Windows Live Search Enables Macros

    March 29, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

They call it “rolling your own search” and an easy process to create a macro illustrates the process of setting up a lengthy query as a one-click bit of functionality.

Humorously enough, in the example macro for Windows Live Search, one of the functions specifically excludes linkdomain results from It’s always good to see a little competitive feistiness between the search engines; it shows they care.

Power users of Microsoft Office, especially Excel and Access, have more than a passing familiarity with macros. They enable users to automate complex tasks instead of repeating them step by tedious step.

With Live’s Search Macros, users can automate those queries containing multiple operators into a single macro. The Search Macro team noted on their blog that although one has to be logged in with a Passport to create macros, those macros are anonymous and not connected to the Passport account.

Another important caveat the Search Macro team mentioned: once a user creates a namespace for creating macros, it cannot be changed. That means someone who creates a namespace they don’t like are stuck with it.

The obvious workaround there seems to be creating another Passport account with a different email address, unless the Search Macro team permits users to have multiple namespaces in the future.

This namespace becomes the leading part of the name of macros created by the user. In the given macro example of, ‘livesearch’ is the name space. Other macros created by that user would have names like livesearch.macro2, etc.

To create the macro, users build a query by naming it, creating a default scope like Web or News, a description, and the definition. Constructing the definition means using the operators available to find sites with the query. Three operators and the option to exclude by operator are available:

site: restrict results to a single domain
prefer: reorder the results preferring this term
linkdomain: finds results that link to a page on a domain
“-” exclude pages that meet this criteria

The Search Macro team’s example macro,, contains another operator not mentioned: intitle. Also, operators can be combined, as their example shows the query can be ordered by prefer:site: to bring a particular website’s results to the forefront. The Search Macros team plans to make more information for macros and search available in the future.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.