Personalizing the look and feel

This guide was last updated for Opera 12.00

At Opera, we respect individuality and we understand that everyone has different needs and tastes. We acknowledge that the standard look and feel of the browser — the “user interface” (UI) — may not suit everyone, which is why we make it easy to personalize it. Below are tips on tailoring your Speed Dial, tabs, toolbars, panels, themes, and event sounds to suit your needs.

The topics in this section are listed below. Select the arrow to view a topic, or select the Expand All button to view all topics at once.

Customize Speed Dial

You can customize Speed Dial by changing the layout, background and more. For details, see the Customize the Speed Dial topic in the “Getting started with Opera” tutorial or the introductory video.


Opera uses tabbed browsing by default but you can configure how you want Opera's tabs to behave. You can change the tab cycling order, change settings for thumbnail display, set options when you close a tab, and disable visual tabs. For more details, see Opera Help - Tabs.

You can go a step further and make the browser behave as a Multiple Document Interface (MDI). This allows you to resize pages and tile them next to each other on the same workspace to compare or work with several pages. For instance, you can have a chat page open next to a page for browsing or composing an e-mail message. To use this feature, select Settings > Preferences > Advanced > Browsing and check “Show window menu”. The window menu allows you to manage the pages in the MDI.

If you want to have new pages open in an entirely new browser window each time, instead of tabs, select Settings > Preferences > Advanced > Tabs > Additional tab options and check “Open windows instead of tabs”.


A theme is a color scheme of the buttons and background images in the browser. You can apply a theme to Opera to entirely change the way Opera looks. To try a new theme:

  1. Go to Altenatively, select Appearance > Themes.
  2. Select “Find more themes. The available themes display.
  3. Choose one you like and select the “Add to Opera” button. The theme is applied so you can see if you like it.
  4. In the bar that displays at the top of the window, select either “Done X” to confirm the theme change and keep it, or “Undo” and everything will be back to the way it was. If you don't make a decision after a short while, the theme is applied automatically.

Manage themes

To see a list of all of the themes you have installed, select Appearance > Themes. You can delete or switch themes, or add new ones by clicking the “Find More Themes” button.


You can customize panels by choosing the panels to display, hiding the panel until you need to use it or removing it entirely from the browser.

  • To change the panels that are displayed, select Appearance > Panels.
  • To hide the panel and leave only the panel selectors displayed, select the Panels button at the bottom, left corner. Select this button again to display the panel.
  • To remove the panel and panel selectors entirely, select Settings > Toolbars and uncheck “Panels”.

You can also display a saved webpage as a panel. This is useful for websites you use often, as an alternative to using Speed Dial. To do this:

  1. Right-click on the the webpage and select “Bookmark page”.
  2. In the Bookmark dialog, select “Details" then check “Show in panel”. The webpage is added to your panels.
  3. To re-size the content of the webpage to fit in the panel, select the View button in the panel and check “Small Screen”.
  4. To remove or edit the webpage panel, right-click the panel and select an option from the context menu.

You can also select from a collection of web panels that other users have found useful, by following the steps below.

  1. Go to Appearance > Panels.
  2. Select “Get Web Panels” in the bottom section. This displays the Opera Community site for web panels.
  3. Select one of the categories for web panels.
  4. Choose a web panel, select “Add Panel”, and then “OK” to confirm. The web panel is added.

Menus and toolbars

Use an alternative menu bar

As an alternative to Opera's main menu, you can display a more traditional menu bar across the top of the browser window. To do this, select “Show Menu Bar” from the menu. The structure of the menu bar is different from the main menu. To re-display the default main menu, select File and uncheck “Show menu bar”. For more information, see Opera Help - Menus.

Move the Opera menu button

Depending on the toolbars you prefer to use, you can also add the Opera menu button to another toolbar and remove it from the tab bar. To move the menu button permanently, follow the steps below:

  1. If you want to use a toolbar that is currently not displayed, select Settings > Toolbars and check the toolbar you want to use.
  2. Right-click the toolbar you want to use for the Opera menu button.
  3. Select Customize > Appearance. The toolbar is highlighted by a yellow border.
  4. In the Appearance dialog, select the button tab, then the Browser category to find the Opera menu button.
  5. Drag-and-drop the button from the dialog to the highlighted toolbar. Note: This may not be possible for all toolbars, for example, you cannot add it to the bookmarks bar, as this is designed for your personal bookmarks.
  6. When the menu button is on a different toolbar, you can remove the original button from the tab bar. Right-click the original menu button.
  7. Select Customize > Appearance. The original Opera menu button is highlighted by a yellow border.
  8. In the Placement option, select “Off” from the drop-down list.
  9. Select “OK” to confirm. If you want to restore the original menu button on the tab bar, right-click the tab bar, and select Customize > Reset Toolbar to its Defaults.

The menu button includes text but if you prefer it without, you can easily remove it by following these steps:

  1. Right-click the menu button.
  2. Select Customize > Appearance.
  3. On the Toolbars tab, change the Style field to “Images only”.
  4. Click “OK”.

Resize the search or address fields

You can alter the size of either the search field or address field, to allow more room for typing search criteria. Between the fields, there are small dots, which you can select and drag to change the size of one of these fields.

Turn off history shown from the address field

When you browse using the address field, the history of viewed websites displays in a drop-down from the address field. If you want to protect your privacy, for example, if you are browsing in a public place, you can turn this off by following the steps below.

  1. Copy and paste, or type, opera:config#UserPrefs|ShowBookmarksInAddressfieldAutocompletion in the address field.
  2. Press Enter.
  3. Uncheck the highlighted “Show Bookmarks In Addressfield Autocompletion” option.

Customize toolbars

The default toolbars that display are for panels, tab, status and address, and include the most commonly used features for browsing. You can, however, choose which toolbars to display and select from other optional toolbars. To do this, select Settings > Toolbars and uncheck the ones you do not want to use, and check those you want to display. Optional toolbars are described below.

Optional toolbars

The optional toolbars you can choose from include the following:

Main bar
The main bar contains buttons for document handling, such as opening, saving, printing, and finding text.
Bookmarks bar
The bookmarks bar is designed for you to make your own, personalized toolbar for your bookmarks and search engines. It includes some search engines by default to which you can add your own bookmarks, folders with bookmarks, favorite search engines, or webpage links. You can tailor this bar in the following ways:
  • To add a bookmark or folder of bookmarks, drag-and-drop from the bookmark or folder from the Bookmarks panel.
  • To add a webpage link, drag-and-drop the address from the address field, or from within the webpage.
  • To add a search engine, right-click the bar and select from the options available.
  • To remove an item from the bar, right-click the item and select “Remove From Toolbar”.
  • To change the appearance of the bar, right-click it and select “Appearance” from the menu. For more details on changing the appearance, see Toolbar appearance below.
Navigation bar
Some sites provide links for a navigation bar to improve site navigation. This toolbar displays these links above the page contents in the browsing window. If you want this toolbar to appear whenever you go to a webpage that has support for it, select Settings > Toolbars > Customize, select the navigation bar so that it is highlighted in yellow, and check “Show only when needed”.
View bar
The view bar provides quick access to a collection of viewing features, including Find in page, Page mode, Show Images, Fit to width and zoom. To enable or disable this toolbar, go to View > Toolbars > Customize and check or uncheck “View Bar”.
Start bar
The start bar contains quick access to your home page, the 10 most visited links, and your bookmarks. It drops down from the address field, when you focus on this field. To enable or disable this toolbar, go to View > Toolbars > Customize and check or uncheck “Start Bar”.

Use multiple toolbar setups

Besides customizing toolbars, you can also have more than one toolbar setup, for example, if you want a specific set of toolbars to use for a particular task, but you also want to keep the existing toolbar setup for general browsing. To add a new toolbar setup, follow the steps below.

  1. Select Settings > Preferences > Advanced > Toolbars.
  2. Highlight an existing toolbar setup you want to use as a template, and select “Duplicate”.
  3. Highlight the newly-created toolbar setup, select “Rename”, and name it so you can easily identify it.
  4. Select “OK”.
  5. You are now using the new toolbar setup. Right-click any toolbar and select “Customize”. This displays the Appearance dialog, where you can choose the toolbars you want to display in this setup.
  6. To return to the previous toolbar setup, select Settings > Preferences > Advanced > Toolbars and select the setup from the list.

Download toolbar setups

Members of the Opera community often share their custom-made setups for toolbars on the My Opera Community website. To save yourself some time and effort, have a look and see if there is a setup that suits you. If you create a custom setup that might be useful for other people, you can share it here too.

Toolbar appearance

You can change the appearance of a toolbar by adding items, changing where or when it displays, or changing the style and wrapping. To do this, right-click the toolbar and select “Customize”. The toolbar is highlighted by a yellow border. You can customize the toolbar in the following ways:

  • To add an item, such as a button or search field, select “Appearance” and in the resulting dialog, click “Buttons" and drag a new button from the list for any toolbar to the highlighted toolbar.
  • To change where the toolbar displays in the browser, select “Appearance” and change the Placement setting.
  • To change the style of the toolbar, for example, to use text rather than buttons or images, select “Appearance” and change the Style setting.
  • To change the wrapping of the toolbar, select “Appearance” and change the Wrapping setting.
  • To set the toolbar to display only when it is needed, select “Appearance" and check “Show only when needed”. This is especially useful for the navigation bar.
  • To undo any changes you made and reset a toolbar to the default setting, select “Reset Toolbar to Its Defaults”.
  • To remove an item from a toolbar, select “Remove from Toolbar”.
  • To change the order in which toolbar buttons or icons appear, drag-and-drop the buttons or icons.
  • To change the size of the buttons on all toolbars, select Tools > Appearance > Themes and in the Icon Size field, select the percentage to scale the buttons.

Alternatively, you can select Appearance > Toolbars and select the toolbar to edit it.

Event sounds

You can customize Opera to play sounds for different events, for example, to play a sound when you receive a message. To do this:

  1. Select Settings > Preferences > Advanced > Notifications.
  2. Select an event from the list.
  3. Select “Choose” and choose a sound you want to use.
  4. Repeat this for each event, and select “OK”.

Note: Turning event sounds on or off will not affect operating system or multimedia sounds.

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