How to Use the Vivaldi Web Browser for Linux, Mac and Windows

Vivaldi Web browser
Vivaldi Technologies

This article is intended for users running the Vivaldi Web browser on Linux, Mac OS X, macOS Sierra, and Windows operating systems.

When you launch Vivaldi for the first time, its Welcome interface walks you through a number of configurable options including the browser's color scheme, where to position the tab bar, and what background image to assign to your Start Page. These are just a few of the available settings that make Vivaldi a highly customizable Web browser.

In this article, we discuss some of these features and explain how to modify them to your liking. We also take a look at other key functionality found within Vivaldi.

Tab Cycling, Stacking and Tiling

One area where Vivaldi offers significant flexibility is tabbed browsing. If you find yourself with a large number of Web pages open during a session, a practice that has become commonplace, the concept of grouping tabs together can come in very handy. Tab stacking provides the ability to place active pages on top of one another in Vivaldi's tab bar, as opposed to the traditional side-by-side method.

To begin stacking, first click on the source tab once without releasing the mouse button. Next, drag the selected page on top of the destination tab(s) and let go of the button. The tab that you chose should now become part of a stack, placed by default at the top and remaining the active and visible page.

At first glance, a tab stack may look like any other page in Vivaldi's tab bar. Upon closer inspection, however, you'll notice one or more thin gray rectangles located under the current page's title. Each one of these represents a unique tab that together comprises a stack. Hovering your mouse cursor over one of these will cause it to turn white and its corresponding title to be displayed while clicking on it will load that page in the active window and automatically move it to the top of the tab stack.

Meanwhile, hovering over anywhere within the stack also prompts Vivaldi to render visual previews and titles for all tabs contained within. Clicking on a respective site's thumbnail image will have the same effect as selecting its rectangular button.

In addition to stacking, Vivaldi also allows you to create tiles of some or all of your open tabs. These small, scrollable windows are placed beside each other and let you view several full Web pages all on the same screen. There are many practical uses for tiling, such as being able to easily compare content between a number of sites. To display a group of pages as tiles, hold down the CTRL key (Mac users should utilize the Command key) and select the desired tabs. Next click on the Page tiling button, represented by a square and located in the browser's status bar. A pop-out set of images will now be shown, allowing you to create these tiles horizontally, vertically or in a grid. You can also tile all tabs found within a stack by right-clicking on it and choosing Tile Tab Stack from the context menu.

Other notable options found in the tab context menu are as follows.

  • Reload Tab: Refreshes the page associated with the selected tab.
  • Clone Tab: Creates a duplicate of the selected tab.
  • Pin Tab: Places a shortcut button on the far left-hand side of the tab bar.
  • Move to: Opens the selected tab in a separate browser window.
  • Bookmark Tab: Creates a bookmark from the selected tab.
  • Bookmark All Open Pages: Creates individual bookmarks from each open tab.
  • Hibernate Tab/Tab Stack: Unloads the selected tab or stack of tabs while still leaving them open and available, freeing up valuable system resources when the respective page(s) are not being utilized.
  • Hibernate Background Tabs: Puts all open tabs to sleep, other than the active one, in an effort to improve browser and operating system performance.

    Finally, if your mouse has a scroll wheel Vivaldi also lets you quickly cycle through the active tabs by hovering your cursor over a tab and moving the wheel up or down accordingly.

    User Interface Color and Scaling

    Keeping with the spirit of customization, Vivaldi includes the option to modify the color scheme of its interface as well as the size of many of its components. To change the browser's colors first click on the Vivaldi menu button, placed in the upper left-hand corner of the main window. When the drop-down menu appears, hover your mouse cursor over Tools. A sub-menu should now be visible. Select the Settings option which will open the browser's settings interface. Vivaldi's settings can also be accessed by clicking on the gear icon found in the lower left-hand corner of the browser window. Once these settings are visible and overlaying the main window, click on the Appearance tab.

    Scroll down, if necessary, and locate the Interface Color section. Selecting one of the two images available here, labeled Light and Dark, will instantly change Vivaldi's color scheme. Also found in this section is the User Page Theme Color in User Interface option, accompanied by a checkbox and enabled by default. When active, this setting automatically changes the color pattern of the browser's main toolbar to match certain websites. To apply this new color scheme to the tab bar instead, select the radio button next to the Color Tab Bar Background option.

    Web Panels

    The Web Panels feature transforms Vivaldi's side panel, displayed on the left-hand side of the main window, into its own separate browser instance.

    This is perfect for comparing websites, as mentioned above with the tiling feature, as well as keeping your live Twitter feed or other social media content front and center (or left, in this case) while you surf other pages.

    To create a Web Panel, first, navigate to the desired site. Next click on the plus(+) button, located in the left menu pane. The Add Web Panel pop-out should now be visible, displaying the full URL for the active page in an editable field. Select the plus button found within this pop-out. A shortcut to the current site's Web Panel should now be added, represented by its respective icon. Any time you wish to view this particular site within Vivaldi's side panel, simply click on this icon.

    Notes

    The Notes feature lets you store comments, observations and other important details right within the browser's side panel, tying each set of notes to a particular Web address if you so desire. This eliminates the need for scratchpads and Post-its littering your workspace, letting you organize those sometimes sporadic yet important scribblings within Vivaldi for reference during current and future browsing sessions.

    To access the Notes interface, click on the icon in the left menu pane which resembles a notebook. The side panel will now open, providing the ability to search through existing notes or to delete them. To create a new note select the plus icon, positioned directly below the Search box, and begin entering whatever text you like. To add an URL to the note, click on the Address section and type in the corresponding details.

    In addition to date/timestamps, URLs, and text, each note can also contain screenshots as well as files from your hard drive or external disks. These can be attached by clicking on the larger plus icon found at the very bottom of the side panel.

    Searching the Web

    Most browsers allow you to choose between one or more alternate search engines if you are not satisfied with the default offering. Vivaldi does the same by letting you search via Bing, DuckDuckGo, Wikipedia, and Google on-the-fly from its integrated search box. It also lets you easily add your own options from any site that contains a search field, such as About.com, by right-clicking in said field and selecting Add as a search engine from the browser's context menu.

    The Add Search Engine dialog should appear, allowing you to modify the search string and URL as well as define a nickname. You can also choose to set this new engine as the default option by placing a check in the corresponding box. Once you are satisfied with these settings, click on the Add button. You can now utilize your new engine via the search box's drop-down menu, or by prefacing your keywords with the nickname that you chose (i.e., ab browser help).

    The Trash Can

    Occasionally, in our haste to clean up a mess, we wind up throwing out something that we actually need. The same can be said for browser tabs or windows. Thankfully, Vivaldi's Trash Can gives us a second chance by providing the ability to recover those abruptly shuttered Web pages. To view, its contents click on the trash can icon, located on the far right-hand side of the browser's tab bar. A list of single tabs and windows, as well as groups of sites which have been previously closed, will be displayed, alongside some popups which may have been blocked. To reopen any of these, simply click on the corresponding item. To empty the trash, click on the Clear All option.

    Saved Sessions

    While the Trash Can feature allows you to recover recently closed tabs and windows, Vivaldi also lets you store and reload entire browsing sessions at any time with just a couple clicks of the mouse. If you have a particular set of pages open and would like the ability to access them all in one fell swoop at a later date and time, all you have to do is save your session. To do so first click on the Vivaldi menu button, located in the upper left-hand corner of the browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, hover your mouse cursor over the File option. Mac OS X and macOS Sierra users should go directly to the File menu, located at the top of the screen. When the sub-menu appears select Save Open Tabs as Session. You will now be prompted to enter a name for this session. Once complete, click on the ​Save button. To access this saved session, return to the File menu and select Open Saved Sessions. From here you can choose to open a previously saved session as well as delete them individually.