This week someone asked me for help on a Workspace App user experience optimization. They wanted to know, “How can I use a hotkey to exit full-screen mode on my Citrix virtual desktop?”

The use case and business value here quickly became clear. These users switch between windowed mode and full-screen virtual desktops several times a day. Because they’re developers, the mouse mostly collects dust on their desks, and they do most everything via keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys. The good news: a hotkey like this is easy to configure. Let’s dive into some of the options you can give your users.

There have been a set of hotkey capabilities built into our Workspace App for many years. One one of the more well-known (and well-documented) capabilities is the full-screen toggle: Shift+F2. But if you have tried this recently on your Citrix Workspace App connected to a Citrix virtual desktop, you probably found that Shift+F2 didn’t do, well, anything.

That’s actually by design. With the introduction of Citrix Apps and Desktops 7.X and the Desktop Viewer Toolbar, the full-screen/window options included in the toolbar supersedes the Shift+F2 hotkey. You can read more about it here.

So, by default, the Shift+F2 hotkey has been replaced with these handy buttons to enter full-screen mode (from windowed mode).

And to return to Windowed mode when in full-screen mode.

If you wanted to use Shift+F2 instead, the desktop toolbar would have to be disabled.

But the desktop toolbar has a ton of really useful features (USB device management, preferences, Ctrl+Alt+Del, etc.), so disabling it to get Shift+F2 back is not always a good option.

Fortunately, there is a new policy and hotkey for doing exactly this: Hotkeys for Desktop Viewer, shown below.

To enable this policy, you need to use the Receiver ADM template OR edit some registry keys on the client machine. We will look at both options, starting with the ADM template. You can find this policy in the Receiver ADM template under Computer configuration/administrative templates/Citrix Workspace/User Experience.

Simply enable the policy, choose the three-key combination of your choice, and click OK. Now if you close and re-launch any desktop sessions, you should be able to toggle in and out of full-screen mode using the hotkey!

Please note, if the hotkey combination you chose is already mapped to a local hotkey, it will continue to perform a local action and not be applied to the Citrix viewer window. In my case Ctrl+Alt+F1 opened my local GPU management pane, so I switched it to Ctrl+Alt+F3, which was unused. Before applying the policy, try the key combination you choose on your local machine to see if it has any effect. If it does, try another.

Also note that this policy does NOT have any dependency on the “allow hotkeys” registry setting. Even if all other hotkeys are disabled, this one can be used.

Finally, if you (like me) prefer to control Workspace via registry keys rather than GPOs, here are the registry keys that this policy will put in place. If you add these registry keys to your machine you will enable the hotkey:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Citrix\ICA Client\THK\ToggleFullScreenEnabled: 0x00000001
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Citrix\ICA Client\THK\FirstKey: “Ctrl” (Ctrl, Alt, Shift)
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Citrix\ICA Client\THK\SecondKey: “Alt” (Ctrl, Alt, Shift)
HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Citrix\ICA Client\THK\ThirdKey: “F3” (F1, F2, F3)

HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Policies\Citrix\ICA Client\THK\ToggleFullScreenEnabled: 0x00000001
HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Policies\Citrix\ICA Client\THK\FirstKey: “Ctrl” (Ctrl, Alt, Shift)
HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Policies\Citrix\ICA Client\THK\SecondKey: “Alt” (Ctrl, Alt, Shift)
HKLM\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Policies\Citrix\ICA Client\THK\ThirdKey: “F3” (F1, F2, F3)

For testing’s sake, a .reg file that will put these keys in your registry (and therefore enable the hotkey) can be downloaded here. Just run it on a machine with Citrix Workspace App for Windows installed, then launch a Citrix virtual desktop and try it out!