My Three Favourite Opera Features

I’m an Opera user, and one of the reasons I am is that I can control my browser entirely from the keyboard. I think everyone uses browser keyboard shortcuts, and in a lot of ways Opera has similar functionality to other browsers, but it also has keyboard spatial navigation, meaning I can jump to the next element in whichever direction I choose. Opera also has per-site preferences, which actually make the web usable for me.

General Shortcuts

Ctrl+t: new tab
Ctrl+w: close tab
Ctrl+q: close window

1: next tab
2: previous tab

Ctrl+g: disable stylesheets (toggle)
Ctrl+i: disable images (toggle between on, off and cached-only)

Spatial Navigation

Spatial navigation is the one thing which keeps me on Opera over everything else. I mean, I liked the browser when I was still a mouse-user, it is lightweight and fast and standards-compliant (which is more use nowadays as more of the web is standards-compliant!). In Opera, to navigate spatially, you hold down shift and press the arrow keys, and it moves the focus between form elements and hyperlinks in the direction you wanted to go. I surf entirely without a mouse, and I’m a web developer by trade – it’s pretty powerful.

Edit Site Preferences

screenshot of site preferences

Opera can remember a whole raft of settings for each site, so you can set which sites have scripting or plugins enabled, which can pop up windows, which can set cookies, and so on. You can also control your user agent on a per-domain basis which is really handy for sites which tell you to upgrade to Netscape Navigator 4.75 or later if you visit using Opera! For me this is useful because sometimes the JavaScript on a site renders it unusable, and I have JavaScript on by default. Opera remembers which sites I use without JS and so I always see them that way.

Are you an Opera User? What’s your favourite feature?

5 thoughts on “My Three Favourite Opera Features

  1. Sorry this comment isn’t actually about Opera, but if you’re a vi* user you might find the Firefox extension Vimperator interesting :)

    I find browsing without using my mouse significantly more efficient. I particularly like vimperator’s f command (follow hint), which allows me to type f

    (I won’t try and tell you about Firefox extensions that do the other things you’ve mentioned as I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, and I’m not sure they actually exist for all of the cool features you’ve mentioned)

  2. Matt: A few people have mentioned vimperator and it’s on my list to check out. Not confident at controlling the whole of firefox from the keyboard but I’m happy to discover it’s possible. Thanks for the recommendation :)

  3. I’ve used Opera off and on for a few years, but hadn’t heard of it’s spatial navigation before – thanks.

    I’d been using the Vimium Chrome extension recently but that seems more focused on moving around the screen and tabs as opposed to elements on the actual page e.g. links and form elements as spatial navigation does.

    It looks like it’ll come in really handy, especially for configuring stuff in Drupal’s admin interface :-)

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