Home > Desktop > Opera 9 to add tab thumbnail images

Opera 9 to add tab thumbnail images

February 1, 2006


I was able to obtain a screenshot of the unreleased Opera 9, currently in development, which shows a new hover feature. When hovering over a tab, a thumbnail image of the tab (page/window) content is shown (see screenshot below).

Internet Explorer’s (IE) latest preview release contains a similar feature, however, IE doesn’t show the thumbnail image when hovering over the tab, it only displays the thumbnails of all open tabs in a single window.

Opera 9 tab thumbnail

Opera 9 tab thumbnail

Categories: Desktop
  1. February 1, 2006 at 2:18 pm


  2. February 1, 2006 at 2:30 pm

    Ooohh, Pretty! Hope it doesn’t eat up resources. 😉

  3. February 1, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    Nice one. He we are waiting with 9.0P1, and you are showing the us the stuff we can’t have 😦

    I can’t believe it’s been over 3 months since the last Opera test release. I have been suffering Gmail crashes since then 😦

  4. February 1, 2006 at 2:41 pm


    I was just told by a source to expect the next Technical Preview version to be released within the next few weeks.

    A little while ago I wrote that an Opera official told me that it will be released soon, however I wasn’t given any timeline.

  5. February 1, 2006 at 3:44 pm

    There is my B-Bay in two weeks… February 14! So, it would be great present! 🙂

  6. Anonymous
    February 1, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    Please, don’t do that. There’s a reason why Opera ASA has official release date WIR at CET.

    Repeatedly saying “it comes really soon now” doesn’t do anything good … at least in my opinion.

    No offense meant in any case … just wanted to point at it.

  7. Anonymous
    February 1, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    Oh, and I forgot: I will passionately love the thumbnail option.

  8. EnwTheGood
    February 1, 2006 at 4:05 pm

    Yeah, the thumbnail option looks great. I feel really strange saying this, but if you haven’t tried AOL Explorer, AOL’s IE shell, you should give it a shot if only to see where this feature’s coming from. Apart from the IE-ness, it’s surprisingly good, and has tab thumbnails that fade into and out of focus as you mouse over them – the whole browser looks amazing.

  9. February 1, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Daniel,

    The thumbnail option looks great, but the ability to see the contents of all tabs on screen at the same time is pretty cool too. For all the buzz IE7 is getting about its Quick Tabs feature (and the Firefox extensions that allow the same thing), I think people ought to know that Opera has had that capability for a long time. In my opinion, Opera does it even better. I wrote about it here: http://my.opera.com/Lawmune/blog/show.dml/108520

  10. Anonymous
    February 1, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    Thumbnail in tooltip looks unorganized. It’s like slapped on onto well-integrated interface.

    If thumbails are supposed to be main feature, they should be integrated in UI as well. How about (temporarily) making tabs high enough to hold thumbnail under the title? Or thumbnail panel, like in OmniWeb?

  11. February 1, 2006 at 5:04 pm


    There are two features that come with IE’s Quick Tab (their thumbnail option) that are both lacking in Opera.

    1) In IE a single page displays the content of all open tabs.

    Opera’s ‘Tile’ option, which you claim achieves the same result, is different, since Opera doesn’t zoom out and make the pages smaller, it merely adds a horizontal and vertical scrollbars while keeping the same page zoom. IE, on the other hand, uses the zoom-in feature to display the page.

    In other words, IE’s quick tab provides you with a “thumbnail”, while Opera’s tile provides you with a “snip” preview of the page.

    2) IE gives you the ability to easily maximize the page you’re looking for, you just click on the thumbnail and you’re there.

    With Opera you have to click on the ‘maximize’ button to enlarge the tab, however the other tabs don’t get maximized — they stay in the ’tile’ position even when they become the active tab. I’m aware that you can use Window > Maximize all… this does the job most of the time, however it also maximizes tabs that were originally set for a smaller size.

  12. Anonymous
    February 1, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    Can’t wait for the next 9.0 TP…


  13. February 1, 2006 at 5:41 pm


    Looking at it another way, Opera’s feature has capabilities that IE7 lacks.

    Having the page zoom change when viewing thumbnails can be annoying because the text often becomes unreadable (this happened to me when I tried foXpose with 6 tabs). In Opera, the layout readjusts itself to the new smaller window size. Vertical scrollbars are normal and expected, but when you set Opera’s Fit-to-window-width to be turned on by default, horizontal scrolling can be avoided a lot of the time. Opera is designed to look good on small screens, so using the tile function this way is pretty effective.

    Plus, the tiled windows are actually usable (you can scroll and click on links), something you can’t do with mere thumbnails that other programs provide.

    Regarding your second point about maximizing tiled windows. Actually, I failed to mention that my “maximize” button is programmed to “maximize all”. So all I have to do is select the window I want to be active and then click my “maximize” button. That tab will maximize in front, and the rest of the tabs maximize in the background.

    While you are correct that any smaller windowed tabs will now lose their original size, one could argue that’s a fair tradeoff considering that you can’t even have smaller tabbed windows in a lot of browsers. Besides, I usually have all my tabs maximized anyway. Do people routinely use different window sizes for their different tabs?

  14. February 1, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    As I suggested some time ago, thumbnails could be added to the windows panel; along with grouping and better management, Opera could really get much better management of pages (or “tabs” in newspeak!)

  15. Anonymous
    February 1, 2006 at 6:59 pm

    That’s a nice feature. However, it will actually be useful, if the list of tabs opened that appears when pressing Ctrl+Tab displays the thumbnails of the webpages. And not just the title!!

    Just my cents, and waiting for a beta, that should happen soon if they want to “counter-act” to IE buzz!!

  16. February 1, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    I can’t wait for this to come out, this is going to be so good but like Brian Rubin said. Am concerned about resources on my laptop, while I run Opera out of choice anyway, the laptop is only a PIII! All the same, I can use it on the desktop so all is good. Nice one Opera, looking forward to it!

  17. February 1, 2006 at 7:43 pm

    As mentioned a few posts it would be nice to have this as part of the ctrl+tab page list.
    Perhaps a grid type view of all opened tabs.

    What would be very funky is rather than a static image of the page, use the power of the Opera render engine and show the actual page but at 10%. Non interactive of course, but this will then show movie objects of the page in the ‘thumbnails’. Of course this could be resource intensive, but should only be active when viewing the ‘thumbnails’.

  18. February 1, 2006 at 7:50 pm

    One thing I forgot to mention in my post, it appears from the screenshots that I’ve seen, that the ‘bookmark’ icon in the address bar has been removed.

  19. February 1, 2006 at 8:31 pm

    Don’t know if it is really better: you have to hover it in order to see it. Doesn’t it hurt accessibility?

  20. Anonymous
    February 1, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    I’m not too sure if I’ll care for it myself… I DO hope they’ll have the option in preferences to turn it off.

  21. February 1, 2006 at 10:32 pm

    I don’t think about thumbnails as useful feature for most people – either way it implemented in Opera 9 or IE 7. Usually Opera users have 5-10 pages opened simultaneously, so with all tab’s titles and icons it’s already easy to navigate.
    I have seen only one native and pretty useful implementation of thumbnails in OmniWeb browser (demo or screenshot.
    I don’t know why Opera not improving Windows panel. They can easily add an option to show page thumbnails here, and improve functionality.

  22. February 1, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    I can’t wait!!!:)

  23. Anonymous
    February 1, 2006 at 11:00 pm

    This new feature doesnt’ mean anything to me, since I don’t need to view the tab bar, or any bar at all… Keyboard shortcuts is all I need… the fastest way to surf.

  24. February 1, 2006 at 11:04 pm

    Anonymous above, This feature could still come in to use one day, if you only use shortcuts. The thumbnail preview could be added to the CTR+TAB keys too.

  25. Anonymous
    February 1, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    You’re right, I hope they will do it!

  26. February 1, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    In my previous comment, I neglected to mention that Opera does in fact change the page zoom somewhat when making smaller windows (when Fit-to-window-width is set as the default rendering mode.)

    The difference is that Opera does not reduce everything in size equally. Doing so would often result in a bad looking or nearly unreadable webpage (like you see in webpage thumbnails in foXpose). Instead, Opera adjusts the layout (in addition to the zoom) so the page is still readable and usuable.

    This is all made possible by Opera’s MDI and ERA technologies. In my opinion, it’s even better than thumbnails (which are often too small to really help you decide whether or not any given tab you opened is actually worth reading).

  27. Anonymous
    February 2, 2006 at 1:29 am

    I still prefer the way IE does its Quick Tabs (which is reminiscent of a window management feature on OS X), but this addition to Opera might be useful as well to some degree.

  28. Kildor
    February 2, 2006 at 2:18 am

    Intresting… It also can be usefull in bookmarks manager, if this thumbnails can be save as png, it can be showed as preview of visited pages…

  29. February 2, 2006 at 2:27 am

    Aweful feature! I hope the others will be similar!

  30. Anonymous
    February 2, 2006 at 4:21 am

    yup, another useless function to slow everything 🙂

    pretty awful.

  31. February 2, 2006 at 9:17 am

    Seems Opera has waited for Microsoft to show their hand of cards with IE7 B2, before it’s finaised Opera 9 feature set.

    Smart Move…

  32. Anonymous
    February 2, 2006 at 11:01 am


    the best reason why i come again and again to Opera is it is NOT resource hungry. i hope you keep this quality in the future versions.

  33. February 2, 2006 at 1:39 pm

    Actually, I think both features would be useful. Opera should also add a thumbnail gallery view, and IE should also add a hover thumbnail.

    If you’ve played around with current versions of Mac OS X, the ability to look at thumbnails of all of an app’s open windows at once is very nice. It’s much easier to pick the right window that way than just going by the title on an icon or cycling through with Alt+Tab.

  34. February 2, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Thumbnails only improve usability when you can easily see them grouped with others… if you’re focusing on each tab to get the thumbnail, you’ve already discretely focused on the tab anyway, so why do you need a thumbnail? I strongly hope they incorporate the thumbnails in the windows panel… sure other browsers have done it, but it’s the most useful representation apart from doing an expose type of reveal.. I’ve hacked an expose of sorts for my Opera. I’ve mouse gestured a “tile veritically” and another for maximize all..

  35. Anonymous
    February 2, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Nice to see that the tab bar is still in the WRONG place.

  36. February 2, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    why is the tab bar in the wrong place? tabs should be group visually above the address bar.. the address bar should be closest to the content of the page. makes the most sense to me.

    Not like you can’t move it.

  37. Anonymous
    February 2, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    The tab bar is in the RIGHT place. The tab bar is global, remember, while the address bar belongs to each page.

  38. Anonymous
    February 2, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    Firefox has an extension for this function 2 months ago.

  39. Anonymous
    February 2, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    Tab bar is in the right place, especially for a internet suite like opera, imagine using the IRC and Mail part of Opera with the address bar as in firefox, redundant buttons clutter! clutter! clutter! by shoust

  40. Anonymous
    February 2, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    > Firefox has an extension for this
    > function 2 months ago.

    And IE shells had it for years. Why Firefox fanboys are always bragging about features that Firefox didn’t really invent and are available as extensions only?

  41. February 2, 2006 at 6:38 pm

    I wrote out my full argument on why Opera’s existing functionality is better than tab thumbnails (whether in Opera or Firefox) with screenshots to illustrate: http://www.cjas.org/~leng/lainspotting/2006/02/problem-with-tab-thumbnails.html

  42. Achaeopterix
    February 2, 2006 at 9:00 pm

    The tab bar is in the wrong position. As it is in IE and FF.

    Fortunately, in Opera I can put the tab bar in the right place, below the pages and on top of the task bar, as it should be.

    In these other browsers I can’t change the location of the tab bar.

  43. Grayson Mixon
    February 2, 2006 at 9:49 pm

    Anyone can easily download Opera 9.0 preview release 1 from http://snapshot.opera.com/. It’s been out since October. A simple search on google for “opera beta” turns up the beta testing page.

  44. Anonymous
    February 2, 2006 at 9:51 pm

    exclusive screenshot my butt. i’ve been using 9.0 preview for months now. anybody can. it’s freely available, and at the top of google results.

  45. February 2, 2006 at 9:55 pm

    Anonymous above, these screenshots are not from the current release of the Opera 9 preview. Check your facts.

  46. Anonymous
    February 2, 2006 at 10:05 pm

    Doods. AOL Explorer has been showing thumbnails in cool ways for a year now. The 1.2 release also has a very slick Quick Tabs feature that is much more useful (and cooler) than IE7.

    All you AOL haters…check it out on browser.aol.com

  47. Kildor
    February 2, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    Yes, tabbar in a wrong place… 😉
    It should be in left, instead of sidebars. (and sidebars should be in right edge… 😉 )
    And Opera is unique programm, what can customise as I want… 😉

  48. Anonymous
    February 3, 2006 at 9:27 am

    Mark Gillespie wrote…

    “Seems Opera has waited for Microsoft to show their hand of cards with IE7 B2, before it’s finaised Opera 9 feature set.”

    That’s some assumption! I have no idea what this has to do with IE7. The thumb on hover thing is not in IE7 anyway.

    Basically, you are wrong.

  49. Anonymous
    February 3, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    I don’t like/use tabs, but if the tabs would be replaced with a small (narrow) panel with simple thumbnails showing a preview of the page – I think I’ll be conveted.


  50. Anonymous
    February 6, 2006 at 8:31 am

    What would be the benefit of this?
    If I open a link in a tab I want actually browse this page sooner or later and therefore I don’t need a thumbnail preview of this.
    Any good reasons I miss?

  51. Anonymous
    February 7, 2006 at 2:56 am

    “If thumbails are supposed to be main feature, they should be integrated in UI as well. How about (temporarily) making tabs high enough to hold thumbnail under the title?”

    Tabs high enough for the thumbnails?
    Whoa, I’m glad you aren’t the UI designer here. 🙂

    I think it’s looking great, and can see its use too — to quickly just hover over tabs to see what’s loaded there.

  52. Anonymous
    February 7, 2006 at 2:58 am

    “Fortunately, in Opera I can put the tab bar in the right place, below the pages and on top of the task bar, as it should be.”

    From a UI design perspective, it’s better to have the controls as close to each other as possible to reduce mouse movements. Having the menu+toolbar on top, and tab bar on bottom, you increase the potential mouse movements when surfing the web. This is why tabs are often on top, and menus connected to toolbars.

  53. August 1, 2006 at 7:35 am

    > Firefox has an extension for this
    > function 2 months ago.

    could you please link it to me

  54. irritating
    November 30, 2006 at 4:54 am

    How about an option to turn the damn thumbnail preview off. Its quite annoying to have this “feature” that gets in the way and no way to turn it off.

  55. irritating
    November 30, 2006 at 5:31 am

    hmmm…upon further investigation, if you untick the “show tooltips” in the Tools>Preferences>Advanced>Browsing window, the annoying little thumbnails go away 🙂

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: