The best browser for productivity isn’t Chrome, it’s Vivaldi


For some time now, I’ve wanted to make Vivaldi my default desktop web browser.

Vivaldi proudly offers its browser to powerful users, incorporating the kind of tab management tools that would otherwise require a long list of clunky browser extensions. It’s also packed with customization options, so you’re never just a click or a keyboard shortcut away from what you’re trying to accomplish.

But until this week, I had to look aside as Vivaldi rolled out an intriguing feature after the next one. Unlike Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi did not support installing websites as desktop apps. This feature, which allows sites like Gmail and Notion to run in their own windows without the usual browser clutter, has become so important to my workflow that I can’t use any browser without it.

On Thursday, Vivaldi released an update that adds support for web apps, and finally, I’m cramming all the powerful tools the browser has to offer. If you are suffering from browser tab overload, you should at least give it a try.

A full rundown of every feature of Vivaldi would be too long to list here, but here are the ones I like the most:

Web applications

Right click on any tab and you will see a “Create Shortcut” option at the bottom of the context menu. Select this option and click “Open as window” to install the site as a stand-alone application on your computer. Now, you can launch the site directly from the macOS apps list or Windows Start menu, and you can optionally pin it to your docking station or taskbar. It will also open in its own window without the usual tab bar and browser menus, so it looks like a regular app.

It’s a great way to turn sites like Gmail, Tweetdeck, Notion, or Google Calendar into stand-alone apps, separating them from the rest of your tabs. It’s the only feature that finally makes Vivaldi whole, and it’s unfortunately still missing from Firefox and MacOS Safari.

Web panels

Instead of having you open a new browser tab just to glance at your calendar or email, Vivaldi can load any website as a “web panel”, which slides into a view. side by side with your current tab. Each site has its own icon in Vivaldi’s sidebar menu, so you can quickly open, close, and switch between different panels. It’s the fastest way to check out your favorite sites without committing to another tab.

Dig up old tabs

Click on the little trash can icon at the end of your tab list and you’ll see a list of every tab and browser window you’ve recently closed. While Chrome also has a “Recently Closed” feature, it’s hidden behind several menu layers where you’re unlikely to ever use it.

Vivaldi also makes your recent browsing history easier to access than other browsers. Just click on the clock icon in Vivaldi’s side menu and a searchable list appears with every page you’ve visited in the last day (or longer, if you want).

Vertical tabs

Aside from Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi is the only major browser that can display your tabs in a sidebar rather than at the top of the screen. This allows you to display more tabs on the screen without overwriting them or hiding their page titles, and while it takes a few weeks to get used to, it’s hard to go back once you get the hang of it. did it.

Vivaldi also goes a step further than Edge by letting you organize tabs along the right or bottom edges of the screen. (You will find these options in the “Tabs” section of Vivaldi settings.)

Tab stacks

While other browsers like Chrome and Safari have started to dabble in collapsible tab groups, Vivaldi has been doing it for years and offers several ways to group similar tabs together.

My favorite is the “two-tier tab stack,” which creates a second row of tabs for each group. You can also set up “Accordion” tabs, which expand to show the entire group when clicked, or “Compact” groups which essentially look like tabs within tabs. These are great alternatives to sorting tabs in separate windows, although Vivaldi supports this as well.

The quick command bar

By pressing Ctrl + E or Cmd + E in Vivaldi, a search bar for all your open tabs is displayed. So you can type the title of any tab and access it by pressing Enter.

In all fairness, Chrome recently added its own tab finder, accessed by pressing Ctrl + Shift + A, but Vivaldi’s command bar can also search the web, bookmarks, and your browsing history. And if you head to Settings> Quick Commands, you can enable additional options like a built-in calculator and search for extensions. It’s the kind of universal browser search tool that you think Google would have figured out a long time ago.

String things together

Vivaldi has also started to branch out into automation with its “Command Chains” feature, which allows you to perform multiple browser actions at the same time. Some examples: load multiple sites at once in separate tabs, show a site in Vivaldi’s reading view while going full screen, or get a blank slate by opening your home page and closing all other tabs.

You can find the Command String Builder under Settings> Quick Commands. Once you’ve created them, you can run them via the command bar Ctrl + E or assign them to keyboard shortcuts under Settings> Keyboard.

Take a break

If you spend too much time on the web, Vivaldi’s pause mode can help you stay focused. Press Ctrl +. or Cmd +., and Vivaldi will lock the address bar, cover your current web page, and hide the page titles of all your open tabs. All that’s missing is a way to run the mode on a timer.

Save tabs for later

Are you afraid to close your browser because you might need some of the tabs you have open? Vivaldi’s “Save All Tabs As Session” feature should make you feel comfortable, keeping all your tabs, stacks, and windows as you left them. You can find this functionality by clicking on the “V” icon at the top and heading to the File menu, where you will also see the option to open any sessions that you have previously recorded.

Finally wrapping up, you might find that you don’t need all of these tabs as much as you thought.

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