Opera's On-Page Search is superior

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 24, 2013
Updated • Jan 24, 2013

While Firefox is my main browser, I have other browsers installed on my system at all times. This includes Internet Explorer, two versions of Google Chrome, two versions of Opera and lesser known browsers such as Maxthon. Today I'd like to highlight why I think that Opera's on-page search implementation is superior to that of other browsers.

On-page search lets you search the active web page for textual contents. It is usually triggered by F3 or Ctrl-f and once you start typing, you are either taken to the first result or notice that results are highlighted in the browser. You can then use F3 to jump to the next result in line or Shift-F3 to go back.

Opera handles search the same way but offers two options that the other browsers do not offer by default. If you use F3, or period in Opera, you search for all occurrences of the entered text on the page. Opera users can tap on comma "," instead to search only link texts on the page. This can be useful if you are looking for links and not plain text hits on the page.

While that is helpful at times, it is not what makes Opera's on-page search superior. What then you ask? The way the search results are presented. Take a look at the following screenshots:

opera on-page search

google chrome on-page search

firefox on-page search

internet explorer on-page find

Sidenote: Firefox somehow does not identify the first hit on Reddit when you search for reddit with case search not activated. I'm not sure if this is a bug or something else but it is certainly weird. Searching for Reddit on the other hand includes the My Reddits hit on top.
Firefox has a highlight all feature that needs to be activated so that all occurrences of the phrase are automatically shown on the active page.

Opera puts the focus on the search results and highlights plain text and link matches with different colors. It is super easy to spot all occurrences of the search term in Opera. While Google Chrome highlights the terms as well in yellow, it is not that easy to spot those terms on the page. Firefox finally only highlights the active term and none other so that you need to browse through all terms to see all hits on the page.

It may be a small thing but it can really speed things up for you if you are searching regular in open pages in the browser.


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  1. DC Sleeper said on January 29, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I got a tip on the Opera board. To search in Opera, you cna jsut type / or . and then start typing your search terms. That works fast enough to make me satisfied.

  2. danielson said on January 26, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    @DC Sleeper, there must be a way to configure it to be the way it was before. There’s a guru in Opera forums who can help you i am sure! (forget his name but he’s almost always first to post).

    Personally, i like the way you can set Firefox to find as you type and F3 to go to next result. Don’t usually expect a search to be done across different tabs in one shot but that is indeed an interesting feature!

    1. danielson said on January 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      This is probably closest to Firefox option to ‘search as you type in page”:
      Press . or / and then type search string.

      As per Tamil’s post here:

  3. DC Sleeper said on January 25, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Opera search IS superior. However it changed from past versions, in the respect of keeping the Find window open across pages. Say you search a forum for a word, and open a tab for each thread that had that word in it. now you need to search within each tab for the word. Used to be that you only hit F3 once, typed the search term, it found it on the page. When you closed that tab, the find window stayed open. Click onthe next tab for another thread, and hit find next nd you were there. NOW since the change you have to hit f3 again, and enter the search term.

    Why they crippled a useful feature is beyond me. The internet is ALL about search.

  4. Q said on January 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm


    There is some information about Firefox that does not seem accurate. First, Firefox should have the ability to search links. It is however, is however only implemented for Quick Find. To use Quick Find to search links. Type the “‘” character (not the “/” character) when not in a text box or embedded object.

    Also, the Firefox Find (not the Quick Find) gives an option to highlight all occurances of a search term.

    I have tested these things on Firefox 3.6.28. I am not sure if relevant things have in the much newer versions.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 24, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      You are right, Firefox has a highlight all feature which works identical to Chrome and IE then in this case. I add that to the article.

  5. Daniel said on January 24, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    That may be, but you can change the design of the results behind the “highlight all” button with your own custom CSS, which makes Firefox better than all its competitors due to its customizability. I’ve been doing that by using the Stylish-addon with one general style:

    span#__firefox-findbar-search-id { choose your own CSS here }

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Sure, Firefox is highly customizable.

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