Use search engines faster in Opera

Google had successfully conditioned us to use search at all occasions. It had also managed to put in the thought that there is Google and there are lesser types of search, not worth attention.

Very untrue and in many occasions specialized and more precise search beats generic. If it only was as fast to use. Opera has extensive functionality to integrate search engines in interface and streamline querying them.

How it works

When you search online technically you fill HTML form and your browser makes GET or POST request to the site’s server. [Best case scenario] server responds with search results.

Opera can take form part out of the picture by taking request settings and incorporating them in interface for fast usage.

Right-click any search form > Create search…



Yes, that easy. All searches are added to bundled ones and are managed in:

Tools > Preferences… (Alt+P) > Search



Basically you are ready to roll, but let’s spend extra minute on custom search anatomy.



  • Name is purely decorative, it’s for you to recognize specific search in interface;
  • Keyword (more often key letter) is much more interesting, you can search from address bar by typing keyword followed by your query;
  • Address is GET request with %s being template for your query. For some sites you can just construct query yourself from scratch;
  • Query string is POST request, never had need to touch this one;
  • default search engine makes Opera use this one if you had typed few words in address bar that are clearly not URL and hadn’t used keyword;
  • Speed Dial search engine is just that – which search engine will appear on top of empty tabs.
  • type few words in address bar and hit enter, default search will look for that;
  • type keyword (see above), followed by query in address bar and hit enter;
  • select text on page and right-click to get Search With option;



  • use search bar in interface with default search or choose another before typing query;

You can also add more search bars (defaulting to any engine) in interface customization mode Right-click somewhere in interface > Customize > Appearance > Buttons > Search opera_search_interface

Special searches

Aside from web custom searches there are also two special types:

  • history search – will do just that;
  • in page search – looks for query in text of currently loaded page.

I find history search little clunky for keyword use. History in sidebar (Ctrl+H) or history page (Ctrl+Shift+H) work better for my taste.

In page search on other hand is very useful. So useful in fact that it also has special hotkeys:

  • . (period) will trigger incremental in page search that will highlight all matches as well;
  • , (comma) will do same but will limit search to links. You can also quickly go to link found by tapping Enter twice.

Search Opera internals

While searching web is quite awesome, Opera also has strong internal search paradigm. Those search panels show in interface where appropriate and are all incremental plus wicked fast.

With those you can navigate quickly through:

  • bookmarks;
  • history;
  • mail, contacts and RSS;
  • notes;
  • widgets (not that there are usually enough to search for).

Think out of the Google box

So now that you are fed up with instructions and burning with desire to actually make some searches, here are some suggestions:

  • make search for your favorite blog (if you are reading this I assume this one :) or site – by definition it it will have information you are interested in, in a form you digest well;
  • even better, few relevant sites in bulk (will require tinkering with Google search operators or Custom Search). For example Appnews has search through participating blogs and it is usually first search I hit for software;
  • for reviews aggregator, for example TestFreaks will get you to excellent summaries for most hardware in seconds;
  • for Twitter Search, thing is insanely overhyped but it does help to look up recent issues without drowning in outdated pages;
  • for BackType to quickly check if person on other side of comments discussion is genuine idiot or just pulling your leg;
  • for NiceTranslator with help of scripted URLs to get easy to use and flexible multi-language dictionary;
  • did I mention torrents? :)


Opera takes any search and kicks all boring bits out of process until you are left with pure undiluted results goodness. Make a set of searches you need and you will never go back to searching from pages again.

Related Posts


  • jasray #

    One question about Opera (which I rather like): How do I make an SSH connection--I've never noticed a Socks host line for inserting the localhost:port.
  • Rarst #

    @jasray Ehm, SSH? As far as I remember it's more often used with apps like PuTTY and not a browser? Please explain why you need remote console in your browser or rephrase if you meant something else. :)
  • jasray #

    Right--connect to a SSH server out in the blue from public hot spot, pop in localhost:port, and all transmission from questionable hot spot to trusted SSH server is encrypted. A simple matter of security in odd places.
  • Rarst #

    @jasray Ok, you seriously lost me here. :) Browsers are not really meant for SSH shell connections, different kind of tool. If you mean SSL, it's like usual - via https:// protocol. If you mean secure proxy - proxies are managed in Preferences > Advanced > Network > Proxy servers.
  • jasray #

    Hmmm . . . nope . . . using Linux terminal, e.g. ssh -p -ND 8081 username@remoteserverip password -p = port switch in case one doesn't want to use default 22 -ND (I would have to go back to the man pages--mind forgot meaning and why, sorry) connection established with RSA key 2048 go to network browser socks line enter localhost:8081 (or whatever one likes--default is 1080, yes? which would make 8081 1080 instead) Yes, I guess one can call it a proxy; regardless, I've never found a place in Opera in which to insert the localhost:port
  • Rarst #

    @jasray Ah, SSH as in tunneling. Not my area. :) Need to read up on it, have some sites bookmarked for a while. Socks is proxy protocol as I remember, so try proxy settings as above.
  • The DataRat #

    . Ok, so with Opera we can do a search either by using a right-click on a word ("Search With"), or using the Opera address bar instead of a search engine's Web site search box. Groovy ! ~This~ being what I like about Opera: Many ways to do the same thing. Not that I'll use all the ways, but each represents an option and a choice. People complain about "feature bloat". Yet the more features, the more potential alternatives for accomplishing things ! . The DataRat .
  • Rarst #

    @DataRat People often get feature bloat term wrong. It's not bloat because of sheer amount of features, it's bloat when features get in the way of resource consumption and interface usability. Opera does magnificent work of packing so many features so they don't get in the way.
  • Keris #

    I think it's great to try, but until this time I'm not yet installed Opera in my PC, I just make firefox the only browser in my comp. Will learn much more from you. thank you
  • Rarst #

    @Keris Good luck trying Opera, I hope you will like it. :)
  • moondreamer #

    Dang, I started getting a headache reading all those instructions. I didn't need any instructions to do Google searches. Have tried other search things, like Bing (worthless), ask, (see Bing). I've noticed that I get better Google results on Internet Explorer than the Google on Mozilla Fox. When and if they simplify Opera to merely downloading it then putting the desired info in their search box, I'll try it.
  • Rarst #

    @moondreamer This is post on advanced tweaks. :) You don't have to use these, but functionality is there for techies that want it. I’ve noticed that I get better Google results on Internet Explorer than the Google on Mozilla Fox. Google uses history of searches to customize results. Which can sometimes actually do more harm than good. So it depends on how often you use search in each browser and if you are logged in with Google account. When and if they simplify Opera to merely downloading it then putting the desired info in their search box, I’ll try it. It currently does exactly that - Google box you can simply use. Go try it. :)
  • Going beyond Google to multiply search engines | Rarst.net #

    [...] type in into Google searches. So does Opera but I usually prefix my searches there with g out of custom search engines habit.So it got us talking about alternative search engines and in response to typical “Are there [...]
  • raja #

    i want so also use opera mina but i have not found this softwere download this pc please help me any opera user thanks
  • Rarst #

    @raja If you are looking to install Opera Mini on your phone the fastest way is usually through visiting http://m.opera.com/ on it and following instructions there.
  • Heavy Mental #

    Is it possible to make Search, and Search With in context menu to go to new tab after middleclick?
  • Rarst #

    @Heavy Mental Doesn't seem so, but you can left click while holding Shift for new tab.