Tweak Opera for large amount of tabs

Opera had pioneered tabbed interface for browsing. However out of the box it provides tab experience that can be described as generic.

For users that tend to open multitude of tabs Opera offers quite a few customization opportunities to make most of them.

Give tabs more space

By default recent Opera versions have few non-tab elements in tab bar – buttons to open sidebar, add blank tab and access closed tabs. Such extra buttons can be removed by Right-click > Remove From Toolbar or moved elsewhere by Right-click > Customize > Drag and drop.

Now tabs have line completely to themselves, but sometimes even that is not enough. You can make tab bar extend to next line when neededRight-click tab bar > Customize > Appearance… > Set Wrapping to Wrap to multiple lines.

Prevent unwanted close

I tend to click those Close tab crosses a lot when I have many tabs open. And they get even bigger when Windows Native theme is chosen. Close buttons can be removed by setting in Tools > Preferences (Alt+P) > Advanced > Tabs > Additional tab options > Show close button on each tab or same setting in <opera:config#Show Close Buttons>.

With those gone fast way to close tab is middle-click it or enable <opera:config#Doubleclick to Close Tab> option (handy for touchpads and such).

If you have some tabs open at all times you can protect them from any kind of close by Right-click tab name > Lock tab.

Change tab logic

By default new tabs are opened in the end of the list and when tab is closed focus goes to one before it. With many tabs open and working and gaming at the same time multitasking process can turn large amount of tabs in a complete mess.

Make new tabs open next to current tab Tools > Preferences (Alt+P) > Advanced > Tabs > Open new tab next to active.

Choose what tab gets focus when current tab is closed Tools > Preferences (Alt+P) > Advanced > Tabs > When closing a tab.

Use hotkeys

  • Ctrl+T opens new tab;
  • Ctrl+W closes current tab;
  • Ctrl+Z restores last closed tab;
  • Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+Shift+Tab cycle through tabs, see post on enabling previews to make it more visual. Also can be used by holding right button and scrolling with mouse wheel - thanks to nimi for reminder in comments;

If single key shortcuts are enabled in Tools > Preferences (Alt+P) > Advanced > Shortcuts > Enable single-key shortcuts then:

  • 1 and 2 move back and forth between tabs.

Show tabs in full screen mode

Full screen mode in Opera (F11) makes best use of screen space but at the same time can be scary with complete absence of interface.

To make Opera show tab bar in full screen mode you can edit F11 hotkey in Tools > Preferences (Alt+P) > Advanced > Shortcuts > Keyboard setup > Edit to Enter full screen & View page bar, 6 | Leave full screen or simply use one of pre-made Opera buttons for full screen mode listed at Opera Wiki.


While default Opera setup is certainly functional it is additional tweaks that can bring in to next level and make usage of many many tabs as easy as possible.

What is your favorite way to use tabs in Opera?

Related Posts


  • nimi #

    You can also navigate the tabs using right click+ mouse wheel.
  • Rarst #

    @nimi Thanks, I put in hotkeys for cycling but forgot to add about mouse wheel. :)
  • Working With Many Tabs In Opera #

    [...] Opera. That becomes apparent if you look at the comments that he leaves here at Ghacks. His article Tweak Opera for large amount of tabs that he posted on his blog yesterday examines and describes some tweaks and settings that Opera [...]
  • spacewalker #

    I don't understand what to do on the last tip of what to change to make the tabs show up in full screen. Could you be more specific what to edit and what to type (especially with your line wrap in there). A picture here would be worth it as it isn't intuitive like the other good changes you list here.
  • Rarst #

    @spacewalker Editing hotkeys is little confusing and hard to explain. Since it is slightly offtopic to this article as well I decided to cut on long explanations (will certainly be covered in some future post). Easier way would be to use custom button, just click this full screen with tabs and Opera will offer to add it. Then you can drag button to some place in interface.
  • Weekly Browsers Recap, June 27th #

    [...] Tweak Opera for large amount of tabs [...]
  • spacewalker #

    Thanks, added button, but when clicked it only opened full-screen, not with tabs. I'll have to live with the cool right click-wheel option when in full screen for now I guess unless you can explain it better sometime. Thanks for the tips and help.
  • Rarst #

    @spacewalker Here is one more attempt full screen with tabs. Maybe blog eats space somewhere or something. Or you could try buttons from Opera Wiki I had mentioned in post. By the way I remembered I described how to remap hotkeys in post on mouse flips in Opera. You can look there for instructions and what you need to remap is f11 from Enter full screen | Leave full screen to Enter full screen & View page bar, 6 | Leave full screen
  • Willie #

    What about memory and other settings? When I get about 50 tabs (or more) open, my cpu utilization pegs and my computer crawls. I have 4GB of RAM in it. Usually it's just a page from certain sites that does it such as MSNBC or multiple LifeHacker.com pages. Also, I configure Opera to be in Multiple Document mode instead tab mode. Thanks.
  • Rarst #

    @Willie Had you done a lot of upgrading on top of previous Opera versions? That is one of the most common reasons for performance issues. Try exporting bookmarks, etc and doing completely clean install. As for specific sites only thing that comes to mind is crappy flash on those. Try visiting them with plugins disabled (quick menu on F12 can quickly enable/disable those) or flashblock for Opera. Reinstall Flash to latest version as well.
  • Mike #

    Nice post! I have Opera set up to always open new tabs full-screen, and one thing I've started doing recently is using the "Restore" functionality to get some tabs to show up side-by-side within the Opera window. This is great for when I'm doing some reading on one site, and participating in a chat session in another. I'll definitely have to try your tips on improving performance, as I've had Opera installed for years now and it does seem to take a while to start up.
  • Rarst #

    @Mike I like to keep stuff fullscreen and use every pixel for app in focus. :) |Switching between windows is quite fast. I also had Opera installed for some years and it got to the point it barely worked. I never encountered clear explanation but many notice that performance degrades after numerous updates in place. Opera 10 will get self-upgrade (like Firefox) and it would be interesting to see if that fixes issue.
  • Sinjin Smythe #

    You can also position the tab bar to the (left/right) side of the screen. This gives you a large vertical space for tabs at the cost of some horizontal screen real estate. Nowadays with wide screens websites are usually displayed with a large amount of white space on the sides. I'm not a big fan of this setup but YMMV.
  • Rarst #

    @Sinjin Smythe I considered including this tweak, but from my experience very few people can adapt and like vertical tab bar (as well as taskbar or whatever). Since Opera also has extensive vertical sidebar - that doesn't leave much space for tabs even on [mainstream] WS monitors. YMMV indeed. :)
  • Opera User #

  • The DataRat #

    "You can make tab bar extend to next line when needed – Right-click tab bar > Set Wrapping to Wrap to multiply lines" Am using Opera v. 10.01, and all a right click on the tab bar brings up is "Customize". Wrapping to multiple lines sounds great ? But ~how~ do I find that option ? The DataRat .
  • Rarst #

    @DataRat Don't remember if that got changed or I mistyped something. Look for: Right-click tab bar > Customize > Appearance > Wrapping (closer to the bottom of dialog)
  • The DataRat #

    "Right-click tab bar > Customize > Appearance > Wrapping (closer to the bottom of dialog)" Thanks ! Got it. The DataRat .
  • ATL #

    I use alot of tabs too but I've been suggesting quick tab like IE has ever seens the tab came out in 8 or 9 I think. But they have yet to put that feature in. Can someone any one put post up talk to coders of the this great progarm to get this feature in.
  • Rarst #

    @ATL Not sure what feature in IE are you talking about. I don't like IE8 and rarely use it, hadn't looked at beta of IE9 at all.
  • Lal #

    If I have lots of tabs and using the TAB setup where I drag-n-drop tabs on the left sidebar (which is nice) once I got over a certain amount my list of tabs is 'full' (I have them all aligned on the left hand side of the screen). When that happens new tabs that are added appear off the bottom of the screen and I've no way to see them (unless I shrink some of my tab groupings). What I'd like to have is an a scroll bar (when it gets full) - that would be nice. This 'feature' is available when you use 'Window' placement (you also have history, downloads and other buttons to replace current side bar) but that doesn't have the drag-n-drop ability Any suggestions?
  • Rarst #

    @Lal Yeah, unfortunately there is no scrollbar mode. On other hand you can make tabs to go into two columns or produce menu for overflow. Myself I just treat it as a hint to keep open tabs to reasonable amount. :)
  • DanielKnight #

    "ou can make tab bar extend to next line when needed – Right-click tab bar > Set Wrapping to Wrap to multiply lines." there is no such command. If there is, show it on youtube. I've not found it on versions 10-12 so I don't know how you got this. These idiots need to copy firefox and just make a tab row add on and bookmark row add on and a drop down menu instead of the idiotic infinite shrinking of tabs and bookmarks (God how dumb).
  • Rarst #

    @DanielKnight Seems some step lost there, updated
    Right-click tab bar > Customize > Appearance… > Set Wrapping to Wrap to multiple lines.