Insert key

There are a lot of useless keys on a standard PC keyboard, but only the insert key has the power to fuck with your work. I would rather the insert key be replaced with a button that gives you a mild electrical shock. Prior to pointing devices, the insert key might have had some utility, but now it’s just a trick button. What it does is it transforms your keyboard into a living nightmare in which everything you type replaces the text in front of it, as if all that other text in your document was just hanging around for decoration. The only scenario this would be useful is if you wanted to get rid of the proceeding text of your document, but only in a quantity of characters that was exactly equal to your newly-inserted text. What kind of asshole would make such an edit? “Man, I really need to delete the thirteen characters to the immediate right of my text cursor, and I also need to insert a word that’s exactly eleven characters long, leaving two extra characters for spaces. Time for my trusty insert key!” How about you insert a bullet into your head? Meanwhile, the insert key is located right next to backspace, which is for people who edit text in an educated fashion. So I’m constantly hitting the insert key on accident, and there’s no way to tell that you’ve toggled on overtype mode until you notice that your new text is eating the shit out of your old text. Maybe there’s a way to disable this—maybe there is. Maybe there’s also a way to pry the button off with a carving knife. But I would like to know if any sort of person needs their insert key, because perhaps I speak out of ignorance. Do coders use overtype mode? Has anybody in the last twenty years hit this key on purpose? Or should I organize a protest?

46 thoughts on “Insert key

  1. i use insert all the tyme. Oh wait, i shall go back and change that ‘y’ to an ‘i’ using only 1 key, rather than 2. Actually, fuck it.

    Insert key blows.

  2. Oh, but I so love the insert key. It’s quite an ego boost to be the only person in the room who can exorcise the malevolent keyboard demon o’ frustration. Like how I steal the manuals to complicated roleplaying games before anyone else can read them so I’m the only one who knows what the zodiac die does.

  3. I’m a coder and I like the insert key. But I only like it for coding. For writing normal stuff I agree with everything you say times 10.

  4. you don’t need a carving knife to remove the insert key – a pen will do. any computer i’ve ever used has had the insert key yanked off.

  5. I’m a coder who freaking hates the Insert key. Under no circumstance is it acceptable or even tolerable. At least force people to hit Ctl+shift+alt+F10 or some such in addition to the insert key. But nooooooo, one stray poke and your text is being consumed like so many tornado victims…

  6. The only circumstances in which I’ve used the insert key are when I’m trying to fill out a form where the creator used underscores for lines instead of underlined spaces. So as not to mess up the layout of the form I have to use insert, then underline everything to boot. Annoying.

  7. the worst about the insert key is when you turn overtype on by accident and overtype a large portion of your work because you arent paying attention. you believe your computer is on regular old insert mode when it is really screwing you around erasing valuable mental property.

  8. When I was 5 years old or so I once hit this key by accident. I didn’t know that I had until I was much older, but for about a year after that I thought Wordperfect was broken and didn’t know how to fix it. The insert key: making children suffer ™. I actually just considered your words of wisdom and went to pry off the button…but the prt sc button is also on it because it is a traitor =[

  9. Yes, I have used the insert key intentionally. I used to be a proofreader at a classified-ads newspaper, and it came in handy. It was a number of years ago, and I’m not sure I remember why. I think it was faster for me to retype a portion of an ad, when I spotted an error, than to mess around with backspace or delete.

  10. Equally evil is the windows key being located in between CTRL and SHIFT, two keys often used for games such as shooters or real-time strategies.

    I’m frequently hitting it by accident and being booted back to the desktop, only to find that when I maximize the game again I’m being raped by demons or the AI has picked that precise moment to stealthily move powerful units past my line of sight and to the soft, fleshy back of my base.

    Also, for cat lovers, the worst key to have on a keyboard is the shutdown key. Cats have an innate ability to seek it out and press it every time they jump on the keyboard. Working on an epic project? Played a tough game for four hours without saving? Kiss your progress goodbye.

  11. I actually like and use Insert. It’s easier that having to delete and then type. But that’s just my habit and won’t be devastated if it disappears. Best would be if Insert vanished along with the entire numeric pad, so I could get a few inches of desk space back.

  12. You all need to learn to touch-type, so you can type while looking at the screen like you’re freaking supposed to. When you’re looking at the screen as you type, you immediately notice if you’ve hit Ins. Ins only screws you up if you’re a hunt-and-peck/2-finger chump.

  13. Hey fantastic planet:
    I can touch type and I hate insert. Why? Because I am capable of multitasking and will often be watching tv, talking to someone, etc. while typing. So technically I guess it can screw you up if you’re a touch-typing-multi-tasking chump as well.

    ps: Go have a cookie; I think you need one.

  14. Ins can and does come in handy. The hitch is that it’s functionally a “Lock” family key, as in, it puts you in the Insert “mode”, as NumLock and CapsLock do. Hence it deserves its own lil LCD, instead of just booting it off the keyboard.

  15. I’m lucky for two reasons:

    1) Emacs has brainwashed me and I use CTRL+H (with capslock and ctrl swapped) to backspace characters, and

    2) Macbook Pros don’t have insert keys.

  16. I used the INSERT key to type over the INSERT key and change it to WORLD PEACE.

    Now every time I hit it, whatever I type turns into World Peace.

    Only slightly annoying, especially if you’re typing an angry letter to a credit card company, and it all gets transformed into World Peace, when you really want them to feel the sting of your rant.

    OK, I didn’t really do this. I have a Mac, and don’t ever remember seeing this key since, well, never. I’ve been using a Mac since 1984, but I’m now going to be asking my Dad about it since he’s on Windows and always seems to be losing whole data bases and shtuff.



    Someone has found a use for the insert key! hate to kill the punchline, so to speak, but i’ve found a use for it. When you type a word thats supposed to be in capitals, and you want to change it, you go to the start, hit insert, and type it again. Although, thats a pretty crappy use. I mean, why not just have a “capitals/lowercase” button?

  18. Part of my job is entering information into computer programs. Because I look at the text I’m entering and not the screen, I often don’t notice I’ve accidentally hit the insert key until it’s too late. Not only is it annoying, but having to recover lost information is a serious waste of valuable company time.

  19. Sorry to disappoint you guys but the insert key is really useful if you are a translator (like me). You need to keep the original layout and format of the document and so you use insert to type over the source language in the target language. I’ve recently switched over to Mac and spent a maddening 12 hours trying to find out how to put the bloody thing back on!!

  20. Thank you all for your hatred. I was looking for support and received it here. Please help me celebrate today as today ripped the evil insert key out of its slot like a bad tooth. My only question is what do I do with it now? I am thinking about purchasing a 2 pound sledge, but there has to be something else a bit more creative.

  21. In Maya (3D modeling), Insert toggles into editing the focus point of your object. Want to scale out only the left side of your sphere? Hit Insert, move the focus off to the left side, then hit Insert again to get back to normal and transform.

    But in my 20 years of computer use, that’s THE ONLY useful function of the Insert key I have ever come across.

  22. What about the bloody F1 key? Truly maddening when programming in databases where F2 is a very necessary key. If I want “help” I’ll use the blasted menu; I don’t need a constantly appearing window appearing off to the side. I ALWAYS pull this key off.

  23. HELP. I guess itis the INSERT KEY that is causing me issues – jumping back and retyping over what I just typed. I do I stop it from doing this
    please HELP

  24. Ha, LOOOVE what you said about insert key. Only thing is, I DO have a mac and I have no idea how I did this but I’ve enabled the insert key on the doc I’m working on. HELP!!!!!!! Don’t know how to turn it off!!!!!

  25. Look What I found!

    Die Die Die Insert Key!

    Typically one turns on and turns off overtype mode by pressing the insert key.

    Kill the Insert Key:

    Make sure you are in Insert mode.

    1. Start Word
    2. Click on the Tools menu
    3. Click Customize
    4. Click the Options tab
    5. Click Keyboard
    6. Under the Catgories dropdown box, select All Commands
    7. Under the Commands dropdown box, select Overtype
    8. Under the Current keys downdown box, select Insert
    9. Click Remove
    10. Click Close until the dialog windows close.

  26. Oh thank you, it feels SO good not to be alone in my Insert key hate.

    What an amazing de-motivational poster this would make:

    Imagine on a black background, the photo of a keyboard with the “Insert” key powerdrilled out.

    The white text would read: “Insert THIS, Insert Key!!!”

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