AltaVista Search Engine

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 Posted by Aman Jain

AltaVista ( has powerful search capabilities under its plain and simple skin.Its one of the older engines around,but still comes with a bounty of features.

Truly Fast Searches
While AltaVista is fast nothing’s is ever fast enough!If you want even faster results ,switch over to the text only version at . Its plain and simple with no graphical elements to spice up and slow down the page

Advanced Search
Advanced web searching is accessible from the main page.You can build up queries using exact phrase matches ,as well as by the presence or absence of keywords across the page .This is possible from the ‘Build a query with…’ option.
If you’d prefer Boolean operators ,the option is available under ‘Search with …’.Use keywords such as ‘AND’,’OR’,’AND NOT’ and ‘NEAR’.’NEAR’ is used to specify that two terms should be located close together-within 10 words –as in ‘iit NEAR admissions’ for a search on ‘IIT admissions’

Advance Advanced
Other advanced Search options trim your searches .’Date’ will limit the date and time range of the webpages you are looking for and ‘File Type’ will let you specify the Formats.You can also limit searches to the specific top level domains or site domains.Site collapse if enabled will display a maximum of 2 results per site.If disabled it will show you all the results grouped by relevance.Results from the same site are indented within the first result.

Advanced ?Not Quite
If you prefer the query building tool ,check out the ‘More Precision’ version of AltaVista at You don’t get all the advanced features but you do have access to the query building options.

Wild Carding
AltaVista supports wild card characters ;use [*] to get search results based on variation of words .This is how it works.There have to be at least three letters before the [*] sign.Remember any letter or letters can take the place of the Wild card character,so a search for ‘Micro*’can result in ‘Micro’ , ‘Micron’,’Microsoft’,’Microscope’ and so on.

Click on settings on the main page to set your preferences .You can choose to set Language settings (English or Spanish)or access the Family Filter page.For web searches ,set the options for displaying Web Page information,the number of results to be returned per page ,as well the browser language troubleshooting ,should you have trouble with junk text being displayed

AltaVista takes explicit content very seriously ;by default all families filtering against sexually explicit content is turned on.You can access it at You can choose the sort of filtering ,whether restricted to image video and audio searches ,for all or no searches .To enforce this you can also protect the settings with a password.

AltaVista Other Searches
You can search for more than just webpages –think images,mp3audio ,video and news .Like the yahoo directories AltaVista too has a directory that you can use while searching for information.The image search has limited options ,in terms of size and colour ,however its very fast