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2013 - 5 - 22 / 12:57 pm / tutorials

Disable ESC in Fullscreen on Adobe AIR

Disable ESC in Fullscreen on Adobe AIR

One of the issues with building a desktop application with Adobe AIR is that there is a built in function in the runtime that will cancel any full screen mode when the user pushes the Escape key. This is mostly a functionality of Flash, but it carries over to AIR since AIR is pretty much an extension of the Flash runtime.

Fortunately when you're using the AIR runtime you can actually override the default functionality of the Escape key and keep your application full screen when the user pushes Escape. This came up in Offspring Fling because I was using the Escape key in my UI design. The user pushes Escape to return to the main menu, pause the game, or skip cutscenes, so it was a problem when escape also canceled the game's full screen mode.

The fix for this is super easy and straight forward. First you just need an event listener on the stage for the KEY_DOWN KeyboardEvent.

//listen for key down event and trigger escOverride function
FP.stage.addEventListener(KeyboardEvent.KEY_DOWN, escOverride);

Now here's what the escOverride function looks like.

private function escOverride(e:KeyboardEvent):void {
if (e.keyCode == 27) {

The keyCode for the Escape key is 27, so whenever a key is pressed the function escOverride is called. If the keyCode was 27, then the preventDefault() function will prevent the default action from being triggered. In this case, it's the "exit fullscreen" action.

There you have it! With just 4 or 5 lines of code total you can prevent your Adobe AIR game from canceling fullscreen when the user pushes Escape. With great power comes great responsibility. (Also note that I believe this is impossible in a normal swf build. The preventDefault() function only works in Adobe AIR.)


2013 - 5 - 25 3:54 AM


thx a lot Kyle :D i'm waiting your tutorial for bitmapfont


2013 - 7 - 10 12:29 PM

Kristian Welsh

Very useful little tidbit there, thank you!


2013 - 10 - 20 8:45 AM


Thanks for the info. Exactly what I needed.

A tiny improvement of the code:
It's a tad better to write:

private function escOverride(e:KeyboardEvent):void {
if (e.keyCode == Keyboard.ESCAPE) {

... there is a constant to use for this kind of comparison... it should be used.


2013 - 10 - 21 3:01 AM


Oh nice! I must've missed the keyboard constants at the time I was using this code ;)


2014 - 5 - 5 10:53 PM


It doesn't work in Flex MenuBar,
with open submenus!


2015 - 1 - 18 4:07 AM


It doesn't work in Flex MenuBar,
with open submenus!

Make menuBar.hight = 0 as it is in real Fullscreen mode and don't bother more about Esc! Then restore later if need.


2015 - 7 - 6 12:07 PM

Daniel Benmergui

Well this is useful... thanks from the future, Kyle!


2015 - 7 - 6 8:07 PM


Haha awesome! I don't know if this still works, it's been many many many years since I've used AIR x_x


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Hi! My name's Kyle, and I make video games most of the time in Denver, Colorado. Here you will find my thoughts, games, websites, doodles, and other stuff like that. I worked on Snapshot, Offspring Fling, and a whole bunch of other games. I also created and maintain Otter, a 2d game making framework. If you want to get a hold of me use the form on the bottom of the page, leave a comment, or just tweet at me. I try to post three times a week. Thanks for stoppin' by! You're the coolest.

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