How to Edit Text in Microsoft Office Documents

By Faithe Wempen

The same commands that you use to edit text in one Microsoft Office program work almost exactly the same way in another. In Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, you just click where you want the new text to go and begin typing.

The insertion point is the flashing vertical marker (cursor) that shows where the text that you type will appear. You can move the insertion point with the arrow keys, or you can click where you want to place it.

When the mouse pointer is over an area where you can place text, it turns into an I-shaped pointer called an I-beam. The shape of the I-beam makes it easy for you to precisely position it, even between two tiny characters of text.


To insert new text, position the insertion point where you want to insert it and then type the new text.

To remove text, you can use any of these methods:

  • Backspace it. Position the insertion point and then press the Backspace key to delete text to the left of the insertion point.

  • Delete it. Select the text and then press the Delete key, or position the insertion point and then press the Delete key to delete text to the right of the insertion point.

  • Type over it. Select the text and then type new text to replace it. Whatever was selected is deleted.

In Word, you can’t move the insertion point past the end of the document, so if you want the insertion point in the center of the document, for example, you’d normally have to press Enter to create extra blank paragraphs until it arrives where you want it. To get around that, however, double-click where you want the insertion point. Even if it’s beyond the end of the document, it moves there (and the end of the document moves down past the new location).