MS Word 2016 formatting: why can't I backspace to delete text?

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bj nick

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(Windows 10 laptop) This is simple, yet hard to describe. I am revising a 285-page novel. I'll be editing a paragraph, and all of a sudden the backspace won't delete text...especially when I want to move the text up to the line above it. Standard: hit backspace, done. But often backspace will not work; nothing happens. Only by deleting the empty space above or Ctl+X the text and physically moving it, can I accomplish the edit. WHY does Word not allow me to backspace sometimes? It must be something in the formatting....in a setting, right? Or is it one of the paragraph characteristics/settings? I've tried to find an answer online to no avail.
 

DaveA

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What does happen when you try backspacing?
 

bj nick

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Sorry, thought I was clear: nothing! It just stays in place. You can hit backspace 20 times and it will just sit there. Sometimes I can select-delete the space between and then it will work....other times that won't work. But selecting-deleting spaces is obviously not a tenable solution.
 
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Hello DaveA

Since this is sporadic, could you be inadvertently hitting the Insert key?
 

bj nick

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Not a chance. Like I said, I can try hitting the backspace key 20 or 30 times and it doesn't make any difference.
 
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Ok. I have had similar opportunities after accidentally hitting the insert key. :rolleyes: Hitting the insert key again would allow me to delete the selected text.

There is a setting to replace text with typing; but, since this is a random event, I cannot see it being the problem source. If you would like to to check the setting, it can be found under File > Options > Advanced > Typing replaces selected text.
 
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I concur... very baffling. The randomness of the event is so vexing and I am running out of ideas here, minus a reinstall of Word for possible corruption.

Just a stab in the dark though, I wonder if there could be another program that is starting up in the background, which has potentially mapped the delete key as an alternate hot-key. Something like a game, some other editing software, or possibly a social networking platform? I suppose that condition set could cause random conflicts.

You could experiment by disconnecting from your network/WiFi connection and running only Word. Annotate your system's running processes by opening a command line and typing "tasklist > YourFileName.xls" (XLS so that you can filter the results alphabetically ;) ) and check for changes when you encounter the issue. If the environment runs stable, then connect to your network/WiFi and note your your Ethernet, or WiFi, performance as a baseline via Task Manager. If there is a spike when the issue occurs, it could indicate an unexpected external connection that is causing the problem.

Once again.. Best of Luck!
 

bj nick

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Thank you for following through on this. The problem remains, I just do a work around whenever it happens. I will try the suggestions you made and post back here soon.
 
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