Language queries: (always try this first)
Type a word or phrase or a question (for example, weather Boston
or what is the weather in Boston?), then click Search (or press
the Enter key). If the information you want from this sort of query isn't
on the first couple of pages, try adding a few more specific words.
Often you will know a word that will be guaranteed to appear in a document
for which you are searching. If this is the case, require that the
word appear in all of the results by attaching a "+" to the beginning
of the word (for example, to find an article on pet care, you might try
the query dog cat pet +care). You may also find that when
you search on a vague topic, you get a very broad set of results.
You can quickly reject results by adding a term that appears often in unwanted
articles with a "-" before it (for example, to find a recipe for oatmeal
raisin cookies without nuts try oatmeal raisin cookie -nut* -walnut*).
If you know that a certain phrase will appear on the page you are looking
for, put the phrase in quotes. (for example, try entering song lyrics such
as "you ain't nothing but a hound dog")
AltaVista allows you to search through "the Web" or "Usenet". By selecting "the Web"
you can search through all of the web pages in our index. By selecting "Usenet" you will
be searching through all of the articles posted to Usenet (Internet wide discussion groups)
in the last two weeks. The Usenet index is updated continuously, so when an article is
submitted, it will be indexed within a few minutes. The Web index is updated on a daily
basis through the the Add/Remove URL function. The index
is completely rebuilt periodically to clear out old links, re-examine all of the sites
in our index and find new sites on the web.
AltaVista allows you to limit your results to those of a particular language. This is
very helpful when you perform a search and find that many of the results are not in your native
If you find that too many results are coming back on your search, you can use Cow9, our refine
tool, to narrow your search. Cow9 dynamically sorts your results into different topics allowing you to move your search in the right direction. For more information see the Cow9 help.
Use only lower case unless you want your search to be case sensitive. If you search
for Coffee, you'll get only documents that include that word with just that capitalization. If you search for coffee, you'll get any page with that word.
Use an asterisk (*) to broaden your search. To find any words that start with gold, use gold* to find
matches for gold, goldfinch, goldfinger, and golden. Use this if the word you are searching for could have different
endings. (for example, don't search for dog, search for dog* if it could be plural)
To open results in a separate window, click on the window icon ( ) located at the left of each result URL.
Special Characters and Punctuation
AltaVista Search defines a word as any string of letters and digits that is separated by either:
White space, such as spaces, tabs, line ends, or the start or end of a document, or Special characters and punctuation, such as %, $, /, #, and _
punctuation except to interpret it as a separator for words. Placing punctuation
or special characters between each word, with no spaces between the characters
and the words, is also a way to indicate a phrase. For example, consider searching
for a telephone number. Entering 1-800-555-1212 is easier than entering
"1 800 555 1212", which is an equally acceptable syntax, but is less natural.
Hyphenated words, such as CD-ROM, also automatically form a phrase because
of the hyphen.
Normally, however, we recommend using
double quotes to indicate a phrase because some special characters have additional
- In both Simple and Advanced Search, you can use the asterisk (*) as a wildcard indicating that you want to find all words containing a match for the specified
pattern of letters.
- The + and - characters are operators that help to filter the results of a Simple
- The &, |, ~, and ! characters are operators that help to filter the results
of an Advanced Search.
AltaVista supports exact-match searches for characters in the ISO Latin-1 character set. That is, you can enter a word containing an accent or other diacritical mark, and AltaVista will find only documents with the accented spelling of the word.
|Á Â À Å Ã Ä||A||á â à å ã ä||a|
|Ð ||D||ð ||d|
|É Ê È Ë ||E||é ê è ë ||e|
|Í Î Ì Ï ||I||í î ì ï ||i|
|Ñ ||N||ñ ||n|
|Ó Ô Ò Ø Õ Ö||O||ó ô ò ø õ ö ||o|
|Þ ||TH||þ ||th|
|Ú Û Ù Ü ||U||ú û ù ü ||u|
|Ý ||Y||ý ÿ||y|