Why Opera Browser Sucks

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page documents some usability problems of Opera web browser as of version 10.5 for Windows.

Opera Browser Problems

No Drag and Drop

You cannot “drag and drop” images to a folder on desktop to save it. They insist on using different keyboard shortcuts than every browser.

Non-standard Keys

For example, Ctrl+Tab or Ctrl+PageDown is for switching tab. But in Opera, it pops up a tab menu instead. Normally, i can quickly switch to different tabs and stop at the one i want, visually looking at each tab for fraction of a second. With Opera, i have to read the titles or small thumbnails.

The Ctrl+w key lets me close a tab in IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, but doesn't work in Opera. ( fixed)

Ctrl+Click lets me open a link in a new tab in all browsers. Not so with Opera. It opens the new link in the current tab, same as simple click.

Non-standard Tab Ordering

Also, when closing a tab, instead of showing the tab next to the closed one, Opera tries to be smart and jump to some other tab, something like the one opened before the one you closed. Very confusing. Same thing happens when switching to next/prev tabs using their 1 and 2 key shortcuts on the numerical keypad.

Non-standard Zoom-in Keys

Ctrl++ does not zoom in.

( fixed)

Does not support Scroll-wheel Side-push

Nudging my mouse's scroll wheel to the sides should scroll window horizontally. It does not work in Opera, but it does in IE, Chrome, Safari, Firefox. While Opera is supposed to suppose some fancy “gestures”. Gesture my ass.

( fixed)

Weird Numerical Keypad Key Behavior

The number keys on the numerical keypad do weird things. For example, 7 seems to zoom out to 20%. 8 zooms to 120%. 5 turns the current tab into a window, inside the main window. 1 and 2 is for switching prev/next tab.

The 1 and 2 key for switching tabs is convenient. You can repeatedly press one of these keys to get to the tab you want. However, if you landed on a empty page (new tab), the key starts to insert text in the URL field.

Weird Fancy Features

In 10.5x, it sports some unusual sidebar widgets, like “Unite”, “Notes”, and some Sync. And also a trashcan?! Am i supposed to spend a hour study what these are?

Yeah, supposedly all these can be customized. But every time i tried to look at its preference settings, it's nearly impossible to do what i want, because it sports its own fancy structure and UI too.

Non-standard Preference Setting

I tried to use Opera few times every year since 1998. Every time i got frustrated. In the latest version, 10.5x, even the graphical user interface is different.

When Apple or Google Chrome sports novel GUI, i didn't have any frustrating experience. I can still do what i want, sometimes more conveniently, and am able to quickly tweak preferences for things i don't like. Even if the browser doesn't support what i want, i can quickly know that fact.

With Opera, it's near impossible to even know whether it's possible to set keys or GUI to be familiar standard. Supposedly Opera has advanced customization, but it's impossible to find out how to do it. Even the documentation is impossible to find or non-existent.

Evangelist Håkon Wium Lie Idiot

No wonder Opera's market never grew. For several years around ~2002, it was plagued by being a ad-ware. But since they removed that in 2005, still nobody uses it. Since about last year, Google Chrome came, and Safari came to Windows. Both already have about twice the users of Opera. And i noticed several times in recent years that the Opera guy Håkon Wium Lie, best known for his CSS work and advocacy, is a Internet Explorer and Microsoft hater. In every opportunity he badmouths IE for this and that. Here's one of his article badmouthing IE.

[Opera to MS: Get real about interoperability, Mr Gates By Håkon Wium Lie. At http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/11/hakon_on_ms_interroperability/]

Opera Pain FAQ

No drag'n'drop, but, images can easily be saved, copied, or used on the desktop by one left and one right click on them.

When i browse porn, i often like to save lots pics. Drag'n'drop is easier.

Who needs a keyboard shortcut?

keyboard shortcuts is very convenient especially for power users. For example, emacs, vi, are all about keys. Even in mouse intensive apps, such as 3D Modeler Blender, or photoshop, gimp, InkScape, when you become a pro you tend to go for the keys. Because, keys are precise and brainless operation, while mousing requires the harder aim and eyeballing decision making, and is slower.

Even though Opera's Ctrl+Tab pop-up scheme is non-standard, but i don't have problem using it.

Ctrl+Tab to switch is convenient. Because i can keep pressing it to switch among tabs quickly, and stop at the tab i want. Usual practical speed is perhaps viewing 6 tabs per second. I normally have about 10 to 20 tabs open in each of Chrome and Firefox. (my 2 daily browser, open at all times) This many because when you do research on a topic, you have a lot pages.

Also, i've got system-wide key macros so that Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab are single keys (they are the / and * on number pad). This works in all browsers but stops dead in Opera.

The conventional hotkey to switch tabs on Windows are {Ctrl+Tab, Ctrl+Shift+Tab} and or {Ctrl+PageUp , Ctrl+PageDown}. All browser support one of these shortcuts, usually both.

In my key macro app (on Windows it's AutoHotkey), i can easily adjust to one of these. With Opera, it takes some 10 min or more to find out what key is what for each operation i have macro for… the end result has been that i just didn't bother and abandoned opera for the possibility of using it more often.

Ctrl++ does not zoom in, but + and - are all you need.

Thanks. Yesterday while i was frustrated and writing this, noticed the standard zoom in key Ctrl++ doesn't work. However, apparently Ctrl+- does zoom out. So naturally one'd think Ctrl++ should work too. So, you can see where this confusion came from. The point here is that the non-standardness adds up. You end up spending days just to learn the tool first, before you can use it fruitfully.

Opera does not support side-scroll by scroll wheel, but who needs it? Opera has a “Fit to Width” button that performs miracles in eliminating horizontal scrolling.

Side scroll is important. There are popular sites that relies solely on side scroll. For example, the social network site Plurk, for example:

plurk site 2020-04-11 mvyxc
Plurk site screenshot 2020-04-11.
[source http://www.plurk.com/pepelo16]

The plurk site made mouse wheel to scroll horizontally, but there are other sites, that are designed to be horizontally scrolled, either for artistic effect or for practical purposes (e.g. history line, a series of photos, panorama).

All things said, for scroll wheel mouses that has left/right push feature , it seems stupid not to support the functionality of the device. The fact that all other major browsers do support it, indicates it's not some tech hurdle.

One wonders why opera doesn't support it. Is it just sloppiness, or they actually intentionally decided that they didn't want to support it?

What i can't really believe is that they don't support drag'n'drop for saving images. That's the last straw that broke the camel's back, and made me to write my essay. At first as usual i thought the feature is hidden in some preference that i need to turn it on… but not, after searching the web a bit.

The numerical keypad as functional shortcuts keys is part of Opera, i discovered and started to use since maybe 2005 on the Mac.

I recall, few years ago when a new version of Opera came out, they removed those keys, and adopted keys more similar to Firefox. (and i was thinking: “Opera finally realized the weirdness of their keys”) But i like the 1 and 2 keys for tab switching, so i went to the preference and took a while to find a option something like “use previous opera keyset”, so i have 1 and 2 as tab switching keys.

In the latest opera 10.62, i don't know by default these are supported… maybe the reason it doesn't work for u because it was carried over from my preference settings… too lazy to dig now.

Reasons to Support Standard UI

there's a good reason to support standard, or widely adopted practices.

For example, in my case, i have system-wide key macro sets. So, i press one single key to close window or tab in any browser or other app. But when in Opera, things stopped working. So i have to adjust my macros, but then, it is time consuming to find out what's Opera's ways. This seems to be my impression in the past 10 years every year i tried.

Also, in mid 2000s i was on a low-muscled Mac laptop, so i kept a eye on cpu use for any app i use. I recall, Opera even when idle with no page loaded, will suck some 10% of cpu. I recall, all other browsers do much better. I vaguely recall the best was Camino in this regard.

Microsoft Hating

there are few messages in this thread with the common opinion of Microsoft hatred, many are ill informed. Remember, that it is Microsoft that brought the concept of adhering to standard HTML and CSS, at the time when Netscape is very busy creating blinks and LiveScript and stuff. In the early days (late 1990s), IE on the mac was the first browser to support CSS or validation or something (you can easily find it in Wikipedia on Internet Explorer for Mac or other articles about IE, web standard…).

Netscape browser, in my personal experience, in every year since IE started, are worse than IE in EVERY aspect: standard compliance, speed, features, crashiness… There are ample evidence that's still available on the web you can verify. I ranted about it, see: Netscape Crap .

IE won the browser war in early 2000s, basically got the whole market. So, they've been lazy, and thus the fact that IE has been worst browser in every aspect since mid 2005. But Microsoft has been putting more effort back to browser in past few years, with IE 8 perhaps being the first better result. (but then the slew of Microsoft haters will badmouth Microsoft doesn't matter what Microsoft do. One big controversial topic is whether IE 8 should simply stick to standard and faak compatibility to the giga billions of existing web sites. This been blogged to death.)

in recent years, several times i'm ran into Opera's guy Håkon Wium Lie badmouthing IE, and i find his attacks scumbaggy.

For example, in his article:

[Opera to MS: Get real about interoperability, Mr Gates By Håkon Wium Lie. At http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/11/hakon_on_ms_interroperability/]

He attack Microsoft for claiming to play nice yet all their pages still not valid HTML or something to that effect.

Look at opera home page now:

the above pages are not HTML valid, out of about 10 pages i just checked now (and their server seems to send wrong CSS mine type as text/html instead of text/css). Should we now launch a attack on Håkon for being a hypocrite?

Of course, many will say that IE won the first browser war because Microsoft's dubious business tactics, but i don't agree. This article might be of interest: On Microsoft Hatred .

See also: Web Browser Market Share 2010-02 .


Discovered, that in Opera, to switch to next/prev tabs in a normal way, you have to press Ctrl+F6 andCtrl+Shift+F6. What a idiocy. Or, in Opera 9.2 or before, press the 1 and 2 keys on the number pad. In Opera 9.5 or later, you have to Enable single-key shortcuts in the preference. (See: http://help.opera.com/Windows/10.63/en/keyboard.html .)

So, in AutoHotkey, i added these to be consistent with all my hotkeys for browsers. (the / and * on number pad to switch to prev/next tabs.)

;; Opera hotkeys
#IfWinActive ahk_class OperaWindowClass

; close window
$Pause::Send ^w

; prev tab
$NumpadDiv::Send ^+{F6}

; next tab
$NumpadMult::Send ^{F6}

See: AutoHotkey Tutorial

Also, after several years of hearing Opera's stupid “mouse gestures”, today i took 5 min to read up what it is. See: http://help.opera.com/Windows/10.63/en/mouse.html . Rather idiotic.

• In other browsers, you can double-click a word, then move mouse to select, where it extends by words. In Opera, double click selects the word, but then moving mouse starts drag'n'drop on that word.

• In other browsers, F6 (or Alt+d) will put focus on the URL field. Opera does not support F6.