25 Useful Features Removed from Opera 15

I haven’t blogged in years, but this seemed serious enough to mention because I have been an Opera fanboy since Opera 8.5 when the browser was made free. Fast page rendering, the latest browser standards support, a clean interface, and a host of other unique features, like mouse gestures and keyword searches, that were years before their time. Opera continued to improve this browser for years and years, and always managed to stay one step ahead. Then came Opera 15, the first colossal mistake I’ve seen them make.

Here are twenty features removed from Opera 12.16, the previous version:

1. Tab Stacking

This was one of my favourite features in Opera. If you want to group some tabs, just drag a tab on top of another, and you had them arranged in a sweet little pile. This is no longer available in Opera 15.

2. Customisable Keyword Searches

In almost all modern browsers, you can search Google by typing your search keywords into the address bar. Opera 12 took this feature a step further. Not only could you search via the address bar, but you could also define search keywords of your own. For example, you could create a “t” keyword for thesaurus.com, and then typing “t audacious” in the address bar would search for synonyms of the word “audacious”. For any search form on the Web, all you needed to do was right-click and select “Create Search”, and choose a keyword. I used to use them for definitions, wiki lookups, and even translations into French. No longer.

3. CTRL+Enter

Speaking of the address bar, in every major browser (including Opera 12), you can type a word in the address bar, then press CTRL+Enter (CMD+Return on a Mac) , and your word will be surrounded by www. and .com, and your browser will go to that Web address. This feature has been removed.

4. Home Button

For those who use Speed Dial whenever they launch a new tab, this option is nice. But for those of us who prefer to have a blank screen, this option is no longer available.

5. Some Speed Dial Options

It used to be possible to remove the Add button from Speed Dial. No longer. The Google prompt has doubled in size, even though it serves no purpose because searches can more easily be performed from the address bar.

6. Presto Engine

Opera’s custom Presto rendering engine used to make it easy for them to stay one step ahead of other browsers and support features other browsers didn’t. Now Opera is a takeover of the Google Chromium project, and its engine is a fork of the WebKit engine, meaning that improvements to their engine will be based on the WebKit project, and it will be difficult for the Opera team to go in a different direction from its contemporaries. WebKit is an excellent engine to choose, but that doesn’t make this a smart choice. Some users note about privacy concerns with WebKit, citing that information is sent to Google during casual browsing (I can’t comment on the veracity of these claims). At least WebKit is open-source.

Also as a result of the switch to WebKit, Opera now follows this odd “rapid versioning” trend. As such, it randomly jumped three versions and doesn’t specify the version on the download website (which incidentally no longer has a search feature?); this has led to some confusion, especially since upgrades to Opera 15 do not replace Opera 12.

Opera also now uses V8 as its new JavaScript engine.

7. Several Settings (Including Important Ones)

I admit to liking the new Chrome-like Settings screen with integrated search. However, there are many options that used to be customisable but now are not, including several accessibility options such as default fonts and colours. This settings screen also replaces the about:config screen, which gave far more options.

8. Tab Previews and Tab Scrolling

In Opera 12, resizing the tab bar showed previews of the tabs, and right-clicking and moving the scroll wheel used to navigate through tabs. Both features have been removed.

9. An Intuitive Bookmark Manager

I myself don’t typically use bookmarks; I simply keep common tabs open when I close the browser. However, there has been a strong backlash from the Opera user base over the way bookmarks are now handled in Opera 15. Opera 15 has moved to a Firefox-like model in that the only way to bookmark is via keyboard shortcut or a button in the address bar. However, they are only reachable by a second screen in Speed Dial called “Stash”. This screen is not shown by default if it is the last Speed Dial screen you browsed.

10-25. Other Removed Features

Here are some other annoying changes:

  1. Opera Mail used to be integrated to allow easy access to subscriptions and mail links, but now they have been separated. I can understand this choice from a performance perspective, but I can also understand the annoyance.
  2. Opera Notes has been removed.
  3. Opera Unite has been removed.
  4. There is no longer any RSS functionality.
  5. You used to be able to block certain elements from the right-click context menu, but now you must use go to the Settings screen to add an element to block, and the old urlfilter.ini files are not importable from older versions.
  6. Opera 12 allowed for custom spelling dictionaries, such as Canadian English. Opera 15 does not.
  7. The “Open in Background Tab” option has been removed.
  8. Built-in BitTorrent downloads are gone; now you need an external program.
  9. The tab bar cannot be moved to the sides.
  10. Bookmark importer does not import any bookmarks that were stored in folders. Extensions and themes also have to be reinstalled when upgrading.
  11. The status bar is gone, so any extensions that used it will have to adapt accordingly.
  12. Quick search with the “/” key. Now CTRL+F is the only option.
  13. There used to be a trash icon to keep a memory of recently closed tabs in the case that a tab was accidentally closed. This is gone.
  14. Linux support is gone.
  15. 64-bit support in Windows is gone. (Opera 15 also doesn’t support Windows 2000, but that’s understandable.)
  16. For Web developers, all the old Opera CSS vendor prefixes aren’t supported anymore due to the rendering engine being different.

There’s a more comprehensive list here of the features that may possibly be brought back to Opera, but in the meantime, we are stuck with a very feature-poor browser.

Don’t get me wrong: there are some improvements to Opera 15 due to the Chromium integration, such as running separate tabs in different processes and faster browsing. Still, literally every feature that made me choose Opera over other browsers has been removed in Opera 15, so unless Opera starts listening to its user base and re-implementing some of these features, it is likely they will lose a huge portion of their market share. This browser truly is a step in the wrong direction.

25 thoughts on “25 Useful Features Removed from Opera 15

  1. 21 and 22 really bug me. These are repeatedly used every internet session so need to be in my face one click options. Now they have wholesale removed them and now I have to faff around in the menu and submenus or doing shortcut keys… One step forward and two steps back.

  2. i installed Opera 16 try for a day or two, and then switch back to Opera 12..
    no Notes and Mail.. Boooo…!

  3. Thank you! So much of why I loved Opera was because of the feature sets they’ve mostly gotten rid of in the newer versions. I use notes and tabs extensively and being able to customize it’s look ( I LIKE every toolbar visible!) is what got me to use it over any other web browser. Now looks like I’ll be going to Firefox. With extensions. I liked that I didn’t need extensions with the base Opera web browser, but now I unless they keep the ability to at least turn on the features I use, they’ve lost me to Mozilla.

  4. There is a lot about the new Opera I hate. Bookmarks suck! Where is the menu bar? Worst of all there is no longer a setting to “clear history upon exit”. I have to clear it every time.
    Opera used to be a good browser. I stress USED TO BE. Now it is totally useles for personal use. I am dumping it for another browser that works. Opera is now JUNK!!!

  5. Yep, I totally agree! I don’t know what was the reason behind all these mistakes plus other things?! I’m working with Opera since Opera 3! Still I use 12.16 although I always setup the latest version of Opera to see any hope or not, which it has made me disappointed. I had to kill myself to fix many of the mentioned features by using extensions from Opera and also add chrome extensions to Opera. Even with all these patching on Opera Next (21), it’s far far behind Opera 12.16! Many browsers has started to use multiple engines like Avant and Luna, why not Opera?! Sometimes I think Opera team was under pressure or blackmailing by other companies! 😉

  6. I am long term Opera fan and user – at least since 1997.

    I agree some features missing in post ver.15 are total and utter failure:
    – Notes – one of the best things is gone!
    – Bookmarsk – am I old fashioned for liking to have my bookmarks somewhere

    Because of this, I am stuck with ver.12, and it’s a shame, cause I noticed while testing ver.20, that its much faster in rendering websites.

    Opera people, please get the good features back to v.20.
    Thank you in advance!

  7. I had kept from upgrading, but finally Opera wouldn’t launch anymore on Windows 8.1 so I upgraded it. I sure am unhappy I did. I’ve been using Chrome for my G-doc stuff for a while now. I still liked Opera better, but now I’m not really seeing why I’d keep using it instead of Chrome… I miss the tab grouping. I can reenable single key back and forward, but now worst thing: when I move forward to a tab that had results of a form or a post, Opera wants to resubmit it!! No!!! That was the beauty and speed of old Opera, you zip back and forth between pages with a keystroke, and they wouldn’t try and reload because you’d been there already, and Opera had everything cached. This has saved me when I am in a foreign country with no internet. But it won’t work anymore… Gah. So sad. Ah well, not much more to say. Opera is dead. I’ll move on.

  8. Oh, and the original reason I started to web search on Opera, trying to get my vertically oriented tabs back. I don’t see any plug-ins or extensions for that. And I wanted to do “control-z” to bring back this closed tab to add that missing though… no such luck, that’s gone too…

  9. I’ve been using Opera 12 on Windows 8 ever since Windows 8 came out, and it works fine for me on both my laptop (touch) and desktop (no touch). Lately, though, I have realised that websites are pulling support for Opera 12, and there are actions in Gmail and Facebook that don’t work properly anymore (e.g. updating Facebook group cover photos). It’s become so infuriating that I’ve been using Firefox more and more. I really only use Opera 12 for browsing topics that are more conducive to tab stacking (e.g recipes, travel). New Opera has been uninstalled due to its utter uselessness.

  10. I installed Opera 22 or so on my main machine where 12 started to fail, but I missed my vertically oriented tabs and tab groups so much that I tried reinstalling 12 again, and was able to get it working again on Windows 8.1. I already use Chrome for google stuff like Gmail and Google Drive, and I don’t update Facebook on this machine, so maybe I can hold out a little longer.

  11. I’ve been using Firefox for several years, but lately it started working horribly wrong, so full of glitches, bugs, crashes, excessive RAM ond CPU consumption, etc, so I’ve decided to give Opera a chance again… and what the hell did I find? Version 22 It’s like a Chrome clone. Why God oh why? What’s the point? Opera used to be so customizable, now I can’t even change the toolbar buttons. There are no good browsers anymore, they are all dead.

  12. Glad it is not just me who thinks they have messed Opera up big time. I used to use it as my main browser I even recommended it to a few friends. Now I would not even recommend it to an enemy. So many useful features, the things that set it apart have been removed, so now it is just another me to browser, and now they switched form their own Presto engine to the Webkit engine I no longer really see the point of Opera. So goodbye from me.

  13. I haven’t used opera for two years. But it was my favorite during the high school days. I could even use opera without even using the mouse!
    I decide to have a try and install opera 22.

    Totally disappointed. All the features I like are no longer supported.
    Tabs arrangement? no way
    powerful shortcuts? no way

    They just lost what they were long proud of. Now it is just a normal browser with all the functions you can expect and find in chrome.
    I am really sad.

    I uninstalled it and decided that I will keep an older version in my PC as memorial.
    They destroyed such a wonderful product.

  14. Are you sure you’re referring to Opera 12.16? I’m using this version now and at least half the features you addressed are not gone.

    I’m not sure you’re referring to version 12.16. In either case, all other browsers I’ve used are intense memory hogs, and I’d rather lose some features than deal with a painfully slow browser.

  15. This post was referring to the changes made between Opera 12.16 and Opera 15. If you still have Opera 12.16, you should still have all the features mentioned above.

    This is actually a fairly old post, because the current version is Opera 22, but most of the useful features we lost from Opera 12 are still gone (ten versions later). I uninstalled the newer Opera and kept 12.16, which I use in tandem with Firefox, because its browsing tools make Web surfing so much easier.

    I understand that different people have different priorities with their browsers, but actually Opera 12 was faster than even Chrome in most benchmarks when it was released, even though it had more features. Opera just switched to a WebKit engine because their users were complaining about website compatibility (less than 3% of the browser share used Presto), but switching engines meant that they had to rebuild Opera from scratch, and when they did, they starved it of any usefulness. Now Opera is a wreck.

  16. I don’t understand this. I still have Opera 12.17 (the latest one from the automatic updates) — when will this bad, feature-poor version actually be published to a user like me? How can I prevent it? I use nearly all of the features you list, and would be lost without them. Help!

  17. @e: The new Opera is on a different update fork, so your 12.17 won’t be replaced with the newer one. However, you have to dig on their website to find the old version later, and they may not make too many security updates for it (they did make an update for the Heartbleed bug, though). The only problem is that websites are starting to pull Opera 12 support (e.g. you can no longer post cover photos on Facebook).

  18. Wow. Just wow.

    Good for me I never updated Opera lately, and now I am sure I never will… This breaks Opera for me 100%.

    Keyword searches, opening tabs in the background, the bookmark managers and the linux support are probably like 98% of the reasons why I use Opera.

    All of them gone? That makes me a sad, sad panda. 🙁

  19. still use opera 12, i need note, email, irc, etc, i use GNU/Linux Openmandriva

  20. I was a devoted Opera presto user. Integrated mail, RSS, torrent downloading, and a pile of other features (including the ability to hide the “O” icon in the Notification Area!) are gone.

    Unfortunately, Presto support is all but gone now too, leaving PC end users stuck with the decision to either stick with IE or use Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or some other browser.

    So that leave us with IE, Mozilla, or WebKit/Chromium.

    As much as I hate to say it, I chose the Chromium-based Opera over Mozilla or Chrome. Sure, it is a Chromium browser, but it is the best one. Opera is still innovating. The Presto line will never be resurrected. Email will never be re-integrated; it was never a widely used feature anyway. RSS can be done with extensions. uTorrent and other standalone programs are better than Opera 12.16 integrated torrent downloading ever was.

    The point is this – we all miss the features, but new Opera is far more compatible than Presto ever was, and Opera is still innovating in ways the competition isn’t. So now I’m using Opera 25 and OperaMail separately for my email and feeds. I’m satisfied. Not thrilled, but satisfied.

  21. Looking at so many of these complaints, I don’t think I can add anything new. I had the new (26) version of Opera install on my computer this morning – not by my choice, it just seemed to start in the background when I launched Opera?!?! – and to be honest it looked like Chrome wearing an opera outfit.

    No right-click mouse gestures as far as I could see, I didn’t even try any Control-Enter auto-filling of passwords, I couldn’t see how to remove the “+” button from Speed Dial, or see how to make the Bookmarks menu default to a line-by-line thing instead of all the icons. I couldn’t even see how to move my tabs from the top of the screen to the bottom.

    I use Opera – I crow to everyone about how awesome Opera is – for exactly those kinds of features. One-letter search engine shortcuts in the address bar? I *LOVE* that. If this “upgrade” means getting onto the Chrome-style bandwagon, then how is Opera really any different to anything else?

    I’ve been using Opera since about 1998, when the worst thing one could say about it was there were these big hunka adverts in the top right corner of the screen. It was already crapping all over Netscape and IE was already a joke.

    My question now is, why should I use Opera at all?

  22. Opera versions 15 and above are shit. I’d prefer to use 12.17 and below and I mainly use either Windows XP or Windows 7. Opera 15+ and windows 8/8.1 is total garbage.

  23. Clicking tab to hide/unhide;
    This feature is very important to me bacause it allows user to “reverse” track surfing and find you way back to “start”. Mostly for users who always choose to “Open in new tab” or “Open in background tab” that have many open tabs.
    Now – it’s like having to remeber which tab yo were at, if you forget it’s a pain in the a** to fin it again.

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