The uselessness of Insert

Office 2007 will disable the Insert key by default. This can only be a good thing. If you want to save a document – surely the most common operation after entering text – you have to hit CTRL-S. Printing? CTRL-P. But if you want to completely break all normal word processing behaviour and enter a mode in which any text directly overwrites existing content you need only miss ‘delete’. Disabling this most useless of keys must be a good idea. You’d think.

I told this to my parents. They gave me a strange look. I deduced that they had no idea what I was talking about, so fully explained the full horror of the Insert key, and that over a decade it must have wasted literally centuries of time as people tried to understand why Word suddenly didn’t work any more. I finished, happy with my explanation. They gave me a strange look. “But we use that all the time”, they said.

My parents are the only people in the world who find the Insert key useful. They do some kind of copy-pasting from some funny program and something something something. I forget. My brain rejected it as craziness even as I was listening. If they ever upgrade to Office 2007, I’m going to have to re-enable Insert. That’s going to hurt.