27th January 2012, 11:06 PM #1
The Opera Thread!
The Opera Thread · Updates, Tweaks, & More
Welcome to the NBR Opera Thread! Opera is an incredibly powerful browser with nearly-limitless customizations. This thread is a small project of mine that aims to make it easier for NBR's Opera users to share various tips and resources with each other.
I do include the Opera Basics and Opera Extras sections to help new users get familiar with Opera's unique interface, shortcuts and unusual features, but the main focus here will be on the many tweaks and improvements that can be made. For a more complete guide, see the official Opera Help (press F1) or see a listing of unique Opera features.
The latest version of Opera is 12.15. See changelog.
For the latest dev version, see Future of Opera below.
Migrating to Opera
Moving to Opera from another browser is easy, you just have to know where to look. Click on the Opera Menu button > Settings > Import and Export, and choose the format of the data you want to import.
The next step is finding the functionality of your old browser in Opera. There's many ways that you can do so: read on, especially for the Opera Extensions, Widgets, Custom User Scripts section below.
The uniqueness and flexibility of Opera's layout is at once its largest advantage and greatest disadvantage. I'll overview the main components, but focus on the unique tweaks and ways to fully utilize these features. For detailed descriptions of the toolbars, see here.
Opera has more available toolbars than any of the other browsers, although most are disabled by default. Pressing Shift + F12 > Toolbars tab will let you choose which ones you want:
- Main Bar
- Bookmarks Bar
- Tab Bar
- Status Bar
- Address Bar
- View Bar
- Navigation Bar
- Start Bar
I've bolded the ones that you will probably want to enable for the most fluid and familiar interface; keep the rest disabled. Since there's so much packed into the Address Bar and Tab Bar, I'll go into a bit more detail about those two.
Opera's Address Bar
Opera still retains a search box, but there is no function there that cannot be replicated in the address bar. You can initiate a search by typing any string in the address field and hitting Enter; this will search using the default search engine. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.
You can initiate a search in any search engine by typing an abbreviation followed by a space and your query. So, a Wikipedia search for Lenovo would go something like this:
b = Bing f = Find in current page g = Google h = Find in browsing history w = Wikipedia
- Accessing the Start Bar
The Start Bar is quite handy, and I recommend enabling it. Its default behavior is then to appear once you click inside the address field, and from there, you can access your home page, go through your bookmarks and top-visited pages, and any other buttons you may add yourself.
Opera's Tab Bar
As the first browser to adopt tabbed browsing in 2000, Opera's tried quite a few experiments since then. Here's a brief list of different features that you may or may not be familiar with from other browsers:
- Tab stacking
You can create a group of tabs by simply dragging one tab onto another. An arrow appears to the right of this tab group, allowing you to expand or collapse the stack. It's a very useful feature when you have a ton of different tabs open.
- Visual tabs
I personally don't find it very useful, but you can display your tab bar as a row of pretty thumbnails previews if you choose. Right-click on tab bar > Customize > Enable Thumbnails in Tabs and then drag to desired size.
- Duplicate tabs
This isn't anything special, but sadly, it still requires an extension in Firefox. To duplicate a tab in Opera, right-click the tab > Clone Tab.
- Private tabs
Private browsing (no history, no cookies, etc) is available in Opera on a tab-per-tab basis, unlike Firefox, IE9, and Chrome. Right-click on the tab bar > New private tab. Also note that Ctrl + Shift + Q simultaneously closes all private tabs in Opera.
- Relocation of the tab bar
The tab bar can easily be moved to the left, right, or bottom of the window by right-clicking on the tab bar > Tab Bar Placement and selecting the appropriate option.
- Undo closed tab
The convenient trash can on the right side of the tab bar allows you to reopen closed tabs and popups, and as far as I know, there is no limit to the history as long as Opera remains open, so the list can get quite long at times.
For further tab bar help, see here. Also, note that many tab behaviors can be customized in Opera Preferences: Ctrl + F12 > Advanced > Tabs (ie, choosing to open new tabs next to the active tab by default).
Opera's Speed Dial
For Speed Dial help, see here.
For more information on the Panels side pane, see here.
Reading Mail & News Feeds in Opera
For more information, see the Opera pages on the Mail and News Feed features.
Do Not Display Mail Panel Sidebar Automatically
Since Opera 11, the default behavior for the mail/newsfeed sidebar is to open automatically whenever you read your mail or feeds. If you would rather disable this auto-opening, you can easily change the setting in opera:config (covered in more depth in the Opera Advanced Configuration section). Go to opera:config in the addressbar and search for Auto Mail Panel Toggle, uncheck the setting, and press Save.
Syncing Opera Across Computers
Opera Link allows you to sync many aspects of your Opera configuration to any other Opera install (including Opera on your phone!). As this synchronization is now secure and encrypted, passwords can also be optionally synced. After creating a free My Opera account, you can configure Opera to synchronize your settings there.
A similar feature was added to Firefox recently as well, called Firefox Sync.
In my opinion, Opera's built-in mouse gestures are the single most useful feature for fast browsing. To activate mouse gestures, go to Ctrl + F12 > Advanced > Shortcuts > Enable mouse gestures. Here's a tutorial on mouse gestures.
Many of the simple commands are intuitive, although you may want to adjust the shortcuts for more complex commands. This can easily be done in the same place as above. When you modify the default Opera Standard mouse gesture setup, a modified set is automatically created for you, allowing you to experiment with settings and revert if necessary.
Current Opera Quirks & Fixes
- Small text in Gmail compose and Amazon
Caused by a fix to the font-handling in Opera; however, some sites (including Gmail & Amazon) have manual font-specifications for Opera that worked before the fix. Until the sites fix the issue, a CSS fix is possible for Gmail, and you can mask Opera as Firefox to fix Amazon (go to Amazon, right-click Edit Site Preferences... > Network > Browser Identification > Mask as Firefox).
- Amazon "Look Inside" feature not supported
There's no reason Opera can't work with this feature. Again, masking Opera as Firefox will fix this issue (go to Amazon, right-click Edit Site Preferences... > Network > Browser Identification > Mask as Firefox).
- Text in PDFs is transparent with custom transparent skin
This is an issue if you use a custom Opera skin that makes use of transparency (IBIS inspire Transparent, Z1-Glass, V7-Glass, etc). Unfortunately, there is no fix (it'll have to come from Opera) as of 11.61, and the only workaround is to force PDFs in Opera to open externally (go to Ctrl + F12 > Advanced > Downloads and click on applications/pdf in the list, click Edit... and choose Open with default application).
Opera Advanced Configuration
You can always customize Opera using the Ctrl + F12 and Shift + F12 preference panes, but what if you want to change a setting that's not available?
Go to opera:config, and you'll be taken to a full list of many advanced backend settings. Use the Quick Search box to find the setting you want to change.
For a list of different settings you can tweak in opera:config, see Tamil's amazing compilation here.
Incidentally, here's a more complete list of useful "opera:___" commands that I won't go into depth about:
opera:about opera:cache opera:config opera:debug opera:drives opera:help opera:history opera:historysearch opera:memdebug opera:plugins opera:webdatabases opera:webstorage
Another place to go to fully tweak Opera's advanced settings is the AppData directory, with Opera's .ini configuration files. In Windows, this is located at
A fair warning: You can do some serious damage to your Opera install by messing with these .ini files. Be careful, and always know what you're doing. Also, do not edit these files while Opera is running!
Making Opera Faster
There's some tweaks that you can make to Opera so that it'll run even faster. Some of these are especially useful on slower computers and subnotebooks that have weaker CPUs.
- Disable sliding animations
Go to opera:config > Enable UI Animations and uncheck and press Save. This will eliminate the slow and sometimes resource-intensive sliding effects with tab changes, Speed Dial rearrangements, etc.
- Disable smooth scrolling
Press Ctrl + F12 > Advanced > Browsing > uncheck Smooth scrolling. This is more up to personal preference, but smooth scrolling is more CPU-intensive for certain web elements.
- Selectively load plugin content
Press Ctrl + F12 > Advanced > Content > check Enable plug-ins only on demand. This has both speed and security benefits, and is akin to Flashblock and NoScript for Firefox. Most commonly, Adobe Flash content is not loaded until you click the play icon, allowing you to load some pages much faster.
- Block ads
For more details, see below Adblock in Opera section.
Opera Extensions, Widgets, Custom User Scripts
With custom userscripts akin to GreaseMonkey for Firefox aficionados (added with Opera 8), then a built-in widget engine (added with Opera 9), and later extensions (added with Opera 11), there's many ways to customize Opera. If there's a feature you like in Firefox/Chrome/IE, chances are, you'll be able to emulate it in Opera.
Opera Extensions are not quite as versatile as Firefox's implementation, but they still make extending Opera's feature set far easier than before. Manage your installed extensions by pressing Ctrl + Shift + E. Browse and install extensions here. Here's a list of extensions that I personally find very useful:
Similar to the WOT products for other browsers, this extension allows you to customize when you're alerted to user-rated dangerous sites.
- YouTube AdsFree
Tweaks some of the settings in YouTube and removes both the pop-up and mandatory-play ads.
- FastestTube - YouTube Video Downloader
Adds download buttons to YouTube videos, allowing you to download in a variety of formats.
- Opera AdBlock
Blocks ads in Opera. See Adblock in Opera below.
Other popular and well-loved extensions:
- Tab Vault
This extension saves tabs that you want to view for later, without keeping them open and wasting resources.
When hovering the mouse cursor over a link, this extension shows an image preview.
- Gmail on Speed Dial (Speed Dial)
Adds a speed dial box with a quick preview of your Gmail inbox. Note that this extension will not sync across Opera Link even if speed dial sync is enabled.
- Gismeteo Weather Forecast (Speed Dial)
Adds a box with weather information to your speed dial. Note that this extension will not sync across Opera Link even if speed dial sync is enabled.
- Facebook Preview (Speed Dial)
Adds a box to your speed dial displaying Facebook notifications, messages, etc. Note that this extension will not sync across Opera Link even if speed dial sync is enabled.
Opera also has a built-in widget engine. Many of the functionalities that were added through widgets early on are now replaced by Opera Extensions, but there are still some nice widgets worth checking out:
A fun and relaxing virtual aquarium game, although updates have been discontinued. It has spawned many more up-to-date clones, however.
- touchtheSky Weather
A simple and good-looking weather widget. Another good alternative to a weather Speed Dial.
Again, Extensions have replaced most of the previously-maintained userscripts, but there may be some good ones yet. Here's a few places you can look for Opera userscripts:
More well-known as a GreaseMonkey script repository, Userscripts does have some Opera userscripts as well.
Adblock in Opera
There are several ways to block ads in Opera. In the past, the built-in manual adblock function and custom userscripts were the main methods, however, extensions now make adblocking far easier.
- OperaAdblock (Extension)
Personally, I like this adblocker. It works well for me, and it's a silent, no-worries, no-tinkering solution that allows you to select various blocklists.
- Adsweep (Extension)
- NoAds Advanced (Extension)
A third adblock extension that I personally have not tried, but is also quite popular.
- Manual adblocking (Built-In)
Right-click on a webpage > Block Content... to Left-Click which elements on the page you want to block. By default, Opera generates a wildtype; a Shift-Left Click allows blocking of a single URL element. This method is good to patch up any uncommon stray ads that adblockers miss.
- Flash Block (Built-In)
In addition to blocking graphic ads, it is also possible to block Flash and other plugin-type ads in Opera. This has the added benefit of ensuring that battery-draining Flash runs only when you want it to run. See Selectively load plugin content above.
Opera Skins are basically browser themes, and all of them can be found at the official Opera website.
You can choose which skin you want to apply at Shift + F12. There, you can also change the icon size (not all skins may work properly with this feature) and color hue. Also note that the Enable special effects box is a legacy item that does not really do anything with current Opera skins.
Here are a few up-to-date skins that I feel are particularly well-made:
- Opera Stratiform Mod
Most icons are Opera-default, with tweaks to the interface to get rid of rounded corners. This works especially well if you have a custom visual skin for Windows with straight edges. Currently, I use this skin.
- 11 Clean
Another moderate deviation from the Opera look, this time with more rounded edges.
- IBIS inspire
A red-accented Opera skin with a more custom look.
Note: There is currently an issue with skins that make use of transparent toolbars that makes PDFs render transparent text. See Current Opera Quirks & Fixes above for details.
The Selected Skins Are Ugly
If none of the skins seem to suit your fancy, you can try making your own. The Opera Forums are a good resource, as are these two guides (1, 2) by an Opera skin-maker (note that they are not updated for the latest Opera releases).
Customizing Toolbars & Shortcuts
In addition to applying skins, you can rearrange Opera's toolbars and buttons for a personalized configuration.
Customizing Opera's Toolbars
Toolbars can be customized in the Appearance control panel, at Shift + F12 > Toobars. Although there's limited rearrangement of some toolbars, you can shuffle around buttons as you please to customize the existing toolbars.
Buttons can be added at Shift + F12 > Buttons, by dragging the buttons to existing toolbars.
Maximizing Screen Real Estate
Depending on your configuration, Opera's toolbars and buttons occupy very little screen space. If you want to maximize your browsing space, there's a few things you can do, though.
- Decrease/get rid of empty space above tab bar when not maximized
When an Opera window is not maximized, there's a massive glassy gap between the tab bar and the top of the window. True, the same thing exists in IE9 and Chrome, but the waste of some 20 pixels is a shame.
Fortunately, there's a way to get rid of that gap: go to opera:config > Chrome Integration Drag Area (use the search function) and change the value to 0 or 1 and press Save. Maximize and then restore the window, and the new setting will be applied.
Adding New Buttons to Opera
You can even add new buttons that aren't included in the Opera standard install. A great list of these buttons can be found here (I actually have a Reload Every... button to replace the stock reload button on my Opera config).
Directions for adding and removing buttons is summarized at the Opera Wiki link above. Quoted below:
How to add a button - Simply drag a link to your toolbar and try it out (hint: drag upwards). A requestor will pop up asking whether to install the button (displaying the command the button performs to confirm 'what-it-says-is-what-it-does').
How to remove a button - Right-click on the button you would like to remove and click "Remove From Toolbar".
How to edit a button - Here's a quick way to change a button without editing toolbar.ini: instead of dragging from the installer pseudolink (as it actually is) to a toolbar, bookmark it. The button-defining URL is captured - rightclick the bookmark, and select Edit Properties: by editing what's in the bookmark's URL field you can change the icon or modify the action - then drag from the bookmark to a toolbar to install the changed button. (Bookmarked installer URLs also provide an unlimited and organizable way to store buttons.)
List of Opera Resources
Here's a list of different websites useful for Opera users; most are mentioned above as well.
- Tamil's Opera FAQs, Tips, Tricks & Tweaks
- Opera Wiki
Opera Wiki's Custom Buttons List
- Official Opera Forums
Future of Opera
Opera 12.00 has been released as a final version! Get it at the link above!
Opera Developer Blogs
Follow Opera dev work at the Opera Desktop Team's blog. Additional Opera dev work on experimental and possible future features can be found at the Opera Labs page.
Future of the Opera Thread
This thread is very much a work in progress, as there's so much more I still want to add to it. Also, I would love to hear what else you guys would like to see!
- Opera's Speed Dial
- Opera's Panels
- Reading Mail & News Feeds in Opera
To be expanded soon
- Opera's Address Bar
- Making Opera Faster
- Table of Contents
28th January 2012, 12:28 AM #2
Re: The Opera Thread! - DRAFT
Sweet! Looking good.
I started using Opera a few months ago and like it a lot. Firefox and Opera are my goto browsers. While I have chrome and IE installed, I rarely if ever use them.
And during that HP Touchpad firesale last year, my brother said that of all the browsers he tried, Opera was the one that got through and completed the orders.Brand new, secondhand.
Dividing by zero since 1971.
28th January 2012, 01:27 AM #3
Re: The Opera Thread! - DRAFT
I use Opera too and i think this a great idea. Tab stacking and mail are the two features i use the most.Current: Precision M6700¦3720qm¦2x240GB SSD + 256GB mSATA¦32GB DDR3 1600MHz¦Firepro M6000
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28th January 2012, 02:37 AM #4
Re: The Opera Thread! - DRAFT
Thanks for the encouragement guys, especially to justinkw1 & 2.0™ for the HTML design elements. I spent a bit of time modifying the colors and making an Opera O graphic for it
I want to have the thread mostly completed before making it public, but that's going to take a bit of time since I do have midterms coming up. If you have any suggestions, just let me know!
28th January 2012, 04:27 AM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
- San Diego, CA (USA)
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28th January 2012, 09:31 AM #6
Re: The Opera Thread! - DRAFT
Good luck on those midterms.
BTW, thanks for the credit but the truth is, I merely stood upon Justin's shoulders.Brand new, secondhand.
Dividing by zero since 1971.
28th January 2012, 10:41 AM #7
Re: The Opera Thread! - DRAFT
Woot! Nice thread Midnightsun. I am using the Opera Next (12.0) Alpha... It's surprisingly stable.
30th January 2012, 02:36 PM #8
Re: The Opera Thread! - DRAFT
Possible nominee for the next Amazing Content Contest!
4th February 2012, 05:01 PM #9
Re: The Opera Thread!
The Opera Thread! is now live to the public!
It's in a semi-finished state, with more work to be done to the few listed sections and expansion of several others. Feedback/suggestions are welcome!
4th February 2012, 05:07 PM #10
Re: The Opera Thread!
Wow, an awesome thread
I'll definitely look into Opera. How does this compare to the default Safari 5 in OS X? Is it faster, uses less resources... etc?• ThinkPad T420 | i3 2310M | NVS 4200M | M3S 128GB | 8GB 1.35V | 18 Cell Batt. | 14" 900p •