Some apps have a "fullscreen" mode that will cause the title bar, GNOME menus and GNOME panel to temporarily disappear. This can be useful for maximizing screen real estate, or just working without background distractions. If the option is available it will show-up on the View menu.
However, even if an app is capable of full-screen mode, it isn't always shown as an option, and defining a global keyboard shortcut key will force even reluctant apps to go fullscreen. To do so, open Keyboard Shortcuts (System ^ Preferences) and look in the list for the entry that reads Toggle Fullscreen Mode. Then click in the Shortcut column of the entry and type your preferred keyboard combination (I recommend (Ctrl ]+[ A11 ]+f). Then close the Keyboard Shortcut program window, and test out the new shortcut in your favorite application. It works with nearly every application. The only ones I found didn't work were those that rely on dialog box interfaces, such as Ekiga.
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