Thanks to the underlying WebKit-based engine Blink they both share, it’s surprisingly easy to take Chrome extensions and use them on Opera (and, less practical but still as cool, do the reverse and use Opera extensions in Chrome). Read on as we show you how to port your favorite extensions effortlessly across the browser barrier.
How Exactly Does This Work?
Back in 2013 Google announced a pretty significant shift in Chrome development: they ditched the WebKit rendering engine for an engine derived from WebKit, Blink. The Opera development team was onboard with the shift toward Blink and they, too, ditched WebKit for Blink.
Years later they’re still using the same shared rendering engine so, beneath all the browser chrome and customizations, the two browsers share the same heart, if you will. As such, it’s pretty darn easy to shift extensions across the barrier between the two of them. So easy in fact that as soon as you complete some minor configuration on the respective browsers you can install extensions without any modification; it’s a straight select and install affair.
Let’s take a look at the process for both Chrome and Opera, starting with Chrome because, no offense Opera extension developers, there are a lot more people looking to grab one of the many numerous Chrome extensions and bring them over to Opera than the reverse.
Installing Chrome Extensions in Opera
For the Opera fans who want to do a little cheating with Chrome extensions, the process is easy peasy. The first step is to open Opera and head over to the Opera Add-Ons repository to install the “Download Chrome Extensions” extension.
Once the add-on is installed, the next stop is the Chrome Web Store to pick out some Chrome extensions. Let’s say, for example, that you really liked the Netflix improvements we highlighted in our review of Flix Plus but you were disappointed it was a Chrome extension and unavailable for Opera.
That’s no longer a problem, if you head to the Chrome store page for Flix Plus while using Opera with Download Chrome Extensions installed you’ll see this.
By the magic of convergent rendering engines, all the extension bounty of the Chrome Web Store is now yours. Go forth and pillage the extensions.
Installing Opera Extensions in Chrome
Installing Opera extensions in Chrome isn’t quite as straight forward but it’s still pretty simple. If you can save files, rename them, and drag and drop them, you’re in business.
Like you’d imagine, you need to navigate over to the Opera Add-ons repository to find the an extension you’d like to use. We tried our darndest to find a extension we wanted that wasn’t also in the Chrome store (and wasn’t an Opera-only extension that, say, specifically edited an Opera-only feature) but the list of extensions for Chrome is so much longer our search was slow going and fruitless. Regardless, we’re still here to show you how to do it.
The first step is to find an extension in the Opera Add-on repository you want. For the purposes of this tutorial we’re installing AlienTube from Add-on repository. To do so, simply navigate in Chrome (you don’t even need Opera installed) to the page of the extension you want.
Right click on the “Add to Opera” button, as seen above, and select “Save link as…”; the file will have the name extensions name.version.nex. Save the file and swap out the .NEX part with .CRX (the default file extension for Chrome browser extensions).
After renaming the file return to Chrome and navigate to the Extensions page via the browser menu (Menu -> More Tools -> Extensions) or by typing chrome://extensions/ in the address bar. Drag and drop the freshly saved and renamed file right back onto your Chrome browser window. Chrome will prompt you with a simple permission check like so.
If the requested permissions are acceptable to you, click “Add” and you’re all done.
Thanks to the underlying shared architecture you’re never more than a few clicks away from adding Chrome extensions to Opera or vice versa.