Insert key

Insert key
The insert key among other keys

The Insert key (often abbreviated INS) is a key commonly found on computer keyboards.

It is primarily used to switch between the two text-entering modes on a personal computer (PC) or word processor. The first is overtype mode, in which the cursor, when typing, overwrites any text that is present on and after its current location. The other is insert mode, where the cursor inserts a character at its current position, forcing all characters past it one position further. The insert/overtype mode toggling is not global for the computer or even for a single application but rather local to the text input window in which the Insert key was pressed.

On early text-based computing environments and terminals, when the cursor was in overtype mode, it was represented as a block that surrounded the entire letter to be overstruck; when in insert mode, the cursor consisted of the vertical bar that is highly common among modern applications, or a blinking underline under the position where a new character would be inserted.

Overtype mode can also be referred to as overscript mode, and is sometimes erroneously referred to as overstrike mode, which is a typography term.

Notably, on some recent keyboards, the Insert key is completely absent (except on the numeric keypad), its space instead filled with a double-size Delete key.[1]

Macintosh computers

On Apple Macintosh computers, the key is rebranded into a Help key. When pressed, the Help functionality of the application in use will be launched. However, when using command line applications, it retains its original functionality for compatibility reasons. On the latest keyboards from Apple it has been replaced by a Fn key. On such models, "Insert" is sometimes obtained by pressing the Fn key and the numeric keypad 0 key at the same time. Other times, "Insert" is obtained by pressing the Fn key and the numeric keypad / key.

Application usage

Modern word processing applications, such as Microsoft Word, operate in insert mode by default, but can still be switched to overtype mode by pressing the Insert key. However, the cursor generally does not change into the letter-surrounding box seen on old text-based systems. Instead, an "OVR" indicator on the status bar is highlighted. Unfortunately, this is difficult to notice, which can mean the user only realizes Word is in overtype mode when the old text is erased in favor of the attempted correction. However, OpenOffice.org and some text editors retain the original cursor change in addition to the indicator.

The Insert key, when pressed along with Control or Shift, can also be used to copy or paste in Microsoft Windows. This behavior comes from the Common User Access standard.

Screen Reading software, such as Jaws for Windows, Window-eyes, and NVDA use the insert key as hotkeys for reading text, speaking formatting information, or opening the Screen Reader's configuration menu or window.

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • insert key — noun (computing) A key that switches between insert and overwrite modes • • • Main Entry: ↑insert …   Useful english dictionary

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  • Insert key — in·sert key || ɪn sÉœrt‚kɪː / sɜːt key which controls the changing between Insert Mode and Overtype Mode in IBM compatibles …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Insert key — Клавиша вставки (напр. знака) …   Краткий толковый словарь по полиграфии

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  • Insert (SQL) — An SQL INSERT statement adds one or more records to any single table in a relational database. Basic formInsert statements have the following form: * INSERT INTO table ( column1 , [ column2, ... ] ) VALUES ( value1 , [ value2, ... ] )The number… …   Wikipedia

  • key — I n. device for turning the bolt of a door 1) to duplicate; make a key 2) to insert; turn a key 3) to fit, match a key 4) a duplicate; master; skeleton key 5) keys dangle (on a chain) 6) a bunch of keys 7) a key to (a key to a door) solution 8) a …   Combinatory dictionary

  • insert — v. (D; tr.) to insert into (to insert a new sentence into a paragraph; to insert a key into a lock) * * * [ ɪnsɜːt] (D; tr.) to insert into (to insert a new sentence into a paragraph; to insert a key into a lock) …   Combinatory dictionary

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