Vivaldi Browser: Why You Should Try It

The web browser you've never heard of might become your favorite

Vivaldi is a relatively new web browser that's available for Linux, macOS, and Windows.

It launched in 2016 and was first developed by Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Tatsuki Tomit. Despite being a more recent addition to the competitive browser market, it's every bit as full featured as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari.

Installing the Vivaldi Browser

Because it's fully cross-platform, you can run Vivaldi on every desktop device you own. Installing it works the same way as any software you've installed before.

During installation, there are a few details you can set up immediately :

  • Import bookmarks and settings from other browsers you've used.
  • Pick a theme for the browser.
  • Position tabs on the top, bottom, or side of the main window.
  • Sync bookmarks and information with other devices by registering a Vivaldi account.

Switching to the Vivaldi Browser

What We Like
  • Flexible options to organize your site links.

  • Quick access to often-visited pages with Web Panels.

  • Very fast page load time.

What We Don't Like
  • Scrollbar often disappears when the browser window is resized.

  • Default Linux version may not load embedded videos.

Changing the browser you're accustomed to using every day isn't easy. If you used the Google Chrome browser for many years and you have dozens of extensions enabled, switching to Vivaldi might not be right for you.

Vivaldi is based on Chromium, so nearly all Chrome extensions work, but enabling all of them can be time-consuming. And if you're a Firefox or Microsoft Edge user with many extensions, many of them might not be available.

Customizing the Vivaldi Browser

Despite looking pretty basic when you first open Vivaldi, if you look a little closer you see there are more features than are immediately apparent.

Select the settings icon in the lower-left to start digging deeper into how you can customize the browser.

The Settings gear in Vivaldi

In the Themes tab, you see a typical theme setting that you would find in most web browsers, but as you scroll further down, you see a near-endless amount of customization options available.

Create your own theme in the theme settings window.

You can also use mouse gestures in Vivaldi.

Select the Mouse tab in settings to see the predefined mouse gestures you can use.

Learn or create mouse gestures in gestures settings.

You can customize each of the gestures by select the Edit icon and drawing your own.

Using Tabs Stacks and the Web Panel

An inventive feature of Vivaldi is called tab stacking. Tab stacking is when you grab a browser tab and drag it over another one. This "stacks" multiple tabs into a single one.

When you click on a stacked tab, all of them display just below the tab bar.

Example of stacked tabs in Vivaldi

You can click the one you want to load, or load them all.

Unstack them by right-clicking the tab and selecting Ungroup Tab Stack.

Using Vivaldi's Web Panel

Another of Vivaldi's useful features is the Web Panel. It's a way to have smaller versions of web pages available with a single click and without having to leave the page you are viewing.

The Web Panel is the group of icons arranged vertically along the left side of the browser. The top is your standard browser bookmarks, downloads, notes (think of it as an embedded notepad), history, and tabs. Under this, you see a plus icon. Clicking on this lets you add any website that you can pop open in a left preview panel.

Add web panels to preview web pages updates.

The image above is of Vivaldi's Web Panel feature. it's a quick way to check your social feeds, news feeds, or anything else you want to quickly glance at or refer to.

Staying Organized With the Vivaldi Browser

While many other browsers offer Speed Dial or New Tab pages (pages that display a collection of links), Vivaldi does it in a more organized way.

You'll find Speed Dial pages in the bookmarks list, identified with a small 4-panel icon over the folder icon. Initially, there's only a single Speed Dial window with a default collection of links.

You can create new Speed Dial pages by opening a new tab and then selecting the + icon to the right of the Speed Dial link.

Organize web pages with new Speed Dial windows.

Add additional links by selecting the large blue + icon. You can add as many Speed Dial folders as you like.

It's a very useful way to organize collections of tabs you need for specific tasks, like doing research, checking all of your financial accounts, storing all of your favorite movie streaming links, and more.

Create multiple Speed Dial pages to organize activities.

You can launch all of the links at once by right-clicking on the relevant Speed Dial folder in your bookmarks and selecting Open in New Tab.

Organizing Bookmarks and Bookmark Folders

A common complaint with other popular browsers is that bookmark management can be cumbersome.

In Vivaldi, you just select the bookmark icon in the left navigation pane. Then you can drag and drop links or folders wherever you like. Hold the Cntrl key to select individual links and then drag them to a new folder. Nest as many folders as you like to streamline your top-level bookmark list.

Efficient organization of bookmarks and folders.

Between Speed Dial pages, organized bookmarks, and Web Panels, finding the pages and content you use the most is very fast.

Other Useful Features

If you look at the lower right corner of the Vivaldi web browser, you see a few more features Vivaldi offers.

Screen Capture

If you select the camera icon, you can perform a screen capture of an entire web page or a selection of the page.

Take screenshots using the bottom screenshot icon.

In order to combine several webpages into one screen, hold down the ctrl key and select multiple tabs. Then select the square box and they all combine into a single browser window. The same icon un-tiles the combined pages. This is an excellent way to use multiple web apps at once, like keeping your Google Calendar open in a side panel while browsing the web.

Mail, Calendar, Feed Reader, and Translate

With its big 4.0 update, Vivaldi added its own mail app, a calendar, an RSS reader, and the ability to translate web pages.

Vivaldi Mail offers to detect mailing lists and automatically categorize your mail. It also has a powerful search feature. It does everything on your own computer, instead of on a remote server. That way, Vivaldi says, you're not tied to a specific service provider.

With Vivaldi Feed Reader, you can now subscribe to new feeds directly in the browser via an icon. It's also integrated with Vivaldi Mail, so you can read, sort, and search your feeds and message all in one place. The reader works with most modern newspapers, blogs, and galleries, as well as YouTube channels and podcasts.

Vivaldi Calendar's biggest feature is the ability to store all of your data locally. Since your information isn't stored on a third-party server, it's more secure and won't be collected by companies.

Like the Calendar, Vivaldi's new Translate feature is focused on keeping your data private. The company is marketing it as a more trustworthy alternative to Google Translate. With it, you can translate a full web page easily into whatever language you choose. Since the engine used for the translation work is Vivaldi's own, and no third-party servers are involved, no one is collecting data on what you're reading.

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