Opera is a free web browser developed by Norwegian company Opera software that's available for both PCs and mobile devices. Though it's nowhere near as popular as Firefox or Google Chrome, Opera is a comprehensive web browser that offers a host of features, plus a huge list of extensions.
In this guide we'll take you through the features that Opera has to offer, and explain what they do and how best to use them (Windows PC only).
Once you've downloaded, installed and opened Opera on your PC, you'll be welcomed with two pages. One will ask you if you want to make Opera your default browser and the other one will ask you if you want to block annoying ads. It's up to you whether you want to make Opera your default browser, but I highly recommend that you choose the block ads option. If not, this can always be done later on.
The first time you use Opera, you'll be presented with the so-called "Speed Dial" page which presents a list of chosen websites, which will vary from country to country and a Google search bar. You have the option to add or remove any site of your choice on this page. Unlike other browsers, Opera does not display a home page button on the top toolbar, but displays the "Start Page" button which displays the speed dial page.
By default, Opera will load the last webpage you have visited once you close and reopen the browser. If, upon opening Opera you need to load a set page or pages (such as Google) you can do so through the menu, which we will show you how to do a little further down the line.
Let's get started!
The toolbar contains the menu option, back and forward buttons, the refresh button, the start page button, the address bar that displays the URL and number of ads blocked (if enabled), the option to add favourite websites via the heart shaped icon, and the ability to synchronise your bookmarks with other devices you have.
If, for example, you click on the heart icon and bookmark a favourite website of yours you have the option to enable "show the bookmark bar" which will display a bar just below the URL address box which allows you to select your favourite websites quickly. You can then add websites to the bookmark bar by clicking on the plus icon on the left-hand side. All other bookmarks will be stored in the bookmark folder which can be selected via the "menu" option.
The menu contains a host of options that allows you to customise Opera. These include:
New Tab as the name suggests, opens a new tab at the top of Opera. This can also be performed by right clicking on the toolbar or right clicking on the opera icon on your windows toolbar.
New Private Window
A new private window, also known as private browsing, automatically deletes browsing history once the browser is closed. For added privacy you also have the option to turn on the VPN which hides your real IP address and allows you to access websites that may be blocked in your region.
Page option includes the following when a website is open in Opera:
Find in page
Displays a small search box that allows you to search for particular word or term on the website you are surfing.
Allows you to save the webpage which can be viewed off-line.
Add to speed dial
As you can probably guess this allows you to add or remove websites to the start page.
Move bookmark to bin
Deletes the current site you're viewing, if it has been added to your bookmarks.
Allows you to view the website you are surfing in full screen without the toolbar, et cetera. Click on the exit fullscreen button or press F11 to go back to normal.
Zoom allows you to increase or decrease the size of the webpage you are surfing. By default it is set to 100%.
Print allows you to print the webpage you are surfing. Naturally, you will need a printer to execute this function.
Speed dial allows you to view and organise the websites you have added to the start page.
News will display the latest news in your region and around the world. You can add your own news sources by clicking on the "add sources" button on the left-hand side.
Bookmarks displays a list of favourite websites you have saved for quick access. You can add new and organise all your bookmarks via this option.
Synchronise allows you to synchronise Opera with other devices you have such as a smartphone. This will import all your favourite bookmarks onto the new device, et cetera. You'll need an account for this feature.
Download shows you active or completed downloads you have downloaded from other websites, et cetera. By default, downloads will be downloaded to your downloads folder on your Windows PC. You can change the download destination via the settings option.
History shows your web browsing history, such as the sites you have visited, et cetera. You can delete your history via menu > more tools > clear browsing data.
Settings will open a new page and give you options that include:
This option gives you the option to block ads without downloading a third-party ad blocking extension. If you click on "manage exceptions" you can delete several sites that have been preapproved to display ads such as Google. This ensures you won't encounter any annoying Google ads while you search or use YouTube.
This option allows you to choose how Opera starts. By default, every time you close and reopen Opera, it will open the website you last surfed. If you want Opera to open a custom page every time you launch the web browser then select "open a specific page or set of pages" and click on "set pages" and enter the website/s you want opened every time you launch Opera (example google.co.uk).
Allows you to choose the download destination on your PC when downloading files through Opera. By default, this is set to your downloads folder on your Windows PC.
This allows you to put a tick in the box which will display the bookmarks bar.
This allows you to customise Opera and give it a more personal look. There are several themes available via this page, or you can click on the "get more themes" button and search for more online.
This allows you to enable battery saver or have it set to automatic. For more details about battery saver click on the "learn more" button.
Cookies are used by websites usually to remember your browsing history or passwords, et cetera. You can choose whether you want to block cookies completely or delete them every time you close Opera. By default, Opera is set to "allow local data to be set", but I recommend that you set it to "keep local data only until I quit my browser".
As already explained this allows you to synchronise Opera on another device, such as a smartphone.
Exactly the same as on the basic page.
This allows you to choose a default search engine you want to use from the combined search and address bar. By default this is set to Google, but you can also choose Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Amazon, Bing and Wikipedia. You can also manage search engines by clicking on the "manage search engines button".
Opera will ask you when you first launch the browser for the first time if you want to make it your default browser, you can also change that setting here. You can also import your bookmarks and settings from other browsers through this option.
Allows you to change proxy settings or whether you want to use a proxy for local servers.
Allows you to choose your default language such as English (United Kingdom). You can also add dictionaries for spellchecking websites, et cetera through this option.
Exactly the same as on the basic page.
Gives you options to enable mouse or rocker gestures, et cetera. You can click on the "learn more" button for for more information.
Gives you options such as ability to show the bookmark bar, show tab previews, show system colour on the top bar, cycle tabs in most recently used order and enable the search pop-up when selecting text.
Exactly the same as on the basic page.
This option allows you to turn animations on or off if it affects your PC performance, or if it doesn't have enough power.
Exactly the same as on the basic page.
If selected, displays several more additional settings that can be applied to the settings above.
Allows you to choose the font size, page zoom or custom fonts on websites, et cetera.
You can choose whether to display images (recommended) or whether not to show any images on websites.
Some websites use keys when you fill out forms, including online purchases, for increased security and authentication. You can choose whether to enable or disable this function.
Some websites use additional plug-ins such as Flash, to stream video content, et cetera. By default, Opera is set to "detect and run important plug-in content", but you can change this.
As we all know pop-ups can be extremely annoying. By default, Opera is set to "do not allow any site to show pop-ups", but if you like you can change this.
Video pop out
This feature allows you to shift your video frame to the side of your screen, so that you can truly multitask: browse the comments, look for something in another tab or even prepare a presentation without missing out on the video action. This feature is enabled by default, but you can switch it off if you like.
Some websites may ask for your location, to deliver relevant contents, such as the weather. By default, Opera is set to "ask me when a site tries to track my physical location".
This option allows you to enable or disable websites that may want to show you a notification on your desktop. By default, Opera is set to ask me when a site wants to show desktop notifications".
Some content services use machine identifiers to uniquely identify you for the purpose of authorising access to protected content. By default, this option is enabled.
This option allows you to choose to use the built-in microphone in your PC or an external USB plug-in microphone, et cetera. You can also choose whether websites need your permission to use your microphone or not.
This option allows you to choose whether you want to use the built-in web cam in your PC or an external one, et cetera. You can also choose whether websites need your permission to use your camera or not.
MIDI full control
Option that allows sites to use MIDI audio software or hardware on your PC. By default, this option is set to "ask me when a site wants to use system exclusive messages to access MIDI audio devices.
This option allows sites to finish sending and receiving data after they've been closed. You can turn this option on or off.
Enables additional settings to the above features.
Privacy & security
Also found under the basics menu. A great feature that allows you to block ads without adding any additional extensions such as Ad Block Plus.
This option allows you to clear your browsing data. You can choose whether you want to delete your browsing history, download history, cookies and other site data, catch image and files, passwords, autofill form data and third-party services data. There are also other options such as sending Opera feature usage information to improve and crash reports.
A Free built-in proxy provided by SurfEasy, Inc. This handy feature can enable you to access websites that may be blocked in your region of the world. Locations include Canada, USA, Germany, Netherlands and Singapore.
A feature that allows you to enter addresses or even credit card details with one click on certain websites. Click on the "manage autofill settings" to enter the addresses or credit card details you use.
A feature that automatically saves passwords so you don't have to enter them manually on chosen websites.
By default, this option is set to "allow sites to ask to become default handlers for protocols".
Gives additional settings to the above features.
This option allows you to add and manage existing extensions. Extensions are essentially small third-party add-ons that improve the function of Opera. These may be anything from ad blockers to a video downloader. You can find a list of extensions for Opera at the following link – https://addons.opera.com/
Opera Turbo essentially compresses the sizes of webpages so they load faster on your PC and use less bandwidth. This feature is particularly useful if you have a slow Internet connection. This option isn't available if you have enabled the VPN.
From this menu you can clear your browsing history and import or organise your bookmarks.
Other options from the menu include the help, about opera and the exit button.
If you need any additional help regarding the use of Opera or any of its settings, please visit the following link - http://help.opera.com/