I've been using Opera for more than a decade, and I've definitely come to rely on it to a degree that even doing basic browsing with other browsers feels like trying to run a marathon with a ball and chain around each ankle.
But what exactly is it that makes Opera the best browser for me personally? I decided to find out, so I started writing down things I rely on when browsing with Opera. I started out slowly, and then gradually added them as I thought of them. It has been a few months since I started this list, and I have gradually added to it as I remembered things that I normally take for granted and don't think about.
Not all of these are necessarily exclusive to Opera, but the combination of features and functionality and the fact that they may not work the same way in other browsers means that I could not possibly replace Opera with another browser just like that.
Does anyone else have a list of features that define Opera to them? …
The list, in no particular order:
Opera can handle my 100-200 open tabs with ease(blog post) Single-key shortcuts (especially 1/2 to cycle tabs, and z/x for back and forward)(blog post) Mouse gestures(blog post)
- Flip forward/back (AKA Rocker Gestures?) with the mouse (hold one mouse button down while pressing the other, e.g., hold right/click left to navigate back)
- Ctrl+Alt+click to save images
- Using the Windows panel to manage tabs, and real-time searching/filtering
- Links tab/panel to show all links on the current page – with real-time filtering
- Bookmark/bookmark folder nicknames
- Ctrl+Z to undo all sorts of things,
including reopening closed tabs(blog post)
- Instant back navigation (which preserves form data; does not always work)
- Ctrl+Backspace to move up one level without having to focus the address bar
- Customizable shortcuts (Ctrl+N should open a new tab, thank you very much)
- Tab stacking
- Content blocker
Only load plugins on demand(blog post)
- Site-specific settings (being able to disable on demand plugins for specific sites, for example)
- Speed Dial (obviously)
- Ctrl+# or typing # in the address field to open that Speed Dial
- "Reload Every…" (for both Speed Dial and pages)
Wand: Being able to store and use multiple usernames/passwords for web sites(blog post)
- Fast Forward in directory listings of images, and to log in using the Wand
- Starts downloading a file right away; does not wait for save location to be chosen
- Right-click link, then "Open" overrides "target=blank"
- Popups open inside the program rather than outside
E-mail client which handles my nearly 800 000 messages (mails+feeds) with ease, and also magically sorts my mail for me(blog post)
- E-mail client allows me to handle links in e-mails properly (open instantly, and can either view them right away or open them in the background)
Newsfeed (RSS) reader with folders where opening parent folders in a tab also shows messages from all child folders(blog post)
- Ctrl+Shift+Enter in a form submits it to a new tab rather than in the current tab
Shift+Click closes a tab(blog post) Installer: Self-contained (portable/USB) installation(blog post)
- Full text indexing of the cache, making it possible to search for page contents
- Confirm exit
- Paste and Go
- Creating custom searches from search fields
- Being able to assign keywords for searches ("g Google This", etc.)
- Fit to Width
- Unread tab indicator (folded corner)
- "Right-click > Frame > Open in background"
- Popularity score in history viewer
- Opens the last active tab instead of moving to the left/right (optional)
- Open private tab or window
- "Apply changes" in the source viewer, or "Reload from cache" when using an external editor
- opera:cache with filtering of domain, file size, and file type
- User CSS
- Open all bookmarks in a folder
Update, July 5, 2013: After the release of Opera 15 I have started keeping track of what can already be done in the new Opera version(s). Look up the "12Transition" tag on my blog. I will also cross out items on the list above, and link to the relevant blog post.