Steam Full Screen Mode – How to Activate (& why it’s not working)

If you’re a long time Steam user, you’ll probably know that most Steam games are best played in full screen mode. However, this doesn’t always actually work, and it may not default to this when you open up a new game.

For those that are having full screen issues with certain games, here’s what you should do to get your game to run properly.

How to Turn on Full Screen Mode on Steam

The majority of games you’ll find on Steam are full screen mode automatically. However, there may be odd occasions where your Steam client may not show a full screen.

If this is the case, the first thing to do is press F11 – this is usually the quickest way to turn full screen mode on within the Steam client.

If this doesn’t work, you can do this within your in-game settings. You should be able to select Full screen mode from your Video Settings (or your Display settings).

Finally, the other method of activating full screen mode on Steam is to use the big picture mode button, which you can find in the top right of your display.

This will immediately activate full screen mode on your device. If none of these work, then you’re going to have to do some troubleshooting to get things working again.

Steam Full Screen not working – 3 Reasons

Display Scaling

If you don’t have Display scaling set to 100%, you may find that your main screen will not play in fullscreen mode – you may also not be able to take screenshots.

Related: How to take screenshots in Steam

Fortunately, you can check this quickly within your computer settings by going to Settings then System.

After this, click Display. Here, you just need to make sure that all of the different options are set to 100%.

Compatibility Mode

If you’ve tried all the above, you may want to check whether you’re in Compatibility mode.

This is mainly relevant to Windows users or those that are playing older games. First, simply head into the Compatibility tab.

Then, you can select Run this game in compatibility mode. For Windows users, this may resolve the issue for you.

Resolution problems

The only other reason why you may be having issues with your Steam games running in fullscreen mode is due to the resolution on your monitor.

You can click into the Settings of your device to browse through the different resolution options available – in a Windows computer, this is done by going to Start > Settings > System > Display.

On a Macbook, you can do this by going to System Preferences > Displays > Display Settings.

Running through the different options whilst you’ve got Steam open may allow you to fix things, so you can then go back to playing games online.

You can always try restarting Steam too to see if resetting the Steam client resolves the issue.


It is irritating when playing Steam games in Windowed mode, especially when playing your favourite games.

In conclusion, most games will usually go into full screen mode when you open them in Steam, so this isn’t typically much of a problem you have to deal with.

However, if your Steam game isn’t in full screen mode, you can usually activate it either by using your hot key (F11) or using your Display Settings. As a last resort, you can install a fresh Steam client.

See Also: How to Reinstall Steam

So when you launch Steam, make sure to use either the keyboard shortcut or prepare to select display settings instead.

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Edward brings years of experience in a variety of different fields including online marketing & No-code app development, and he's been investing in stocks and cryptocurrency since 2016. Outside of work you'll usually find him watching movies at the local cinema or playing games in the Apple Arcade.

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