Useful Opera Features

Jul 12, 2008
Updated • Dec 11, 2012

Since here at gHacks we seem to be on a bit of a Firefox and Opera theme I thought I’d share a couple of things I have discovered to be useful when using Opera.


When I first began using Opera, only a short time ago with version 9.0 my first reaction to the widget options was that they where useless, and a poor alternative to Firefox extensions.

Since then however I’ve discovered what kind of uses they can actually be very handy for, and although I don’t use them a huge amount, I have a few which I really like.

These include the Screen Ruler, CSS help, Notes and Video Downloader.

Web Panels

No official integration for Opera? Well that’s fine because thanks to the awesome web panel feature you can easily get a sidebar with all your recent bookmarks.

Web Panels are a great way to get quick access to regularly used services such as twitter and Facebook. You can access this feature by going to Tools > Appearance > Panels and creating a new web panel.

Custom Buttons

Opera also lets you create custom buttons which gives you the ability to integrate some of the previously mentioned services even more. Fore example StumbleUpon, or tagging.

This website provides an easy way to create buttons in this way: Opera Custom Button & Command Creator.


A lot has been said about the new Firefox ‘Awesome Bar’, but Opera and Flock both already have similar features, although admittedly Firefox’s wider spacing looks a lot better.

The address bar in Opera can be used to search through your bookmarks and history as Opera will index all the pages you’ve visited. Sometimes I find it not as intuitive as Firefox, but it’s pretty handy nonetheless.

Let me know some of the things you like about Opera.


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  1. Tim said on December 19, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    I’m surprised that Opera does not have a Twitter panel already built. Seems like a no-brainer. How do you build one?

  2. Rarst said on August 21, 2008 at 6:11 pm


    I hadn’t ever felt urge to shift from Opera for RSS reading. It’s fast, relatively functional and no need to keep extra app open. All I need.

  3. MK said on August 21, 2008 at 7:44 am


    reading email in Opera have it advantages. since i always keep my browser open, i will be instantly noticed if there is any new mail. i no longer need to fire up an external email client every now and then. the quick reply function in Opera is a real timesaver too,

    but for RSS feeds, i’ll stick with FeedDemon. reading RSS in Opera just didn’t bring the satisfaction. its better on an external application since you don’t check your feeds every 5 minutes.

  4. Rarst said on August 19, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    >Also, RSS feeds are simple to subscribe and access with the drop down menu.

    Accessing them in integrated email client is even better. If you don’t use it just create blank email account – that adds lots of functionality to reading RSS in Opera.

  5. Char said on August 19, 2008 at 3:22 am

    Something I often take for granted, yet use on an almost daily basis is the trash can. Often I find myself accidentally closing the wrong tab or needing a previously opened page. Opera makes this so much easier. Also, RSS feeds are simple to subscribe and access with the drop down menu. Not having to install and manage multiple addons I see as a plus.

  6. Sgt Ret said on August 10, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    If a site doesn’t come up in Opera then it is a poorly designed site. I am not sure I understand the problem with hotmail. I have it set in M2 to read it along with Gmail and AIM. All work seemlessly. Gmail imap is the mode to use.
    Let’s not forget the 8 key and Ctrl 0 to enlarge and return the screen instantly. This is helpful when viewing Shorpy images.

  7. wyndham wales said on August 7, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    IE and Firefox are waging war against Opera trying to reduce its popularity. Some sites will not accept opera, but if I must use these sites, then I just switch to firefox, but when I’m done with those site, it’s goodbye Firefox, and welcome back Opera. I’m a hotwired Opera user since Opera started. There’s nothing like it.

  8. radio1ms said on July 22, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    It’s a great browser alright, but still not accepted in several of the websites I go to, and I still can’t sign into my hotmail account. I like the pop email feature about the best and speed dial. I hardly have to bookmark anymore. I have 9 speed dials handy with one click. The Mac version not quite as good as the pc version.

  9. James said on July 22, 2008 at 2:31 am

    Hi! I just like to know how I can configure my Opera 9.51 to not keep my history record. I’ve tried already to configure it the same way as my previous version of Opera (7, I guess), but every time I type an address, it keeps recording it. I really don’t want it to happen. I’ve already went to “tools\preferences\advanced\history” and set it to “zero”, but it didn’t work… I really could use some help here. Thanks!

  10. Ryan Octavianus said on July 16, 2008 at 3:05 am

    The ability to surf web pages, view feeds or emails using ‘no images/cached images/show images’ per tabs, so i can view some webpages with no images in some tabs, and some with images in other tabs :)

  11. Marc-O said on July 15, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Two things, that are mostly uncorrelated from this post at all

    1) it’s lightweight and fast.

    2) it comes with most of the essential features out of the box. Although I customize my version of opera a bit, most of what I use come with the browser itself. It’s far less than what I have on firefox, where managing plugins sometimes becomes a chore.

  12. Babs said on July 15, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Side panels, widgets, mouse gestures and showing web contents when you move the mouse over the tabs – That’s just amazing, and part of the reason I love using Opera.

  13. kftgr said on July 14, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Also check out 2d ruler

    It’s for a different purpose, but for horizontal & vertical measurements, the use of keyboard precision is nice.

  14. Mugs said on July 14, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Simply put, Opera just makes the web a lot easier to get around. Tabbed browsing has been in Opera for years and now everyone makes a big deal of how their browser does it.

    Too little too late for the other boys …Opera is years ahead of them.

  15. Jurgi said on July 14, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    A like also weather and language translation widgets. A clock is useful sometimes. Hm, proxy list helped me once.
    And mouse gestures — sometimes I try to use them under Windows Explorer, or TCmd. :)

  16. Espen André Øverdahl said on July 14, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Two words: Mouse gestures. Without them, browsing is absolutely horrible. I also love the look and feel of Opera, and the fact that you can fully customize it.

    Opera Link is really neat, too. :D

  17. joshua said on July 14, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    @MK Sorry I didn’t clarify it too well, but I did say: “The address bar in Opera can be used to search through your bookmarks and history as Opera will index all the pages you’ve visited.”

    @Tobey yeah definetly growing on me! haha, and I always use Screenruler.

  18. Tobey said on July 12, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Nice. You simply gotta love some widgets, althought they don’t provide as much functionality as plugins can. Screen Ruler would definitely be one of my favorites <3

  19. MK said on July 12, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    correct me if i’m wrong, but Opera address bar remember website’s contents; while Firefox only remember the URL.

  20. eRIZ said on July 12, 2008 at 11:49 am

    About webpanels: you can add your bookmarks into the panel. Just check “show in panel” in bookmark’s options and that’s all. ;]

    Hmm, why don’t you mention about IRC/M2 (mail) client, DragonFly?

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