I've been using the Opera Web browser since v4, back when its boasts was that it could fit on a 1.44MB floppy disc. In addition to being not-Internet Explorer and not-Firefox (the two browsers with the largest market share back then), it had a developer mode that displayed all the text of a Web site. This was especially useful for reading sites that otherwise required one to sign up.
After v12, Opera had a split inside the company, with the founder going off to start up the Vivaldi browser, saying he wanted to return the browser to its Opera roots. Vivaldi is still around but I find it sluggish compared with Opera, and so use it only when I need a not-Opera browser.
Following the split, the Opera company needed new engine for displaying Web sites, and settled on Blink, the Web rendering engine developed by Google for Chrome; later, Microsoft did the same with its Edge browser. Blink is kind of like Parasolid or C3D: it is the kernel that does the basic work, with developers adding features on top.
Which gets me to the the point of this post: Opera has developed some pretty nifty stuff on top of Blink, most of which I don't care about. It does, however, have three functions that I find invaluable. Here they are:
Copy and Insert
Back when travel was common, I would blog CAD conferences live. One onerous task is inserting photos and other images into the blog commentary. Opera makes this easier by recognizing the most-recent image I've copied to the Clipboard during the Insert Image operation.
Here is how it works:
1. Copy an image to the Clipboard. I use Windows Snapshot Maker v3.5, an old version, because the newer ones are overladen with features. (Do you know how hard it is to make a screen grab of screengrab software?)
2. In the blogging software running on Opera, click the Insert Image button (or equivalent in your software).
3. In the Insert Images dialog box, click the Choose Files button. Notice that Opera displays the image in the Clipboard, as well as the three files that it downloaded most recently. (To choose any file on your computer, click Show All Files to access the File Manager.)
4. Chose the Clipboard image, then click Insert Image(s) (or equivalent in your software) to place the image in the blog posting.
What this means is that I no longer have to save an image as a PNG file to disc before inserting it into the blog. Saving steps means faster blogging.
Editing Speed Dial Images
This feature is really obscure, but if you are as heavy user of Speed Dial, then it can be handy. Speed Dial displays large icons on the "desktop" of Opera. Think of it as a visual bookmark. Here is part of mine:
Notice that some bookmarks show as words, some as images. Images are really handy, such as in the third row, to identify the highway cam locations. For most others, though, I prefer the name of the site, as too many images become conflicting.
I was setting up a new laptop with Opera and found that every Speed Dial image came up as an image from the associated Web site. Some of them were pretty annoying to look at day after day. It turns out that Opera lets you customize the image for each Speed Dial entry. (I just learned this last week.) Here's how:
1. You add a site to Speed Dial by clicking the heart icon.
2. Notice the tiny arrows on either side of the image, the Wikipedia logo in this figure. Click the arrows to walk through the images Opera found on the Web page. Opera lets you use any of them as the Speed Dial icon.
Okay, this last one is somewhat controversial. We all know what a pain passwords are, and given the controversies surrounding password software that keeps track of them for you, I use the tried and tested method of maintaining passwords in an old-style address booklet.
It works pretty good, except for the times a Web site demands that I change my password and then I forget to update the address booklet. Or I sign up at a new site and forget to update the address booklet. Taking the Web site's offer to reset the password is a pain, because then I need to invent yet another new one. Et cetera.
Like all other browsers, Opera records passwords (if you allow it to), but then also permits you to see them. Here's how:
1. Click the big-red O, and then from the menu choose Settings.
2. In the Settings dialog box, look for the Search Settings field on the upper right, and then enter 'password'. This is a speedy way to get to the settings that involve passwords.
3. Click on Passwords. Notice the Saved Passwords section. All of your saved passwords are listed, and are all blanked out with a row of dots. Notice that each password has an eye icon next to it.
4. To reveal a password, click on the eye icon.
5. Click the ... overflow menu button to reveal several options, such as Copy Password, which copies the word to the Clipboard.
6. Final trick: click the ... overflow menu across from Saved Passwords. The Export passwords option saves all passwords as a CSV file (short for 'comma-separated values').
7. You can open the CSV file in a spreadsheet program like Libre Calc.
There is, unfortunately, no option to import this file into Opera running on another computer.