As an update to my previous post about wishing full-screen mode were more ubiquitous, I wanted to share a combination of apps and tips that's been working well for me (thanks in part to the great comments over in that thread).
Tools you'll need
- MenuShade - App that dims the blaring Menu bar at the top of the screen
- SpiritedAway - App that automatically hides inactive applications after n seconds of your choosing
- BackDrop - App that adds an image or solid color "between" the current/focal application and the Desktop. Designed for taking cleaner screen grabs, but ideal for hiding all those clickable icons
- launch all three of your new apps
- hide the Dock by selecting "Turn Hiding On" (in the Dock Preferences)
- set your preference in MenuShade -- I suggest you crank the "Shaded Brightness" far as you can stand to the right (completely hiding the menu bar until you mouseover)
- set SpiritedAway to clear inactive apps quickly (mine is set to 60 seconds)
- set Backdrop to "Display: Color" and pick black (or another very dark color)
- in the pulldown menu of SpiritedAway, add "Backdrop" to the list of "Excluded" applications (this ensures SA doesn't, in fact, spirit your solid background away)
- open a single document in the app of your choice (and optionally close all configuration windows, palettes, etc.)
Ta-da. A serviceable full screen mode for minimizing distraction and the myriad attractive nuisances in your world. Maybe not as fancy as the built-in functionality in MacJournal, DevonThink, or Ulysses, but close enough for government work -- and usable across the range of apps in your life.