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How to use Opera's Pinboards feature as a Kanban board for a more effective experience

Opera is always adding new features to make the web browser experience more efficient and productive. One such feature is called Pinboards, and it's exactly what you think it is.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin
Person working in conference room
Kelvin Murray/Getty Images

Opera has been my browser of choice for some time now. A part of that reason is the Workspaces feature, which is the absolute best tab management solution on the market

Another reason why I prefer Opera is that it offers plenty of extra features without making the browser feel overly bloated and heavy. Although the browser does tiptoe up against that bloated line drawn in the sand, it never actually steps over it.

One of the features that might put a smile on your face is called Pinboards, and it's exactly what you think it is… a place to pin items that are of interest to you and that you might want to view later or use for inspiration. 

I've already covered the what and how of Pinboards, but recently I've uncovered a way to use the feature that makes it far more effective, especially for those who prefer to have a bit more order in their life.

You see, you can use Pinboards like a pseudo-Kanban board to make them much more effective. If you're unaware of Kanban, the concept is very simple: Create a group of columns that represent a timeline (such as Idea, Doing, Done), and then add cards to those columns as needed. You might have a card in the Idea column that you are now working on. Move that card to Doing. Once that task is complete, move the card to Done. In other words, Kanban is a way to easily visualize the progress of tasks through a specific workflow.

Also: What is the Opera Personal News feature and how do you use it?

I'm going to show you how to do just that. Once you've seen how it works, you'll want to use Opera's Pinboard feature right away. Before I do, let me explain this with one of the ways I've started using the Pinboard feature, Kanban-style. 

I write novels. On my fiction Pinboard, I have six columns:

  • Idea.
  • First Draft.
  • Beta Reading.
  • Edits.
  • Proofing.
  • Published.

What I do is create a pin for each category and leave it at the top. That's the easy part. Once you get beyond that, there's a bit of a trick you'll need to employ to be able to add new pins under their respective categories.

How to use Opera's Pinboard feature as a Kanban board

What you'll need: The only thing you'll need is a running, updated instance of Opera. 

Also: What is Opera's My Flow feature and how do you use it? 

I'll demonstrate on version 95.0.4635.25 on Pop!_OS Linux. The version or operating system you use doesn't matter, as the feature functions the same across platforms. 

1. Open Pinboards

Open Opera and access Pinboards by clicking the thumbtack icon in the Opera sidebar.

The Opera sidebar.

Accessing Pinboards is possible from the Opera sidebar.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Create a new Pinboard

In the resulting window, click "New pinboard" in the upper left corner.

The New pinboard button.

Create a new Pinboard by clicking "New pinboard."

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Name the Pinboard

When the new Pinboard opens, it will need a title. Click the Pinboard X (where X is a number) at the top center and then type a new title. Once you've done that, you're ready to start adding items by clicking + near the top left of the board and adding the pin.

An empty Opera Pinboard.

A sample Pinboard, ready for action.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

How to set up Pinboards like a Kanban board

First off, what I'm going to show you isn't exactly what Opera had in mind for usage. That's OK because features like this were meant to be personalized. The caveat to using Pinboards in this fashion is that the feature wants everything to be orderly, so you can't just randomly place pins on the board. For example, you can't place a pin under row 1, column 1, and then add another to row 1, column 3. If you add a pin to row 1, column 1, the next pin must go in row 1, column 2. That's just the way Pinboards work. It would be really cool if Opera added the ability to use Pinboards in a more free-form way, but I've at least come up with a workaround.

Also: How to use the Opera VPN (and why you should)

What I do is create a few cards with a headline that consists of three dots, so "...". I use those cards as placeholders when Pinboards insist I place a card in a column where it doesn't belong. So, if I have a pin that needs to go in the Edits column in row 2, but row 2 Beta Reading is blank, I'll add or move the placeholder card into that position, so I can place the new card in Edits, row 2. 

A simple Pinboard using a Kanban approach.

My Fiction Pinboard makes it easy for me to know where everything stands in the workflow.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

This method takes a bit of getting used to and you might be asking yourself, "Why not just use a regular Kanban tool?" The simple answer to that is why use yet another service when you can make do with something built in?

Of course, using Opera's Pinboard feature won't work as a Kanban solution for project management -- but for anything personal you need to work on, it's pretty simple to use and can be quickly accessed by clicking an icon in the sidebar. Some may find my method a bit too cumbersome to be effective. But once you get used to working with Pinboards in this way, it's actually really useful. Give my Pinboard Kanban method a go and see if it doesn't help you get things done with a bit more efficiency.

And, Opera, if you're listening, please make it such that Pinboards can be more free-form, and the feature will be applicable to far more use cases.

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