Cortana is Microsoft’s virtual digital assistant, available on Windows laptops and PCs, and also on phones and tablets Android . If you ever used Siri on iPhone, Google Assistant on Android or Alexa on Amazon Echo, you are already familiar with this type of technology. (If you know Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey you also got a glimpse of their fictional dark side!)

What Cortana Can Do

Cortana has a lot of functions . However, it serves as your personal news and weather feed by default, so it’s probably the first thing you’ll notice. Just select the search box or Talk to Cortana on any panel tasks Windows 10 with Cortana support, and you will see the latest updates there.

Cortana can be an encyclopedia, an almanac, a dictionary, and a thesaurus. For example, you can type or say something like » What’s another word for smart? and immediately see a list of synonyms. You may ask what this particular thing is ( what is a gyroscope? ), on what date something happened ( when was the first landing on the moon? ) And so on.

Cortana uses search engine Bing to answer questions like this. If the answer is simple, it will immediately appear in the list of search results. If Cortana isn’t sure about the answer, it will open your favorite web browser with a list of results that you can check to find the answer yourself.

Cortana can also provide personalized answers to questions such as How is the weather? or how long will it take me to get to the office today? However, she will need to know your location, and in this example, she will also need to be allowed access to your workplace (which she can learn from list contacts if you allow it in Cortana settings).

If you have given Cortana permission to access to your location , it may start to act more like a real helper than a glorified search tool. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do this upon request (unless you have a good reason not to). If you have location enabled, ask what movies are playing next to me? she can find the nearest theater and start reading movie titles. Also, if you ask where is the nearest bus stop? she knows it too.

You can give Cortana additional permissions outside of your location for even better performance. For example, if you allow Cortana to access your contacts, calendar, email, and messages, she can remind you of appointments, birthdays, and other data she finds there. She will also be able to make appointments for you and remind you of upcoming appointments and events if you ask for it.

You can ask Cortana to sort your data and provide specific files by making statements like » Show me my photos from August» . or show me the document I was working on yesterday. Never be afraid to experiment with what you have to say. The more you work with it, the better it will get!

For more information on what Cortana can do, take a look at Some everyday uses for Cortana in Windows 10 .

How to communicate with Cortana

There are several ways to communicate with Cortana. You can enter your query or command in the search area, or in options » Talk to Cortana» on the taskbar. Typing is an option if you don’t want to give verbal commands or if your computer doesn’t have a microphone. You will see the results as you type, which is quite handy and allows you to stop typing and immediately select any result that matches your query. You can also select this option if you are in a noisy environment.

Search bar in Windows 10.

If a microphone is installed and working on your PC or tablet, you can select the «Search» or » Talk to Cortana» on the taskbar and select the microphone. This gets Cortana’s attention and you’ll know right away what she’s hearing.

Talk to Cortana option in Windows 10.

When you’re ready, simply speak to Cortana using your natural voice and language. Her interpretation of what she hears will appear in the search field. Depending on what you say, she may talk, so listen carefully. For example, if you ask her to create a calendar appointment, she will ask you for details. She will want to know when, where, what time, and so on.

Finally, in the settings there is an option to let Cortana listen to the verbal Hey Cortana. If you have enabled this setting, all you have to do is say: Hey Cortana, and it will be available. (This works the same way «Hey Siri» works on the iPhone.) If you want to try it now, say, Hey Cortana, what time is it? You will be able to see at a glance whether this option is enabled or needs to be enabled.

Cortana gives time in Windows 10.

How Cortana finds out about you

Cortana learns about you initially through a connected Microsoft account . This is the account you use to sign in to Windows 10, and it could be something like yourname@outlook.com or yourname@hotmail.com. From this account, Cortana can get your name and age, as well as any other facts you provide. You want to sign in with a Microsoft account, not a local account, so that get the most out of Cortana . Find out more about these account types, if you want to.

Another way to improve Cortana is through practice. The more you use Cortana, the more she learns. This is especially true if, during the installation process, you give Cortana access to parts of your computer such as your calendar, email, messages, and content data (photos, documents, music, movies, etc.) as well as your search history. ,

It can use what it finds to make suggestions about what you need to know, create reminders, and provide more relevant information when you search. For example, if you frequently search for information about the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and your location is Dallas, it’s highly likely that when you ask Cortana if your team won or lost, she’ll know who you’re talking about!

She will also become more comfortable with your voice as you give her more and more verbal commands. So, spend some time asking questions. It will pay off!

And finally, what about fun?

Cortana might laugh a little if you give her a little encouragement. If you turned it on, say into the microphone: » Hey Cortana» and then do one of the following. Alternatively, you can select the search box and select a microphone to listen to Cortana. And finally, you can enter any of them in the search box.

Hey Cortana:

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