Why I Love Opera, My Browser

I’m in love with Opera.

Not the art form, but the web browser. I use Opera instead of Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari. Why? Here are eleven quick reasons.

  1. Speed Dial – when you open a new tab (Opera pioneered browsing in one window, and its tabs are legendary) you can click any one of nine thumbnail-size images which link to any pages or websites you choose. It’s rather like having up to 9 home pages. (Tip: Typing the speed dial number in the address bar, or Ctrl+#, will go to that speed dial entry.)
  2. Opera has lovely mouse gestures which include this gem: Hold the right mouse button and click the left one to go back. Do the opposite to flip forward. You’ll love it!
  3. Custom searches – I love this… Right-click in any site’s search box, be it Facebook.com, AlanHogan.com, SongMeanings.net, or your favorite torrent site, and click “Create Search”. You will add it to the search box next to the address bar (with the favicon or little site picture automatically added) and can optionally assign it a keyword; for example if you give facebook.com search the “fb” keyword, then typing “fb alan h” into the Address bar (and hitting Enter) will search for me on Facebook.
  4. Sessions: Automatically resume browsing where you were when you closed Opera, if you like, whether it crashed or not (and it does not crash often – less than Firefox). Every tab, every window, every time.
  5. Whole-page zooming! Opera has long had great zooming of the whole page, including text, images, and even embedded video. Use the +/- keys on your keyboard, the View menu item, the Eyeglass button by the search box (left of the Address bar), or your keyboard or mouse’s Zoom slider (if you have one).
  6. There is need for most Firefox extensions (which make Firefox more powerful but often slow it down and sometimes crash it). Many of them are simply duplicating features Opera has had since before Firefox was even released and are therefore unnecessary. For example, sessions, the save-bookmark-here feature, Adblock, Greasemonkey, and many other common extensions’ functionalities come standard.
  7. Fast-forward and rewind buttons: Rewind takes you back to search results or an original page in that tab. Fast-forward automatically guesses the next page, such as when you are viewing a set of photos, and goes to it. (Tip: Spacebar will scroll down and then activate Fast-Forward.)
  8. Drag-and-drop images out of any web page onto your Desktop or any folder to save them there instantly!
  9. The built-in BitTorrent client makes it easy to get started downloading torrents.
  10. If you are familiar with Adblock for Firefox, Opera has a similar feature. Right-click in the document, then choose “Block Content” and click any obnoxious ads to ban them once and for all.
  11. It’s free (it used to cost money, but no more!) and fast (with quick program load and page load times; to me, it feels lighter than any browser I have tried). And it has great standards support (with strong JavaScript, CSS, XHTML, RSS, SVG, and DOM implementations.)

All I can say is, until you have spent a week with Opera 9, you won’t know what you are missing! Feel free to ask for help if you run into any small problems! Get it here: www.opera.com

(Edit: Very rarely, some websites will block Opera with a message that it is an unsupported browser. If this happens, go to the offending site, go to Opera’s menu, Quick PreferencesEdit Site Preferences… • the Network tab • and check out the drop-down labeled Browser Identification! Try settings until it works. Opera can likely take it, the website just doesn’t know it. If so, write the website’s maintainer and politely point this out; send them a link to this page, too!)

Updated August 1, 2007.


June 16th, 2007. (Updated: August 01, 2007 at 11:59am.)
Alan Hogan (@alanhogan).  Contact · About