I usually keep the default top and bottom panels in gnome, but especially on my laptop, place great value on the screen estate that I can get by hiding them. The usual way I do this is by using autohide and then setting the hidden size to 0 or 1. Mostly I dont need the panels because I can launch applications with Alt-F2 or with shortcuts. But when I need to access something from the panel, I have to mouse over the hidden panel to bring it up. The other minor irritation is that the panel may spring out when you dont really want it if your mouse wanders close to it.
In a recent post in the Ubuntu forums, it was suggested that it would be nice to set up a keyboard shortcut to show the panels when needed. Since it is easy to access the gconf-editor from the command line, it was easy to write a script to toggle the hide status of the panel. Here is a short how-to if someone is interested.
Copy this script, paste it a file and save it as toggle.sh. A good way to place it will be /home/username/.toggle.sh.
Make the script executable:
Open gconf-editor and under /apps/metacity/keybinding_commands, change the value of command_1 (or any other unused command) to /home/username/.toggle.sh.
Then under /apps/metacity/global_keybindings, change the value of run_command_1 (if you used command_1 for the script) to controlF12 or any other key combination that you want. There, you are done! Now pressing the key combination will toggle the panels to hide or show. I have tested this with metacity and beryl on gnome and it works perfectly.
Edit: 10 April 2007 - Thanks to dzv (in the Ubuntu forums) for comments and the suggestion to change the unhide delay so that the panel stays hidden.
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