Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No Insert Key on Mac Keyboard

If you've ever run a Mac as your host computer and used Remote Desktop, VNC or VMWare then chances are you've somehow gotten into Overwrite mode in a text editor by accident and couldn't figure out how to get out. There are quite a few documented cases out there: here and here. The problem is as Apple's documentation suggests this cannot be done with an Apple laptop keyboard. Well I have found the magic incantation! At least it works for me (some of the time):

Fn + Right Command + delete

This will put my cursor in and out of insert/overwrite mode. Hopefully it works for you. If it doesn't work for you and you have a better version please post a comment.

Update: Today I finally figured out the key combination that makes me enter into Overwrite mode: Fn. So if you press Fn again it brings you out of it. Apparently the scan code for the Fn key and the Insert key are quite similar in some cases but not all, very ood.

13 comments:

Sean said...

Awesome! I've gotten stuck this way in VNC several times. Can't wait to try this the next time I mysteriously get into this mode.

Dave said...

FN+Enter toggles the mode for me on my Macbook Pro keyboard

Ross Youngblood said...

:( not working on my iMac via Windows Remote Desktop :(.

Jimit said...

Doesn't work on my MBP (Trying it via Remote Desktop to a Windows 7 pc).

Lane T said...

wiki saves the day! To toggle the INS/overwrite mode using an Apple/Mac keyboard on a PC machine: FN+0 [ zero on the numeric keypad].
Works like a charm.

markadoi84 said...

I just had this problem with Microsoft Word on a Mac - I pressed something by accident and all of a sudden I was overwriting existing letters!

On a Mac, this (annoying and normally pointless) function is called 'Overtype'. If you look to the bottom left of your Word window, you should see a button that says "OVR". Click this and your problems will be over, and you can go back to normal typing again!

Craig said...

FN + 0 worked for me on an NX session to an Ubuntu machine.

Gime said...

Does this work on Terminal when accessing a remote UNIX machine via Telnet or SSH? Specifically I need this when running the vi editor on the remote machine?

Mark Potterbaum said...

Years later this post saved my tail. fn + 0 (on the numeric keypad) worked great. Running Microsoft Remote Desktop from a Mac.

andreassvanebo said...

Hello.
I using imac with OS X and where do I find INSERT button om my apple keyboard?
I´m using Microsoft Remote Desktop.

Please help me with this problem.

I have test almost everything, fn + enter does not work.

Chris Bensen said...

Try combinations of "Fn + Right Command + delete" and "Fn" as I suggested in the blog post.

andreassvanebo said...

Hello.
I have tried "Fn + Right Command + Delete", don't work.
Also just "Fn", don't work.

I use iMac, OSX 10.9.5, via Microsoft Remote Desktop, and need to find the INSERT button.

Chris Bensen said...

Those things work for me and others. Maybe you could get a Windows keyboard?

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