There's skimming, usually with flat edge boards, and which covers everything. Then there's spackling, usually with taper edge boards, which just covers the joints and fills up the tapers to be flush with the rest of the boards. I've just created some new rooms in a rental house I own in the French Alps, and here you can order whatever length plasterboard sheets you need from floor to ceiling ... 2.7m in my case. Imagine having to do that with 2.4m boards like in the UK! For the ceilings I used 2.4m boards but tapered on all four edges, so I was able to get away with spackling and not needing skimming. Just as well, as I am ok at spackling, but suck at skimming!