Opera's Kiosk Mode

Opera can be run in kiosk mode, which is a mode mainly suited for information stands. Such stands are typically found in libraries, airports, bank offices, or shopping malls. The information stand will run a browser that lets the user browse for the necessary information, but denies access to the computer and browser settings. After a period of inactivity, the browser should reset and return to a specified home page.

The following document applies to desktop versions for Windows, Linux, Mac, FreeBSD, and Solaris. It was last updated for Opera version 11.61


Kiosk mode automatically configures Opera for use with information stands. Certain functionality has been hidden from the user, and special functions are enabled to make kiosk maintenance easier. Opera's kiosk mode supports all of the basic functions mentioned above, and a lot more, keeping all standard browsing functionality intact.

The following is a technical document that is primarily aimed at system administrators. The document explains recommended preferences settings, command-line options, URL filters, and relevant changes to the opera:config settings when using Opera in kiosk mode.


Related documents

Setting up a simple stand

Follow these steps to set up a simple information stand:

  1. Download and install the latest version of Opera.
  2. Start Opera.
  3. Make Opera the default browser on your computer. For information on how to do this on MacOS, please read our knowledge base article.
  4. Set a home page (on non-MacOS systems) by selecting Settings > Preferences > General from the menu.
  5. Set a home page (on MacOS) by selecting Opera > Preferences > General from the menu.
  6. You will most likely want to disable Opera's Password Manager. To do this (on non-MacOS systems), select Settings > Preferences > Forms and uncheck "Enable Password Manager".
    • On MacOS, select Opera > Preferences > Forms and uncheck "Enable Password Manager".

Now you can exit Opera and restart it in kiosk mode by adding the kioskmode switch to the command line. A typical modified command line, or shortcut target, will look like this:

  • Windows: C:\Program Files\Opera\opera.exe /KioskMode
  • UNIX: opera -kioskmode
  • Mac: Applications/Opera.app/Contents/MacOS/Opera -kioskmode

Note: For security reasons, the kiosk should preferably be running on a guest user account with limited permissions.

Automatic configuration

These settings are made automatically when Opera enters kiosk mode:

  • Start-up dialogs are not shown
  • Full-screen mode is enabled by default
  • All toolbars are disabled
  • The application bar is disabled
  • Panels remain accessible
  • Opening links in new pages and in the background is disabled
  • Speed Dial is disabled
  • Users cannot exit full-screen mode by pressing Esc
  • Direct access to the system and other programs is denied through blocking of application keys and system keys on Windows and Linux (this may not work on all Linux or Windows distributions):
    • Ctrl+Esc is disabled
    • Alt+Tab is disabled
    • Alt+Escape is disabled
  • For Mac OS X, direct access to the system and other programs is denied through the use of Apple's kiosk APIs (called SystemUIMode).
  • "Submit" buttons are disabled to prevent file upload
  • The Help function is disabled
  • If a user closes the last open page, the home page will be loaded and maximized automatically

Note: Windows does not allow Opera to block access to the Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del). To block access to the Task Manager (recommended), you will need to replace the GINA used by Windows. Please see the MSDN article on Customizing GINA, Part 1 and Part 2 for further details.

Note: for kiosks running on Mac OS X, we recommend using Mac OS version 10.4 through 10.6, due to limitations of the kiosk APIs in earlier versions and problems with restricting full screen applications in Mac OS Lion (10.7).

Setting up an advanced stand

You may want to further customize your information stand, and the kiosk mode defaults can be changed as well as successfully combined with other settings and switches. For example, it may be necessary to hide more functionality from users, or take certain precautions for added security and privacy.

Other recommended settings:

  • Disable mouse gestures (for all non-MacOS platforms) by going to Settings > Preferences > Advanced > Shortcuts and unchecking "Enable mouse gestures".
  • Disable mouse gestures (for MacOS) by going to Opera > Preferences > Advanced > Shortcuts and unchecking "Enable mouse gestures".
  • Enable the main bar using the "kioskbuttons" switch.
  • Customize the main bar to remove unused buttons.
  • Disable the Problem Dialog setting in opera:config from showing after a crash or improper system shutdown.

If you keep the address bar hidden, note that pop-ups may still show the address bar. You can choose to disable this by setting the address bar to hidden, using Settings > Toolbars > Address bar.

Remember that if you want to change settings from within the Opera user interface, you have to run it in regular mode to access these settings. After you have finished those changes, remember to close Opera before editing any .ini files you want to change. Configuration files should never be edited directly while Opera is running.

Command-line Options

Running Opera with command-line options, or switches, forces certain behaviors. Switches can be combined.

Switches automatically enabled

Kiosk mode enables the following switches automatically:

  • nochangebuttons
  • nochangefullscreen
  • nosplash
  • nominmaxbuttons

Opera's switches

The following table lists and describes all switches that can be used with Opera. The letters used in the "Notes" column signify:

  • EXclusive to kiosk mode
  • Automatically enabled in kiosk mode
  • Highly recommended in kiosk mode
Switch Description Notes
kioskmode or k Starts Opera in kiosk mode - see above for details
kioskbuttons Will enable the main toolbar and address bar in full-screen and kiosk modes X
kioskresetstation Will return to the homepage specified after a certain period of inactivity in seconds, specified in "Go Home Time Out" setting in the opera:config. The timeout must be between 30 and 6000 seconds. This setting does not clear any browsing data. X
kioskspeeddial Enables a read-only version of Speed Dial. By default, Speed Dial is disabled X
kioskwindows Enables Multiple Document Interface (MDI) and the page bar, opening links in new page X
nochangebuttons Disables button preferences A, H
nochangefullscreen Disables switching between full-screen and normal view A
nocontextmenu Removes all context menus H
nodownload Disables download dialogs and aborts all downloads silently (also prevents installation of Opera widgets and setup files). Note that this does not disable BitTorrent. That should always be disabled separately, using the BitTorrent Enable setting in opera:config. H
noexit Menu item "Exit" will prompt for the master password, and ask to set one if one is not already set Use with care
nokeys Disables all keyboard shortcuts H
nomail For UNIX, this disables the e-mail client, the News and Newsfeed client, and the chat client. This setting is not available on Windows or Mac; use the "Show E-mail Client" setting in opera:config instead. Use along with the nomaillinks switch to ensure external clients cannot be used. H
nomaillinks Disables "mailto:" links so that no e-mail or newsgroup client is launched. Use along with the nomail switch. H
nomenu Disables Opera's menu
  • Also prevents the content blocker from being accessed, so filters cannot be changed
  • Also prevents access to site preferences
  • Also prevents adding search shortcuts
nominmaxbuttons Disables the minimize, maximize, and close buttons on application bar A
noprint Disables the print button
nosave Disables saving of files, pages, images, and links from Web pages. Should be used along with nomaillinks and nomail. H
nosplash or e Disables the start-up dialog. Has no effect if Opera did not exit cleanly. A
nowin Skips reading of session files on start-up so that Opera cannot start with a saved session
resetonexit Will clear private data (history, cache, and cookies) and files that store JavaScript and URL password warnings X, H
  • ScreenWidth 800
  • ScreenHeight 600
Changes the resolution of the screen to 800 by 600. The resolution will be reset to its previous value when Opera exits.

See the document Opera's Command-Line Options for a complete overview.

URL filtering

Filtering is used to limit browsing to certain sites, or to exclude certain file types.

Setting up a filter

To enable URL filtering in Opera, a filter file must be defined in the URL Filter File setting in opera:config. This filter file is also used by Opera's content blocker feature.

The filter file is in a standard ini format. It should have an [include] and an [exclude] section that define both URLs to allow and URLs to filter out. The filter supports the "*" wildcard as a catch-all, see below for usage examples. Note that Opera will exclude all URLs that are not specifically included.

Follow these steps to enable filtering:

  1. Exit Opera.
  2. Define a filter file in opera:config.
  3. Create a filter file, if it does not exist already.
  4. Make an [exclude] section listing the URLs to block.
  5. Make an [include] section listing the URLs to allow.
  6. Restart Opera.

By default, the [exclude] list has precedence over the [include] list, but a priority flag can be set to change it by following these steps:

  1. Exit Opera.
  2. Open the filter file and add a [prefs] section, if it does not exist already.
  3. Give precedence to the [include] list by adding "prioritize excludelist=0".


These examples demonstrate the use of URL filtering in kiosk mode.

Blocking local files and images over ftp

The example below will exclude all local files, and block loading of bmp, jpg (or jpeg), gif, and png pictures over FTP.

prioritize excludelist=1


Allowing one site only

This example demonstrates how to give precedence to the [include] list, and set the kiosk up to allow surfing on one site only:

prioritize excludelist=0