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How Cortana Can Simplify Your Windows 10 Experience

What all can Cortana do to enrich your daily activities?

cortana, microsoft, windows 10

If you are already a Windows 10 user, you have probably dabbled with issuing Cortana, Windows 10’s virtual personal assistant program, commands such as getting a weather report or opening an application. She is fully integrated into all aspects of Windows 10, and will soon be integrated with many Internet of Things devices to control things in your home and around the office with only your voice. This option will be available for Windows 10 IoT Core users via the Windows 10 Creators Update in early 2017 and is expected to come to more devices later in the year. With so many things happening for Cortana, it’s important to remember what she can already do for us.

To activate Cortana, you can do any of the following:

  • Say “Hey Cortana” - Use the audible voice command option by saying “Hey Cortana” followed by your request
  • Cortana’s Microphone - Select the microphone icon in Cortana’s taskbar to the right of the Start button
  • Keyboard Shortcut - Press Shift + Windows key + C to activate Cortana’s listening mode
  • Hold Search button (*Mobile devices only) - Press and hold the search button on smartphones with Windows 10 installed to activate Cortana’s listening mode

It’s important to note that for may of these commands to work, you will need to provide your GPS location for more accurate answers from Cortana. So once Cortana is listening, what can she do for you? Let’s count the ways:

Give you the time

You can ask Cortana what time it currently is in your location, or specify a location that may be outside your time zone or elsewhere in the world.

Get a weather update or forecast

Ask Cortana what the weather situation is in your current location or somewhere else in the world. Ask if it is hot, cold, or warm to get the current or future temperature for locations as well.

Open apps and websites

Ask to “Go to” or “Open” an app or website (site name + .com)

Get News

Tell Cortana to show you top headlines, the latest news, or specific kinds of news such as “tech news,” “sports news,” “health news,” etc. You can also request financial information such as stock values for companies or currency exchange rates.

Create notes and reminders

Command Cortana to create a note for virtually anything. Specify what kind of notes by saying something like “Create reminder note,” and follow it up with a task like “call Mom when I get home.”

Translate languages

Tell Cortana to translate specific words or phrases into another language

Cortana calculator

Cortana can perform math calculations for you, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentages, square roots, and metric conversions such as cups to ounces or miles to kilometers.

Cortana Dictionary

Ask Cortana to define any word found in the dictionary

Track deliveries

Ask where your package is in its transit; Cortana must have a connection to your delivery service for this to work

Find your files

Ask Cortana to find any personal file on your device, including documents, photos, and videos; you can also be more specific by asking her to find specific kinds of files such as “family pictures,” or to find files by their names.

Search the web

Tell Cortana to search the web for any subject

WWWWH Fact Finding

Ask Cortana virtually any Who, What, When, Where, and How question you want to be answered; Cortana is also intuitive enough for an unspecific follow-up question with a specific search subject already in mind

Finding Locations

Cortana can find restaurants and other places of interest near your current location or in a specified place like a city or designated area

Monitor your health (separate tracking device required)

Using devices such as the Microsoft Band products, you can ask health questions that your wearable technology is tracking such as steps, sleep cycles, calories burned, and more with a compatible service connected to Cortana

Device Control Commands

Have Cortana open your Settings or Action Center as well as turning functions on or off such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Airplane Mode

Create calendar alerts

Ask Cortana about what you have planned today or in the future; you can also create new calendar events and reminders with specific times, dates, places, and people involved

Set alarms

Tell Cortana to set the alarm for any date and time as well as view or remove current alarms

Set a timer

Whether for cooking or keeping a schedule, Cortana can create timers for you as well as display an active timer or cancel it

Know Your Location

Ask Cortana where you currently are along with getting directions to particular locations; you can also inquire about current traffic conditions and alternate routes

Send texts and emails

Command Cortana to send a message to specific contacts followed by the message body

Check flight information

See your flight’s ETA and where it is currently

Play music

Tell Cortana to play specific songs, artists, albums, or put your music player on shuffle; you can also start, stop, and skip music through voice command as well as get info about a song currently playing

Movie Times

Find out movie showing times near your location or in a specific place

Solve technical issues for your device

Inquire with Cortana how to perform a variety of computer tasks in the form of “How do I…”

Phone voice commands

Issue Cortana voice commands on your Windows mobile device such as calling certain contacts, redialing a number, or send files to your connected desktop


While Cortana can do a lot to help you manage your time and daily life, she can also entertain you when you need a good laugh or just want to test the limits of her programming. Such nuances include the following:

  • Add emojis to your texts
  • Doing impressions of famous people or characters
  • Play rock, paper, scissors with Cortana
  • Play movie trivia by saying “Play the movie game.”
  • Telling jokes
  • Posing riddles
  • Singing songs
  • Flip a coin
  • Get Cortana’s opinions on things
  • And more!

If you have any more questions about Cortana and her functionality, feel free to contact our knowledgeable support staff at (800) 318-1439 or for more details.

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