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Office & Productivity Software forum

General discussion

Backspace button won't delete text in MS Word

by ekearney / September 17, 2008 12:24 AM PDT

In MS Word 2003, if I highlight a word/paragraph and press the Backspace button it doesn't delete the text. If I highlight a word/paragraph and type another word it doesn't delete the highlighted word/para. I'm forced to use the Delete button now. The Backspace button used to be my go to button- loved it. In Firefox, Windows, anywhere else I can still use Backspace as before; only Windows has this problem.

Another problem that I just notice is that I can press Tab to indent a paragraph, but when I try to use Shift+Tab to bring it back it simply pushes the text further to the right, as if I'd just pressed Tab again. Again this is only in Word. Maybe related?

I must have made some change but don't know what I did. I really don't remember doing anything out of the ordinary... Does anyone know how to change this setting?

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Re: typing replaces selection
by Kees Bakker / September 17, 2008 3:28 AM PDT

The first issue is a standard problem, that we see about every two months. Go into Tools>Options>Edit and check Typing replaces selection.
Sometimes, it gets unchecked and then you get what you see.

Please tell if the second issue persists after this change.


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all good
by ekearney / September 17, 2008 8:24 AM PDT

thanks Kees, problem solved! The second issue does persist but I think that I had this confused and that it didn't do what I thought it did before, haha. Thanks!

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(NT) I knew. Thanks for posting back.
by Kees Bakker / September 17, 2008 8:37 AM PDT
In reply to: all good
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Thank you!!!!
by Backbayrow / July 25, 2016 2:14 PM PDT

I thought I would go out of my mind! This worked and was extremely simple. Thanks so much. (Microsoft couldn't answer the question...)

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I am having this problem with the backspace key
by Newbie6612 / August 18, 2011 2:41 AM PDT

I was in the middle of typing a long document without any issues. All of a sudden, I can't use my backspace key to delete text. I tried to do as suggested: Go into Tools>Options>Edit and check Typing replaces selection. The box was already checked but I unchecked and rechecked it just in case. Did not work. I copied and pasted the document into a new Word document - did not work. I notice when I open a brand new document the same thing happens in randome places on the document. It has become so difficult to type and correct errors, it is driving me crazy. Any suggestions would be welcome - using Word 2010. Thanks!

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I've seen it happen.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 18, 2011 4:24 AM PDT

While some want it fixed, I found that I had to move my cursor back and tap the delete key. There is no sign this bug will ever be squashed. It happened in Word 97 and today in 2010. Go figure why it was never vanquished. Workarounds continue to be used.

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I also have the problem Newbie6612
by Rickster77420 / May 23, 2012 3:09 AM PDT

If anyone can help me as well with that, I'd be thankful.

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So you didn't try it the other way?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 23, 2012 3:14 AM PDT

"move my cursor back and tap the delete key."

I am however encountering newer computer users and some older ones that insist this must be fixed. If so, they need to call Microsoft.

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I figured out a simple possible fix
by natusvludsvurth / September 11, 2013 2:15 AM PDT

So, I know this thread is old, but i could not find much else on this topic and wanted to share my answers. It turns out , I could not delete on specific documents or replace text and my replace text box was checked and everything working. Then one day I thought about how old word programs worked and how the insert button could deter deleting. I hit my insert button on that document and then VOILA!! I could delete the text and everything again. So days and days of research and it was simply the insert key.

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MS deleting issues...
by Claudia_03 / November 3, 2015 6:22 PM PST

If using a mac computer and MS Word 2013 try TOOLS>TRACK CHANGES> HIGHLIGHT CHANGES>OPTIONS> SHOW ALL> EDIT> CLICK "DELETE SELECT TEXT WHEN YOU TYPE" and then just exit the options chart. that worked for me. Hope this helps!

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