Vivaldi: A Visual Guide

Every major feature of the Vivaldi browser described with gifs and images

Vivaldi is new a browser built for “power users”, which basically means it’s jam-packed with features. With so much hidden behind shortcuts, it’s hard to get a feel for the browser and know whether it’s right for you. To address that, this guide includes every major feature explained with gifs and images at the time of the V1.0 launch.

Note: This is a living document. Several people have already suggested better uses for features I didn’t previously understand. Please leave comments if I missed something and I’ll take another look at it.

Scores: out of 10. 1 is completely useless. 5 is perfectly standard. 10 is potentially game-changing. If a feature is a great idea but not there yet, I’ll split it into “execution” and “potential”


Table of Contents

Most of these features come from Vivaldi’s feature guide. Features in italics are features that I added because I found them compelling or interesting.

1. Faster Navigation

Speed Dial, Quick Commands, Rewind, Fast Forward

2. Smarter Browsing

Notes, Side Panel, Custom Search Engine, Web Panels, Loading Bar

3. Tab Management

Sessions, Visual Tabs, Tab Cycling, Tab Stacks, Trash Can, Tab Stack Tiling, Clone Tab

4. Bookmarks

Bookmarks Bar and Bookmark Nicknames

5. Shortcuts

Mouse Gestures, Keyboard Shortcuts, Spatial Navigation, Shortcut Cheat Sheet

6. Visual

Speed Dial Background, User Interface Scaling, Adaptive Interface Color, Web Page Zoom, One-click Color Change

7. Other

Settings search


1. Faster Navigation

Speed Dial, Quick Commands, Rewind, Fast Forward

Speed Dial (+ folders)

New tab brings up a grid of frequently-visited websites. Sites can be grouped into folders. New feature suggestions is a nice addition (screenshot). Pretty standard, well executed, no complaints.

Execution: 6/10


Quick Commands

⌘E brings up a command tool that lets you search and execute features (new tab, tiling states, bookmarks, etc). You can also search your open tabs, but only within that window (which is kind of a bummer). This is an absolutely killer feature, especially for new users. Some features like “Group Tabs By Similarity” are still missing though.

Execution: 8/10

Potential: 10/10


Rewind

Return to the first page you visited on this site. For example, if you go to reddit.com and browse around, “rewind” will take you back to reddit.com Cool, but not super useful.

Score: 6/10


Fast Forward

Jump to the next page in a sequence. Works anywhere there’s a “next page” button. Haven’t found it super useful since I’m usually at the bottom of the page when I want to hit the next button anyway. Occasionally buggy and gets stuck on a certain page sometimes. Someone did suggest that this is useful for keyboard-browsers with the shortcut.

Score: 3/10


2. Smarter Browsing

Notes, Side Panel, Custom Search Engine, Web Panels, Loading Bar

Notes

Take notes while you browse and link them to a specific site. Cool concept, but a little buggy and kind of weird how there’s no 1-click way to add the current URL to the “address” section.

Execution: 5/10

Potential: 7/10


Side Panel

Fast access to bookmarks, downloads and notes. Nice that you can hide it with a shortcut.

Score: 7/10


Custom Search Engine

Add almost any search field. You can see that I added “Youtube” here. Pretty cool way of extending a standard feature.

One complaint: it’s unclear how to use the shortcut (“y” for Youtube). Seems like I should be able to type “y” right? But you have to type “y” into the address bar (screenshot). Also, honestly who uses anything other than Google?

Score: 6/10


Web Panels

Add a regularly visited page as a web panel that’s kind of like picture-in-picture. Actually pretty useful for things you check regularly but don’t want to open a new tab for (like social media).

Complaint: I wish there was a way to set the size of the panel based on what it was. eg: notes gets 100 pixels wide and websites get 400 pixels wide.

Score: 8/10


Loading Bar

While you’re loading a page, Vivaldi will tell you the size of the page you’re downloading and how many assets there are. Subtle, useful, and disappears after the page loads.

Score: 9/10


3. Tab Management

Sessions, Visual Tabs, Tab Cycling, Tab Stacks, Trash Can, Tab Stack Tiling, Clone Tab

Sessions

Save a set of open tabs and open them whenever you want. Pretty standard and works decently well, but painfully slow (took 10+ seconds).

Execution: 4/10

Potential: 7/10


Visual Tabs

Expand the tab bar to see a visual preview of your open tabs.

Complaint: lingers open when you close a tab and then move your mouse away.

Score: 7/10


Tab Cycling

Quickly navigate between open tabs (kind of like ⌘Tab). Works perfectly well, but I found it annoying and disabled it.

Sore: 5/10


Tab Stacks

Drop a tab on top of another and save it as a stack. Stacks allow the user to put as many tabs as they want into the space of 1 tab.

Complaint: Very difficult to use. The tab usually falls to the left or the right of the stack instead of into the stack. Also, where’s the shortcut? “New tab in stack” shortcut would be nice too!

Execution: 3/10

Potential: 8/10


Trash Can

Restore closed tabs or blocked pop-ups. Great expansion on the standard “history” feature of most browsers.

Complaints: ⌘E can’t find “trash”, it’s not searchable in settings, and there’s no shortcut.

Score: 8/10


Tab Stack Tiling

View all the tabs in a stack as a grid, rows, or columns. Amazing when using a large screen.

Score: 9/10


Clone Tab

Creates a new tab with the same URL and history (you can hit “back” in both the original and the clone). Perfectly nice feature, would be nice if you could clone into a stack.

Score: 6/10


Group Similar Tabs

Takes all the tabs with the same base URL and puts them into one stack. Awesome feature that basically saves the stack feature, and ties in really well with the tiling feature.

Complaint: Where’s the shortcut! Also, it’s not searchable with ⌘E.

Execution: 7/10

Potential: 10/10


4. Bookmarks

Bookmarks Bar and Bookmark Nicknames

Bookmarks Bar and Bookmark Nicknames

A toolbar to simplify accessing and managing your bookmarks (Vivaldi browser, you got a typo!). Nice to not have to open a whole new page just for bookmarks.

Complaint: Occasionally buggy. In the gif below, you’ll see that after searching the tag “electronics”, it shows the correct results and then for some reason shows the full list of bookmarks.

Score: 6/10


5. Shortcuts

Mouse Gestures, Keyboard Shortcuts, Spatial Navigation, Shortcut Cheat Sheet

Mouse Gestures

Perform every key browser action with mouse movements. If you’re on a trackpad, you can use “alt” instead of right click.

Very meh. Registers about 70% of the time (10% of the time it registers a different gesture). Also, if you have hotcorners or multiple screens, it’s disorienting since almost every gesture has your mouse flying to a corner of the screen. Would be an awesome feature if it disabled mouse movements kind of like the mac Chinese handwriting tool.

Execution: 3/10

Potential: 8/10


Keyboard Shortcuts

Use key combinations to perform browser actions quickly. Absolutely love the customizability here. Everything is searchable, and it lets you know when a key combination is already taken.

Score: 10/10


Spatial Navigation

Use ⇧←, ⇧↑, ⇧→, ⇧↓ to navigate the page just by highlighting links. I assume this is for keyboard-browsers, but I found it very buggy and frustrating. You’ll see in the gif below that I get stuck in some kind of loop and can’t ⇧↓ any further.

Score: 2/10

Also, scrolling does this really buggy thing (though to be fair, if you’re using this, you’re likely not scrolling):


Shortcut Cheat Sheet

There’s a shortcut to bring up this list of all the shortcuts! It’s kind of like CheatSheet, and again, everything is searchable! Honestly a little redundant since all the shortcuts are in the ⌘E menu, but still great.

Score: 10/10


6. Visual

Speed Dial Background, User Interface Scaling, Adaptive Interface Color, Web Page Zoom, One-click Color Change

Speed Dial Background

Personalize the background image of your Speed Dial. The default colors and images are actually quite nice.

Score: 7/10


Adaptive Interface Color

Vivaldi’s user interface adapts to the color of the web page you’re viewing. After a while you start associating the colors to the websites. It does get a little chaotic at times though, and I’m considering disabling it.

Score: 6/10


Web Page Zoom

Zoom the contents of a web page up and down. Nothing extraordinary, but a perfectly good feature with solid shortcuts.

Score: 7/10


One-click Color Change

Change the UI of Vivaldi with just one click. Also not game-changing, but perfectly fine.

Score: 6/10


7. Other

Settings search

Settings Search

Search all of the settings for keywords. Absolutely killer, I wish more websites did this.

Score: 10/10


Conclusion

Vivaldi has a lot of great stuff going on, but I can’t shake the feeling that it it’s not a solid, cohesive product yet. That being said, I think with time and some performance upgrades (some basic features are incredibly slow), this could very easily become my goto browser.

One interesting flaw I found is that as a “power user”, I already have a pretty elaborate shortcut schema that clashes pretty frequently with the browser’s shortcuts. It’s not a huge deal since I’ll change the browser shortcuts over time, but I found it kind of ironic.

I have high hopes for Vivaldi, but for now, I’m going to keep an eye on the update text and stick to chrome.

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