I don't want to use my trackpad too much due to a strain injury, hence I use the Control F2 "Move Focus to Menu Bar" a lot.

However this feature only works occasionally, it can work for hours and then suddenly stop working, sometimes I can fix in the Keyboard Shortcuts pref pane by unchecking and checking the "Move Focus to Menu Bar" checkbox, at other times it takes a restart of the system.

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I'm a big Apple fan-boy, and I always marvel at the cool features in OSX, this is the first time I have a Windows-esque experience with the OSX UI :(


When you're sure you've got your Fn key settings the way you want them and it STILL doesn't work:

My solution:

  1. Go back into Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts pane.

  2. For the item "Move focus to the menu bar", assign a DIFFERENT function key, other than F2. (Something you're not using, like, say...^F9...or whatever.)

  3. Now use THAT key instead.

Sounds kind of nuts, I know. And it's annoying to use a different key. But I've found that ^F2 just won't consistently work after I've been using enough 3rd party programs, particularly if they're complex. Sometimes ^F3 will also fail, and that keyboard pane can start acting a little strange on its own to be honest. This does seem to work though.


  • That seems to work! You're lifesaver, thx a bunch :) – timkl Apr 27 '11 at 7:28
  • Well, some time have past and I have the exactly same problem with this approach :( – timkl Apr 30 '11 at 17:41
  • 2
    My experience: after if fails with the "new" key mapping, switch it back to the original one, and it typically starts working again. Then I toggle between these two mappings to make it work when one (mapping) starts failing. Which is unfortunately often. – Johnny Utahh Jan 4 '15 at 20:03
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    What an absolute disaster! I'm still seeing this issue on Yosemite. – Srikanth Jun 23 '15 at 14:37
  • I noticed "Move focus to the menu bar" got turned off for some reason after upgrading from El Capitan (10.11) to Sierra (10.12) – William Turrell Sep 28 '17 at 8:07
  • I've had the same struggle with keyboard shortcuts to the menu bar (tried many different combinations).

the only one that has consistently worked is the help shortcut ⇧ ⌘ ? (shift+command+/)

from the help menu just use the arrows to navigate to file/edit/view…

  • 5
    This works, plus you can just type the command you want to find immediately. – justingordon Jun 7 '13 at 23:56

Same here: ^F2 almost never works
Workaround that works for me (without assigning new shortcut): press ^F3 and then immediately ^F2

  • I've solved this problem by mapping a keycombo with Keyboard Maestro to simulate pressing the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen. – timkl Mar 5 '12 at 19:13

I asked a question in the following link and got a hint to answer your question:


What I do is as follows:

  1. create an .app using Automator using the scrip in the above link,
  2. create a hot key for the .app,
  3. create a key stroke linked to the hot key (using KeyRemap4MacBook in my case).

It works great for me at least.

  • Or see this question for other ways to assign shortcuts to scripts. Automator applications have a maybe 100-500 ms delay at the start. – Lri May 6 '13 at 12:47

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