Top Ten Reasons I Use Opera as My Web browser:
1. Multiple Pages. Instead of displaying one Web page at a time, Opera employs MDI to display multiple pages; switch between then using tabs. Or, you can open multiple copies of Opera, if you prefer. I typically have a dozen pages open at a time.
2. Open Page in Background. This is the feature I appreciate the most: as I am reading a Web page, I come accross links that interest me. Instead of clicking on them, I right-click and select Open Page in Background. I can keep on reading the original page, while "bookmarking" additional pages of interest, which I read later.
3. Toggles. Find flashing ads annoying? Click Show Images on the toolbar to turn off images; to further eliminate flashing Flash ads, click on Print Preview on the toolbar. Viewing a page with hard to read text? Click Author Mode to force a white background, normal size text, etc.
4. Zoom. Not just making text a bit larger or a bit smaller, but a true zoom that enlarges pictures and text up to 1000% larger or down to 20% as large. As in some other Windows apps, hold down the Ctrl key and roll the mouse's roller wheel. I tend to view Web sites at 160%, which says something either about the size of my monitor or the state of my eyes.
5. Wand. Remembers usernames and passwords for a single Web page, or the entire server, or not at all. For family use, remembers multiple usernames for a single site, like the six different usernames for our family's various bank accounts. Useful feature in a day and age when we are supposed to be using many different, diifficult to guess (and remember) passwords that are supposed to be changed frequently. But, a dangerous feature if unauthorized persons access the browser.
6. Selectable Panels. In addition to the "Hotlist," Opera's name for favorites, I have that part of the screen display Transfers (record of downloaded files), History (list of sites I've been to) and Notes, text saved from Web pages. Other available panels I don't use are: Contacts, Mail, Links (shows all URLs in the current Web page), Windows, and Info (data about the current page). Plus you can download additional panels for newsfeeds, Hotmail, and so on.
7. Double-click Research. Double-click a word, and a shortcut menu appears: copy the text to Clipboard, copy text to Notes panel, find the dictionary meaning, search using Goggle, and so on. That's how I found out today what "suffragan" means.
8. Always-on Google. Much is being made of Web toolbars, but Opera has had a sereach toolbar search for years. The default is Google, of course, but options include domain names, Amazon.com, news, domain names, and so on.
9. Opera Costs Money. Opera is priced at US$39, but that's cheap for the most-used software on my computer, and for free tech support. (You don't have to pay if you prefer seeing ads flashing in the upper right corner.) Paying for software is important: it ensures that development continues, unlike the free IE.
10. Lots of Other Features. There's lot of other features in Opera that I don't use often, but you might find useful: integrated mail and news groups, of course, but also gestures (move the mouse in a certain way to execute commands), lots of tweaks to the user interface, and hundreds of skins (I've applied Orbit Modif.) And because it is not a Microsoft product, it is less susceptable to security problems.
Some biased Web sites refuse entry to Web browsers other than Netscape and IE. Here's a tip: change Opera's identity: from the File menu, select Quick Preferences, and then select Identify As. There is even a shortcut keystroke to toggle to IE 6 (Ctrl+Alt+I).
The only reason to not use Opera is that it is still not 100% compatible with Microsoft's proprietary extnesions to HTML. Once in a while I have to haul out IE to properly view a page. But it keeps getting better; even Hotmail works 100% with Opera now.
Some wonder at how I turn out so much writing. I'm fast. One reason for that is Opera: it helps me work fast on the Internet.
Download Opera here.