Insert key

Updated: 12/30/2021 by Computer Hope
Insert key

Sometimes displayed as Ins, the Insert key is a key on most computer keyboards near or next to the backspace key. The Insert key toggles how letters, numbers, characters, or other text is inserted. By default, text is inserted in front of other text as you type but after pressing the Insert key text is overwritten as you type.

Where is the Insert key on the keyboard?

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

Insert key location on keyboard

Note

If your keyboard layout is different than the above example, see the following sections for help with finding the Insert key on other types of keyboards.

Where is the Insert key on Apple keyboards?

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

Where is the Insert key on a PC laptop keyboard?

Laptop control keys

The Insert key on a laptop is often part of another key around the Backspace as shown in the picture. If a laptop uses two keys as one key, you must press the Fn with the second key you want to use. In our example picture, the Scr Lk, Pause, and Break are all blue and a different color than the other keys.

To use these keys, press the Fn and the key with the blue text you want to use. With our example picture, if you needed Insert functionality, you'd press the Insert by itself. To use the Pause functionality, press and hold the Fn, then press the Pause.

Note

With PC laptops, there's no standard placement for the insert key. Your laptop may not have the same configuration as shown in the picture. However, all PCs follow the same steps mentioned above.

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 and the . (period key) at the same time.

Where is the inset key on smaller keyboards?

With smaller keyboards, the Insert key may be part of a function key or another key. To use these keys, press the Fn and the corresponding key with Insert. For example, with some smaller Logitech keyboards (e.g., Logitech K480) "ns" is on the F12 key, pressing Fn+12 is the same as pressing the insert key.

Example of using the Insert key

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

Overtype mode

In 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 tee" 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.

Insert mode and insert cursor

Insert

In the 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. In other words, as you type the new text is written over the existing text.

What is the point of the Insert key?

Today, the Insert key's function is most often used as a shortcut key. For example, pressing the Shift+Insert on the keyboard it 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, then typing the correction, you could move the cursor in front of an error, press Insert, 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+Insert to paste unformatted text in any program.

What keyboard shortcuts use the Ins key?

Below are links to keyboard shortcut keys that use the Ins key.

Control keys, Insert, Insert mode, Keyboard terms, Overtype mode