How To Set Up A Universal Full-Screen Keyboard Shortcut in Lion


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The new full-screen support in OS X Lion is a dream come true for lifehackers looking to squeeze more productivity out of their apps, but one problem for keyboard users is that there’s just no standardized shortcut.

That seems like something of an oversight on Apple’s part, but luckily, there’s an easy to way assign your own universal full-screen shortcut for every app on your machine, even if the devs didn’t provide their own easy keyboard combination for triggering full-screen on your Mac.

It’s pretty easy to do, actually. Just follow these easy steps.

1. Open Applications > System Preferences

2. Select the “Keyboard” preference panel.

3. Select the “Keyboard Shortcuts” tab.

4. Click on “Application Shortcuts.” Now click the “+” button to add a new shortcut.

5. Call the first one “Enter Full Screen” (you must call it this exactly) then set the shortcut as Command+Control+F. Click “Add.”

6. Once that shortcut has been added, click the “+” button to add another shortcut.

7. Call this one “Exit Full Screen” (you must call it this exactly) then set the shortcut as Command+Control+F. Click “Add.”

Voila! Open up iTunes, Safari, Chrome or any other fullscreen app and hit “Command+Control+F.” You now have a handy universal shortcut for cutting down on all your distractions.

  • ChildWillRead

    This is fantastic! It will work beautifully when I teach my students, struggling readers one and all, via Skype! No more typing things in bizarrely large print so that they can see it! 

    Bless you, my cult of Mac!

  • KenFromEmpowerMac

    It works for me by not entering the exit–just do the same command twice after making only the “Enter Full Screen”
    As far as I can tell, it just toggles it on and off.
    Thanks for the tip.

  • Andrew Goodrick-Werner

    Um, except there IS a standard keyboard shortcut for Full Screen mode. Control + Command + F works without having to edit anything.

  • caferebee

    Just a head’s up for anyone using Evernote on their mac, Command+Control+F will launch Evernote.  You’ll need to use a different key combination for this shortcut…

  • Boris

    I agree, Cmd+Shift+F would be better.

  • Prakash Anandani

    I use BTT and have kept the top right tap of the trackpad on my mid2010 13″ MBP as a shortcut for full screen in all apps

  • Rob Bartel

    Um, good point. Weird. Thanks for saving me the effort.

  • Jarrad Seers

    Default Install of Lion, Command + Shift + F works out of the box…

  • lsla49
  • David F. Flowers Jr

    I was wondering if any had this issue with Lion?  When I hook my mini dp to hdmi cable up to my tv and try to go into full screen the display go back to the Macbook pro.  In Snow Leopard this worked fine but now with the Lion the only way to make it full screen on the TV is stretch it Manually?  Help please or do I have to wait for an update.  
    Using a Macbook pro 2011 Quad core i7

  • shucai45
  • Jerry Rutten

    It works fine with me…

    When in NOT in synchronized mode, drag your window to your tv-screen and THEN set full-screen mode.

  • barberboy

    Ctrl+Command+F is common, but it not universal. For instance, It doesn’t work for Terminal (which uses Option+Command+F instead).

    After setting up the application shortcut in the tip, Control+Command+F works for Terminal now also. Though it doesn’t work for Firefox 7’s full screen (Shift+Command+F), which doesn’t use Lion’s full screen app API.

  • barberboy

    I had to set both Enter Full Screen and Exit Full Screen in order for this to work on applications (like Terminal) that used a different shortcut.