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Author's profile photo Samuel Davies

How To Switch Between ABAP Editor’s Insert (INS) And Overwrite (OVR) Modes.

Personally, I am not a fan of the overwrite mode in text editors and believe it is a relic from the past that has found its way into modern editors. In command line text editors (big time vim fan here), OVR mode can be very useful and efficient but It is hard for me to fathom the use of OVR mode in modern text editors. I believe most of my readers will also share the same sentiment.

There are very easy methods of switching between the two modes (INS and OVR) to match your preference but some users will face an uphill battle in changing between these modes due to hardware and software constraints. In this tutorial I will walk you through a method that will reliably afford you the ability to make this switch in a no frills style.


On the ABAP text editor page, confirm that you are currently in the Source-Code Based Editor Mode as opposed to the Text-Based Editor Mode. To find this out, you can select Utilities > Settings > ABAP Editor Tab (as shown in the image below) and you will be able to confirm if you are in the Source-Code Based Editor Mode.



Confirm that you are in Source-Code based editor mode


After confirming that you are in the Source-Code Based editor mode, on the extreme bottom-right corner of your ABAP editor, click the document icon, with the red rectangle in the image below.


Click the document icon enclosed in the red rectangle

Once you click the icon, you will be presented the dialog shown below:


Dialog displayed


Select the Keyboard item in the menu on the left hand side and then type ovr in Commands textbox. Select the Edit.SwitchOvrMode search item. Click on the New Shortcut text box and press the keys you would like to assign to switch between INS and OVR modes. In my case I used the key combination CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER. Finally you can click the save button to store your new config.


Follow the steps to assign a new key binding


If you followed the steps above, when you press your key combination you assigned earlier, the text cursor in your editor should change between a black block and a blinking I as shown in the images below.


OVR text edit mode



iNS text edit mode

You now have the freedom to choose between the INSERT and OVERWRITE text edit modes at will. I hope this will drastically increase your comfort in the ABAP editor. Please feel free to leave a comment and post your questions to the ABAP Development SAP community tag.


Happy coding!!!

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      Author's profile photo Mithun Kumar
      Mithun Kumar

      Sorry, just to clarify. You mean to go through this long process only if the "Ins" key on the keyboard doesn't work, right?

      Usually I simply click the Ins key to toggle between INS and OVR modes, as this comes inbuilt with SAP GUI.

      Author's profile photo Samuel Davies
      Samuel Davies
      Blog Post Author

      Some installations of SAP GUI in the wild do not have the INS key as standard and Apple Magic Keyboards do not also have the INS key on the keyboard.

      This is supposed to be a last resort for when all the hardware and software in your environment do not permit you to easily switch the insert mode.

      I hope this makes sense.

      Author's profile photo Samuel Davies
      Samuel Davies
      Blog Post Author

      The second paragraph of the post explains this point tersely

      Author's profile photo Mithun Kumar
      Mithun Kumar

      Thanks for the clarification!

      Author's profile photo keval chheda
      keval chheda

      yes this works directly , by pressing insert key 🙂

      Author's profile photo Rajendra Reddy Chukka
      Rajendra Reddy Chukka

      Thank you

      Author's profile photo Sandeep Mujumdar
      Sandeep Mujumdar

      This was of great help , insert/ovr functionality looks silly but makes lot of diff

      Author's profile photo Amy King
      Amy King

      I received a new laptop installation recently and for some reason SAPgui was set on overwrite mode by default. No other installed app--just SAPgui--so I knew the problem was with SAPgui. My keyboard's INS key did not toggle the mode and it was driving me absolutely batty. Thank you so much for this post, really!

      Author's profile photo Arun Kumar Yerram
      Arun Kumar Yerram


      This post saved me from the trauma I was going through since shifting to a Mac OS and a Magic Keyboard (trust me, there's no magic). I was literally unable to get rid of the INS cursor from the hardware perspective. Having figured that it's almost impossible to overcome this, I changed my search question and landed up here. And, I found the solution. THANKS A TON!!!



      Author's profile photo Floriberto Perez
      Floriberto Perez

      I do appreciate this. It saved me a lot of time

      Author's profile photo MANUEL ROLDAN

      Man, you changed my life, for over-typing drives me crazy!!! Have a great week!! 🙂

      P.S. Great, straightforward, easy to understand explanation.