Open source browser Vivaldi is totally customizable, with support for Chrome extensions to pile on extra features
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Vivaldi, which is based on the same technology as Google Chrome, is a fully customizable open source browser. You can choose your own shortcuts, alter the main menu design and specify the control panel placement.
Vivaldi also lets you arrange browser tabs, letting you place the tabs at the top, bottom, left or right of the screen. You can also hide them altogether and use shortcuts instead. If you're prone to keeping lots of tabs open, Vivaldi lets you stack and group them to make navigation even easier. Save your favourite tabs after a session, ready to reload any time.
A built-in browser notification function makes it easy to create memos. Vivaldi then takes a screen shot of your desktop and adds it to your memo automatically.
You can use Vivaldi to access the Chrome Web Store, and you can use Chrome add-ons to expand Vivaldi with a host of extra functions.
Other Vivaldi versions
How to use Vivaldi 1. Choose a color scheme and layout
Color schemes are Vivaldi's latest addition, and after installing the browser you'll be invited to select a palette (note the Internet Explorer-inspired theme cheekily named Redmond). If nothing here takes your fancy, you can select your own exact shades in the browser's settings later. Theme scheduling is planned for the browser's next release, letting you pick different colors for certain times of day.
Next, choose where you want the tab bar positioned. It might seem counter-intuitive to have your tabs along one side if you're used to Chrome, Firefox, IE or Edge (and you can keep them at the top if you prefer) but these extra options give you a live thumbnail preview that makes managing open pages easier.
Finally, you'll be asked to pick a background for your start page; there's a selection of tasteful abstract options, or you can use a photo of your own.
2. Set up your homepage
Your default homepage in Vivaldi is called Speed Dial. It's similar to the bookmarks toolbar, with sites represented by square tiles. Each tile has a refresh button that enables you to check for updates without visiting the site - particularly useful for blogs. Move your cursor over a tile and click the cross to remove it, and use the plus button to add new ones.
Beside the Speed Dial heading you'll see a plus icon, which lets you add another page for quick navigation; you might want one page for work, another for social media and another for academic resources, for example.
If you're more of a traditionalist, you can set a single site as your homepage and manage your favorite sites using the bookmarks menu. Bookmarks work just like they do in Firefox, Chrome, IE and Edge, and you can add several sites at once by right-clicking the tabs bar.
3. Learn to use the Panel
Bookmarks and downloads are accessible via a narrow navigation bar on the left called the Panel, which can be collapsed using a little switch at the bottom.
Here you'll also find a notes tool that works much like a text-only version of Evernote, enabling you to jot down thoughts while you browse. You can also add site links to the Panel, which open alongside the main browser window. This is a particularly good way to keep an eye on your Twitter feed.
At the bottom of the Panel you'll find Vivaldi's main settings icon. As you'd expect, the options here are extensive. Some of the most significant are: keyboard, where you can define your own shortcuts; mouse, for setting gestures; and privacy, including phishing protection.
If you're on a slow connection, you can toggle images off using the small picture icon at the bottom left. The double arrow icon beside this offers a range of filters and effects. Some of these (like highlight focus and the CSS debugger) have a clear purpose, whereas others (like the 3D effect that skews the page to create a 'turning' effect) are just for fun.
4. Add extensions
Finally, visit vivaldi://extensions to access to the Chrome web store, where you can install any add-on built for Google's web browser. Extension icons will appear to the right of the browser's search box.
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