Super UserMost valued features of Opera?
[+23] [47] Peter Mortensen
[2009-07-22 11:26:55]
[ opera features ]

What feature do you value the most in the Opera web browser (Windows, Linux and MacIntosh) ?

Please only one feature per post - you may post several times.

If possible please also provide a description of the feature for those who don't know what it is.

A reference to a (YouTube) video demonstrating the feature would be a plus.

[+25] [2009-07-22 13:30:36] sykora

My favorite feature of Opera is unique to the extent that it's preventing me from switching to any other browser. The feature is Spatial Navigation. The ability to navigate links and other elements on a web page using only the keyboard in an intuitive manner, that doesn't require a small number or hint displayed next to each one.

Simply use Shift and the arrow keys to move to the closest link in that direction.

It's a lifesaver, it's unique and it's indispensable.

Yes, that is my favourite feature as well. - Peter Mortensen
(2) I don't know how to use it. Any link about how to learn? - Igoru
Yes, this is very awesome. shift + arrow keys or ctrl + left/right - Shadow2531
Did it swipe that feature from Lynx? - David Thornley
This function is indispensable on laptops to make for snappy surfing when all one has is a trackpad. - Daniel Andersson
Wow ! - didn't know that, yet i love Opera. Once again there is something wrong in the way it promotes or its features/options or makes them accessible... - allanrockwell
[+25] [2009-07-22 13:57:45] Ant

The incredible speed with which Opera responds when you click the back button (or, more likely make one of the back gestures).

A bonus for advanced users who are familiar with using User JavaScript in Opera:

Opera uses some heuristics to make sure that the history navigation keeps all the scripts working. This means that some sites don't use the super-snappy history navigation mode.

If you're sure that a particular site doesn't need the full page rebuild, there's a method you can in UserJS that tells Opera that fast history navigation will work:

opera.setOverrideHistoryNavigationMode( 'fast' );

If you're sure that all the sites you ever visit will work with this mode, you can change the History Navigation Mode setting to 3 (fast mode - the default, 1, is automatic mode). You can get there by typing the following into Opera's address bar:


Note that setting that option is actually very unlikely to work for all sites you browse... Opera's knowledgebase has more details [1] about why this option is necessary.


I've found Opera works hardest to respond to the user, whatever it's doing. IE often decides that finishing what it's doing is more important than listening to the user. - staticsan
Very true - although the other non-IE browsers (from my experience) like listening to the user as well.. - Ant
[+24] [2009-07-22 11:44:05] Vincent Van Den Berghe
(2) Lame video, the kid seems to think it's called "Oprah". - DisgruntledGoat
(2) MOUSE GESTURES!!! GRRR!!! <-- As you can see I consider mouse gestures the most useless invention ever made. They are as unintuitive as keyboard shortcuts, and are even more likely to give RSI. - Macha
(1) Mouse gestures aren't meant to be intuitive. Like keyboard shortcuts they are for speeding up interactions for experienced users. - Matthew Lock
Avid gesture user since their introduction in 5.10. They've worked like a charm ever since - until recently when the developers broke the gesture detection algorithm just before releasing Opera 11... I pray that they will get their thumbs out of places and re-fix it soon. - Daniel Andersson
[+22] [2009-07-22 11:56:06] Alex Rozanski

Speed Dial [1]! It's a way of providing quick links to commonly visited pages, which are customizable (unlike Safari's Top Sites).

It was introduced in Opera 9, with a max of 9 pages, but this has been increased to a maximum of 25 in Opera 10 to allow different layouts, making more use of the available space dependent on resolution (for example, I find the 4 x 3 layout better for my MacBook because of the widescreen screen).

I also really like the shortcuts; on OS X it's ⌘+1 - ⌘+9 (for sites 1-9) and Ctrl+1 - Ctrl+9 on Windows - this makes it easy to open up all my commonly used sites when I open Opera.

Here's a screenshot:

Speed Dial in Opera


Is there a shortcut for the thumbs after 9? - random
No, unfortunately not. - Alex Rozanski
How is having 25 tiny screenshots remotely useful? - DisgruntledGoat
(1) Because it's an easy way to get to 25 different sites that you use regularly at the click of a button (or tap of a key combination) - Alex Rozanski
(1) What I meant was how can you tell apart 25 tiny screenshots? It took me at least a minute to figure out what all those sites are, and I visit half of them very regularly. It's much quicker to use the bookmarks menu - you don't even have to open a new tab either. - DisgruntledGoat
[+21] [2009-07-30 08:34:20] Juha Syrjälä

Zooming that actually works correctly. It not just increases/decreases font size like Firefox.

(8) Firefox had full zoom since v3. And IE since v7. Granted Opera was first though. - DisgruntledGoat
(1) This is my number one Opera feature, and I'm also using what other browsers still don't have: my new pages open at 150% zoom automatically. Also, I prefer having zoom dropdown and choosing zoom directly when I want to jump from 100% to say 200%; works much better than pressing - / + 10 times. - Domchi
"Since v3"? It still is a v3, and it only released last summer. - hyperslug
I was referring to version 3.0, which was released in June 2008. - DisgruntledGoat
I have firefox 3.6 and zooming still doesn't work correctly. Zooming image creates weird lines and other undesired artifacts. - Juha Syrjälä
[+19] [2009-07-24 10:46:56] DisgruntledGoat

Fast back

Opera caches pages in memory (not just the code, but the fully rendered version) so that when you go back they load instantly. No other browser comes close to this. Combined with Opera's Rocker Gestures (right+left click, left+right click) and its generally fast load times, makes for super-quick browsing!

@DisgruntleGoat - for clarity reasons, I took away my identical answer, since this one has more votes, and took away comment too, as it was not relevant anymore. You can take away yours as well (and this one will disappear just after). - Gnoupi
[+18] [2009-08-03 13:58:19] Leftium

It's very simple to create a "custom search" so you can submit a (search) form from the address bar with a letter or two followed by the search terms. It's very useful for executing searches on sites you search often. It saves having to load the search page, first.

For example, by default you can enter "g widgets" in the address bar to search google for "widgets." You can add your own custom search by right-clicking on the input field of a form and selecting "Create Search..."

Hint: create custom searches for and^^

Custom searches are brilliant. Just define Google I'm feeling lucky custom search, and you'll have any major web site available just by typing it's name in address box. - Josip
This is truly a time saver, and it makes the whole internet experience so much more seamless. I don't have to much more than think of looking something up at Wikipedia before I have pressed Ctrl+t, "w something", enter. I still see people seriously typing or even worse: , then searching for "Wikipedia", clicking that and then on the wanted country and finally being able to search for articles. For Swedish Wikipedia, I go to "ws something" and it's done. - Daniel Andersson
[+18] [2009-07-22 11:57:14] innaM

Tabbed browsing. Yes, all the others now have that too, but with Firefox, e.g., I often end up with several browser windows. In Opera, everything is a tab.

(18) Also, opera already had tabs 10 years ago in 3.5. - Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski
(5) I like being able to control where the new tabs will be created (next to the current tab) and switching between tabs with the "1" and "2" keys. - Leftium
[+18] [2009-07-22 11:38:10] GeneQ

I consider alternative rendering modes and options as Opera's uniquely powerful feature. True you can get all the same goodness in other browser with plugins, but having it working out of the box is sometimes sweeter.

Opera allows you to tweak a page's rendering to your heart's content:

  • small screen
  • high contrast accessibility
  • BBS-style emulation
  • collapsed tables
  • styleless and imageless
  • a combination of all the above

[+18] [2009-07-22 14:30:05] Clinton Blackmore

The "Block Content" feature. It is nice to have a built-in way to remove banner ads from a site.

(2) Not as good as Firefox's AdBlock, but TBH you can block 90% of ads with ads.* and - DisgruntledGoat
Having a fully functional program instead of having to piss about with half-arsed plug-ins for something essential has to be a win. - Tom Hawtin - tackline
[+15] [2009-08-19 10:05:21] DisgruntledGoat

Fast Forward

Opera finds the next page in a sequence and you can browse to it using the fast forward button or forward mouse gesture.

Most useful on Google search pages, you can skip through dozens of results in a few seconds.

It can also be used to browse through every file in a directory listing without going back. In other words, the FF button goes Directory Listing > Image 1 > Image 2 > ... > Image n > Directory Listing

Fast Forward is neat, but I've found it easier to use PageZipper bookmarklet ( to merge sequence into one long page. - Josip
[+14] [2009-07-22 12:10:56] Alex Rozanski

Another feature I really like is the Opera Wand; this is a tool which remembers login credentials for websites, and can auto-complete them for you whenever you return. I only use it on my home PC where I know that there's not a risk of someone accessing real important data.

I also really like the ⌘+Enter (and Ctrl+Enter on Windows, I believe) shortcut. I'm not too sure whether the Wand was a feature unique to Opera when it was first implemented, and it's obviously not unique now, but I've been using it for many versions and it's a must have!

yes it is control+enter - Igoru
Okay thanks . - Alex Rozanski
(2) Other browsers have this, but don't bother making a fuss about it. Kind of like the way Macs make a fuss over "Spaces" when Linux has had it for years. - Macha
[+13] [2009-07-22 14:23:11] Mercer Traieste

Well.. it's fast!

Not exactly a feature, but this is what I like about Opera.

(1) That's one of its best features! - Nathan Fellman
[+13] [2009-07-22 11:32:27] Joey

Its sub-one-percent marketshare [1], so one doesn't often have to argue with fanboys ;-)


(1) It's a shame! . - Tim Büthe
That may well be :). I think they busted their chance to be a strong player in the browser market when they had a pay-for browser while all others were available for free. And nowadays it's usually a IE vs. FF decision. As for me, I never really got around liking Opera, despite having used it for some time. Skinned UI is a pretty good deterrent for me, though :) - Joey
(7) What surprises me more is that this post actually got upvotes. - Joey
(1) What are you talking about? Opera has loads of fanboys. - DisgruntledGoat
(1) fanboys like me =D - Igoru
Isn't this the exact opposite? The people using it are more "alternative", and thus more outspoken of their choice. - Daniel Andersson
@Daniel: You don't have to deal with them as often as, say, hardcore Firefox fundamentalists ;-) - Joey
[+13] [2009-08-21 11:36:05] pramodc84

Duplicate this tab

The new tab will also duplicate the history.

alt text

(5) Also, when saving a session, each tab's history is also remembered. That kind of consistency is very satisfying. - Josip
[+11] [2009-08-19 12:35:31] corymathews

Built-in RSS Reader

The built-in RSS reader in Opera is the best RSS reader I have used. It's really nice not having to have another program open to check RSS.

(1) +1, although I'm using Google Reader now since I can't sync the feeds across different computers (yet) - DisgruntledGoat
[+10] [2009-07-22 11:51:57] Marcel Benthin

There are no unique features left that only Opera features. But many ideas on browsing the web came from Opera, like speed dial, mouse gestures or tabbed browsing (not sure if Opera invented this, but I first saw it in Opera).

But I never foresaw mouse gestures work that well. Man, I love this Feature. I often catch myself trying mouse gestures in the Windows Explorer.

worse than trying mouse gestures on explorer is when I'm testing pages (I am a web developer) in Firefox and I try to close that page right clicking and down-right! The menu opens and then I realize I'm not using Opera XD - Igoru
The mouse gestures are the first thing I miss in IE and FF. - staticsan
Firefox has lots of mouse gesture extensions like - Matthew Lock
The varieties for Chrome/Firefox are plugins, and therefore they intrinsically have an unnatural feel, I believe. There is a small delay and other miniscule annoyances that add up to a less seamless experience than in Opera. That is, until the Opera developers destroyed the gesture detection algorithm in build 1094, which then quickly made it to Opera 11... Probably my biggest annoyance with Opera for the time being. - Daniel Andersson
Yeah... I slacked off over time and Opera didn't care(and accepted all my crapy attempts of doin' a Gesture) ... until Opera 11 and I had to relearn Mouse Gestures. - Marcel Benthin
[+10] [2009-07-22 14:06:28] Martin Beckett

The 'show images' button, great for slow pages or ones full of ads.
It's buried about 4 menus deep in IE, there is an addin for Firefox but it is unusable.

I used this constantly during my 56k days. I never surfed with images as default, only when I felt it was needed for the information. This function must have saved me a lot of time, once upon a time :-) With 100/100 Mbps, it's no longer that big of an issue, but the occasion still arises. - Daniel Andersson
[+9] [2009-07-22 11:50:10] innaM

Ability to select a URL (that was not made into a link), right-click and choose "Go To Web Address"

Doing the same on plain text will use the selected words as the search terms in your default search engine.

(1) Even better, you can add a UserJS to link it automatically. - DisgruntledGoat
Nice idea. Can you link to some implementation? - innaM
Don't recall OTOH. Check or ask in Opera's forums ( It's floating around somewhere. - DisgruntledGoat
[+9] [2009-08-19 13:10:47] yalestar

The ability to arrange and tile tabs. (I know, there's a Firefox extension for this, but it seemed slow and clunky to me last time I tried it)

alt text

Precision : The fact in general that the Opera window is a virtual desktop, in which tabs are internal windows. Thanks to that, the eventual popup window stay in the Opera "space", it won't go populate the Windows taskbar.

(1) This is one of my absolute favourite features: Opera's MDI. Sadly, it's been a bit broken since this summer, suffering from some long outstanding bugs concerning the minimize behaviour, which makes the window arrangements really unintuitive in the virtual desktop sense. The browser would benefit greatly from a) fixing this and b) advertising it as a feature so that users understood how Opera's MDI works. - Daniel Andersson
[+9] [2009-12-01 15:14:17] user9512

Closed Tabs, so you can reopen the recently closed tab without digging into history. It saved me days!

[+8] [2009-12-01 15:18:57] user9512

Resource Scalability. I frequently have 30+ tabs open and Opera still works fast and doesn't use more than 400-600 MB of RAM. Firefox gets much slower with a larger number of tabs.

[+8] [2009-08-19 12:34:22] corymathews

Syncronization. This way my work and home PC all have the same bookmarks/notes/speed dial/searches.

This hasn't been upvoted enough. It is a bit buggy, but a lifesaver for the many computers I work on. But of late, Mozilla Weave seems to work better. - trex279
[+8] [2009-07-24 08:29:03] Gnoupi

Opera Unite [1], easy and fast way to host a file server, webserver, media player, chat, photo gallery, directly from your personal computer. (No more hosting on obscure distant servers to show photos to family, or share a file...)


+1 it's just a good feature - martani_net
Lifehacker gives a good rundown of how to use it here:… - Millhouse
[+8] [2009-07-22 11:57:21] Sliff

The Copy to Note (Ctrl+Shift+C) functionality, very useful for quickly storing content off a page for later reference without having to open up another application or bookmark the page.

Didn't know about this, +1. - musicfreak
[+8] [2009-07-22 12:26:29] Marcel Benthin

I often use the "Go to parent directory" command. It's not available via the UI but you can use the mouse gesture "GestureUp, GestureLeft". Pretty helpful sometimes.

Wow... didn't know this. Thanks a lot. Makes Opera much more awesome :) - trex279
[+8] [2009-07-22 14:24:55] MetroidFan2002

I personally love Opera Dragonfly, the web editing helper tool that comes with Opera. You don't need to download any special features or anything to get it.

(1) And Dragonfly has come a long way since it was first introduced. - staticsan
[+7] [2009-07-22 11:54:07] innaM

May seem like a tiny, little detail, but Opera will follow a link only after I have released the mouse key. This has probably saved me days because I didn't follow links that I didn't really want to follow.

(2) Firefox 3.5 here does exactly the same. Besides, following a link should never do any damage - that's what forms and POST are for. (At least that was the idea - before the web devs discovered <a href="#" onclick="location = 'blah';"> and such things...) - grawity
How about wasting two seconds of my time? That's quite some damage over the years. Nice to hear that FF does the same thing. - innaM
(1) Well you wasted way more than two seconds posting that comment... ;) - DisgruntledGoat
[+6] [2009-07-22 14:34:34] Clinton Blackmore

The panels. By hitting F4, or View -> Toolbars -> Panels, I can bring up some useful information. The one I use most (being a person who often had multiple windows open, each with two dozen tabs), is the Windows panel, where I can select a number of open pages and close them all easily. The links panel is also often handy if I'm trying to download several things from one site.

I didn't know about this one - thanks for sharing. (To activate it: one may have to press the Plus icon and then select the item "Windows" in the pop-up.) - Peter Mortensen
Custom panels are also a great feature. For example, put inside a panel, and you have a quick access to online english dictionary. BTW, I always put panels on right side of screen, because that way much of the web site remains stationary when panel is opened/closed. - Josip
[+6] [2009-07-24 08:35:16] LachlanG

I really like the way email is stored in the Opera mail client. There are no folders but everything is indexed so you can find anything instantly by typing a few search terms.

But how do you separate attachments from messages? - random
(1) You can save them to disk of course but I don't believe you can selectively delete them from received messages. - LachlanG
Well there are folders, to the end user at least. Opera still uses Inbox/Sent and can separate accounts. - DisgruntledGoat
[+5] [2009-08-01 15:10:32] community_owned

Ability to search in the browsing history (previously opened web pages).

HOW-TO: enter the following in the address bar and hit enter:


Then enter the words to search for in the search input field and press the "History Search" button.

(1) I'm sorry but Firefox's method is so much easier: being able to search right from the address bar. And you can always press Ctrl + H and start typing, if you have a huge list. - musicfreak
And wait... and wait if you have a bunch of history and a slow compy. - Nathaniel
[+5] [2009-07-22 14:28:30] Clinton Blackmore

Text resizing/zoom. I love that it is only a few keypresses (Shift-Cmd-Plus and Shift-Cmd-Minus on my Mac) to increase (decrease) the font size. I will often set it up to 150 to 200% to make for easy ready when I'm not sitting directly in front of the computer.

[+5] [2009-09-22 17:28:16] hyperslug

Smooth Scrolling via middle click

It's very granular and can scroll 1 pixel at a time (even sideways).

The latest versions of the Firefox, Chrome and IE still don't have this right, though FF is close.

[+5] [2009-10-22 19:02:08] user14982

How about the fact that most - if not all - of these features are built in?

What I like is "create follower tab" - a new page in which you can open the links you click in the original one. Of course it's nicest when you have the two tabs side by side - with Opera being an true MDI browser organizing pages this way is a piece of cake (tile horizontal). A nice way to keep a document's index (often at the top) and it's contents side by side.

@avisser: how can this "follower tab" be opened/created? - Peter Mortensen
go to opera:config#UserPrefs|ShowWindowMenu and enable the view menu, then it's the third choice from the top. You can also tile your pages from there. - user14982
[+4] [2010-05-18 18:33:11] Quai

Copying parts of a hyperlinked text is a very nice feature. Example; Try to select 'select' inside this sentence. [1]


Indeed, I forgot this is not the "usual" behavior with other browsers. However, it can make "dragging the link" harder, even if rarely needed. - Gnoupi
[+4] [2009-07-22 12:50:29] Axxmasterr

The mouse gestures feature is one that I find particularly useful.

I started using Opera because at the time, all of the other browsers seemed to have a persistent problem of going to 100% CPU for a period of time when visiting certain sites. Once I got accustomed to the mouse gestures, they made it quite easy to do certain things very quick and efficiently.

(1) I believe that culprit for 100% CPU load is Flash, and I had that problem in Opera as well for some time. - Domchi
Did updates to flash ever fix this? - Axxmasterr
[+4] [2009-08-19 03:50:33] pramodc84

BitTorrent - No need to use a separate torrent client application!

(2) Except Opera's torrent client sucks, unfortunately. - DisgruntledGoat
(4) DisgruntledGoat: Sure, it sucks - if your aim is to distribute your free software collection or down some 50TB stuff. But if I encounter a torrent link and want to get that file off the BitTorrent network, it doesn't suck at all! In fact, opening a MegaTorrentUltraManager application that HyperOptimizes and autosorts my downloads would really suck for that purpose. - Ilari Kajaste
[+3] [2009-10-22 19:04:20] user14982

I also like "open link in background" very much. It's in the right-click menu, you can also configure middle-mouse cick to it. You can keep on browsing the page you're on while opening up the pages you also want to view.

[+3] [2010-01-26 23:46:45] Eikern

Inline search

The ability to search through the text or the links within a page using . or ,, respectively.

(1) Thanks, I didn't know about this feature. - Peter Mortensen
[+2] [2010-03-01 23:05:21] Resistance

No one mentioned one of the killer features Opera has. Ever spent half an hour replying to someone's post in the forums, hit submit button to see message saying that you session have expired? With other browsers your cursebox gets richer, while Opera user just smiles and hits back button. Yes, Opera preserves forms entries in tab history, real time saver!

[+1] [2009-12-01 15:23:05] user9512

Customizable UI. The default UI setup is (imho) very poorly chosen, but it can be customized a lot.

I always get rid of unnecessary toolbars and buttons and move the tab panel to the right.

[+1] [2010-01-22 02:45:56] Tyr

The "g \text" to search on Google for \text. I also have chem and elem set up for when I'm doing chemistry homework and a few more for coding in various languages. I'm so used to it that when I use Chrome [1], I end up typing "g " even when I'm not trying to.

It also allows me to remove the Google search bar and have more room for custom buttons (like the ones I have that increment the last number in the URL, for pages that fast-forward might miss).

I know that Internet Explorer has this feature as well now, so when is it going to work well in Firefox?


Firefox can do this: you basically right click in a search form on a web page and select "Add a keyword for this search". Then you can enter that keyword and some text in the address bar to perform a search on that web page. - Matthew Lock
So they do have it, it was just hiding from me. - Tyr
yes, it can also work in Firefox. See also this question here on Super User:… - Peter Mortensen
[+1] [2009-09-01 15:17:53] user1129

The Notes and History panels. Firstly they are both built-in and not some un-stable add-on.

The History panel, with quick find, sorting, By Site/By Time, is the simplest way I've seen in any browser to find a specific page you didn't bookmark but visited last week.

[+1] [2009-09-22 15:08:21] ssollinger

Not really a feature as such, but the main reason I'm using Opera as my main browser and the reason I switched to Opera in the first place is the layout of the interface, and more generally how userfriendly the interface is: Everything is exactly in the right place, with a minimum of mouse movements necessary. In other browsers I need to move the mouse all over the place, e.g. refresh / stop button on the right, back/forward navigation buttons on the left, home button somewhere else, ... In Opera everything is together and is in exactly the right place (next to address bar).

Other features that improve usability are the jump to previous site (next to the back button), Opera sync (so bookmarks are always the same on all PCs), RSS reader, mouse gestures, navigating one level up, wand passwords, and many more that have been mentioned by others. And if everything breaks and a site doesn't work with Opera (not very common), simply right click and choose "Open with..." to open the site with another browser

[+1] [2009-09-22 16:13:03] CodeByMoonlight

I love adding lots of custom buttons from the Opera Wiki, especially 'Kill' and 'Smiley Identify', and the way you can move just about any button or option to almost anywhere else :D

[0] [2009-09-22 16:58:48] community_owned

I like to park my Speed Dial pages on Forums I frequent multiple times in a day. I set the auto-update to around 5 minutes and all I have to do is browse my Speed Dial to see if there's any new forum posts for all sites. I know there's other notification options available but this works for me well.

[-17] [2009-08-19 12:04:44] tnbrewer

The best feature? Un-installing Opera for a better more reliable browser! There is nothing in Opera that I can't get in other more stable browsers.

(2) Well, that's argumented and valuable. - Gnoupi
(2) Please explain how Opera is unstable? - Macha
(1) I don't know how you managed to crash Opera. It's one of the most stable programs I've ever seen. - efotinis
+1! This is a good feature. Compare it to IE, for instance. - Nathaniel