Opera add-ons

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 14, 2008
Updated • Dec 11, 2012

Kavin send me an email recently asking me if there was a site for Opera add-ons similar to the highly popular Firefox add-ons website. Yes there is such a website for Opera. Add-ons in Opera are called Widgets instead and it puzzles me every time why Opera is hiding that Widgets site so perfectly when you visit the main Opera website. Can anyone tell me how you can reach the Widgets website from the main Opera website ? I really can't find the way. A search for Opera Widgets on Google reveals the subdomain that gives access to all the widgets created for Opera.

If you run Opera you can use the Widgets menu to Add Widgets which will load the Opera Widgets website as well. The main difference between Firefox add-ons and Opera widgets is the fact that Opera widgets run outside of the browser as separate windows which is sometimes a blessing and sometimes an annoyance. Take the Google Toolbar widget for Opera for instance. It runs independently of Opera which means that you can use it even if Opera is minimized. But, if you position it and make it stay on top and change the window size of Opera it will be in front of other elements on your desktop that you might need.

It's great for all kinds of things but not that great if you want to integrate an element in Opera directly. Say you want to check the Google Pagerank of a website. Firefox simply adds the information in the status bar, in Opera you have your own window floating around that is either always on top - which does mean that it will still be on top if you minimize Opera, or hidden behind new windows that get opened.

I'm not an Opera expert and it would be great if someone else could tell me if there was a way to integrate widgets directly into Opera. Or if there were some sort of add-ons that could be integrated into Opera.


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  1. cata said on February 3, 2010 at 2:15 am

    The best way to use internet is to know how to combine FF with IE and FF gives you that with IE tab. So most of the time one surfs with FF without having to worry about many annoying pop-ups, with tabs on which IE and other inspired themselves, with endless free add-ons which replace the old way of doing things (in IE one had to use 3 or for toolbars) and when one numbnut decides to create a page specifically for IE one can use Coral IEtab with IE engine capabilities and FF functionality.

  2. hex said on December 22, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Oh, come on, dude… widgets ain’t no addons, they’re just stupid “toys” instead of funcional and featured helpers… Opera fails at this point.

  3. pakistai mujra said on November 12, 2009 at 7:29 am

    simple nice. thanks a lot

  4. rayz said on December 21, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Help mee…

    Im using broadband connection and when i opened firefox browser, there is error message appear saying ‘use ie u dope’..then the firefox is auto close..what should i doo…??

  5. FantomX1 said on November 22, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    FF has never stand chance against opera, even in F 3, ff is very slow, unstable, difficult to customize and misses many features opera has as default

  6. Dwight Stegall said on June 12, 2008 at 4:40 am

    I’m using the Opera 9.5 Release Candidate and it is a vast improvemnt over previous versions. But no matter what they do to it or how many widgets you add to it. It will never be in the same league with Firefox 3.0.

  7. Florent said on April 16, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Thank you so much Rarst! :)

  8. Rarst said on April 15, 2008 at 10:24 pm


    Widgets are not equal to firefox extensions, they serve different role and have different (lower) amount of allowed functions.

    Opera has built-in content filtering system. Right-click some empty space on page and choose “Block content”. Some people put together lists of filters for this functions, just google it.

    Basically opera is just bit too careful to risk messing with ads in core functionality (firefox doesn’t dare it either but can depend on extensions and pretend to know nothing).

  9. Florent said on April 15, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Thank you Martin for these advices!

    But, I’m looking for an Opera Widget equivalent to Firefox Adblock Plus. Nothing found yet. Please help :s

  10. Manoj said on April 15, 2008 at 5:05 am

    Opera rocks!

  11. Rarst said on April 14, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    operawiki.info mentioned above is great wiki about Opera. :) Tons of info. There are actually quite a few ways to customize Opera, it’s jsut that developers strive to make it work out of the box so customization features are mostly for power users.

    1. Widgets http://widgets.opera.com/

    very simple and user friendly, developers are playing safe (unlike firefox) so functions are somewhat limited.

    2. User specified Javascript http://operawiki.info/UserJS

    Pretty high level stuff, most people don’t need it… ever. :)

    3. Custom buttons http://operawiki.info/

    CustomButtons allows you to download or create yourself (there are links to online creators) buttons with pretty much any opera function that looks and works the way you want and stick it anywhere in interface.

    For example there is “system menu” button that gives you access to all system menu stuff while it takes only as much space as one button in interface unlike standard system menu (which can be disabled and forgotten after getting such button).

    4. Panels http://my.opera.com/community/customize/panel/ and “display as panel” (or something like that) option in bookmarks

    great feature that most people totally don’t know about. Basically it allows to take any page (specially designed or even regular page, doesn’t matter) and make sidebar (were mail, history, bookmarks, etc live) panel out of it. You can also easily enable small-screen rendering mode for it that makes it fit sidebar area properly. Uses are endless – fast access for online tools, dictionaries, sites that you need to access often and fast but don’t want tab constantly open.

  12. Tobey said on April 14, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    You’re most welcome.
    I don’t have the skills/time myself to mess with JS too much but if you’re into JavaScript, you can even make Opera launch your own scripts, even on every page you view. This could at least partly compensate for some other additional functions provided by standard plug-ins. Of course, this requires some additional knowledge compared to FF plugins. Again, see the link above.

    Happy surfing.

  13. Kavin said on April 14, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Martin, thank you for your great insight. Didn’t know the add-ons were called widgets. :D

    Thanks to Tobey too for his explaination.

    My main purpose is to evaluate Opera for use in my workplace other than IE or FF. Currently i’m quite happy with FF but it does gives errors in secure web environments.

  14. Tobey said on April 14, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Martin, you can get to widgets.opera.com by following one of the links associating all Opera related websites at the bottom of the page @opera.com or using a top panel displaying all associated websites (not on all the sites however). Though, the links are kinda cramped in there.

    Opera’s widgets are meant to be run outside of the browser itself, therefore I doubt there’s any way of integrating them anywhere directly into the browser’s window. You can still add various functions and buttons to the main Opera window using either JS or Opera’s specific mini-language that can be only used within the browser. For more on this, check out this great website providing lotsa stuff anyhow related to Opera:


    As I said, due to the structure of widgets themselves being actually a miniature of a website consisting of htm/css/js/xml/img, I don’t think it’s possible to treat them as full-featured plugins, although I don’t actually even know what Fox’s plugins are based on. Nevertheless, despite some drawbacks, they can still provide valuable services/info separately from solid websites.

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