Cortana is Microsoft’s virtual personal assistant that can assist you in various tasks, manage your calendar, provide timely notifications, and also offer some entertainment. It’s available on Windows 10, Android, and iOS devices. By integrating Cortana with other Microsoft products, it has become a powerful tool for staying organized and productive. In this article, we will explore some tips and tricks to help you make the most of Cortana and take your experience with the personal assistant to new heights.
Optimizing Cortana’s Settings
Before diving into the tips and tricks, it’s essential to optimize Cortana’s settings to get the best possible experience. To access Cortana’s settings, click on the search bar, and then click on the Cortana settings icon (the gear). Here, you can enable or disable features, tailor the virtual assistant to your preferences, and link your Microsoft account to sync your data across devices.
First and foremost, enable the Hey Cortana voice activation feature so you can summon the virtual assistant by using your voice. This can be a game-changer in situations when you need to use Cortana hands-free. Furthermore, customize the settings for your calendar, reminders, and notifications to receive the most relevant updates tailored specifically for you.
Mastering Cortana’s Voice Commands
Voice commands are a crucial aspect of any virtual personal assistant, and Cortana is no exception. Learning the various voice commands available can save you time and make your experience with Cortana even more enjoyable.
Some of the most useful voice commands include:
- Setting reminders: “Hey Cortana, remind me to call John at 5 PM.”
- Creating calendar events: “Hey Cortana, add a meeting with Jane on Tuesday at 2 PM.”
- Opening apps: “Hey Cortana, open Microsoft Edge.”
- Weather updates: “Hey Cortana, what’s the weather like today?”
- Converting units or currencies: “Hey Cortana, convert 10 dollars to euros.”
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to voice commands. The more you use Cortana, the more familiar you will become with the available commands.
Integrating Cortana with Other Microsoft Products
Cortana works best when integrated with other Microsoft products, such as Office 365, OneNote, and Outlook. This allows for seamless communication between devices and applications, ultimately improving your overall productivity.
For example, you can ask Cortana to read your upcoming appointments from your Outlook calendar, create a new task in Microsoft To-Do, or add a note to a specific section of OneNote. Additionally, you can use Cortana to send emails directly from your Outlook account without needing to type a single word.
Cortana and Third-Party Integrations
Apart from Microsoft products, Cortana can also be integrated with various popular third-party apps and services. This can help you manage your smart home devices, order a pizza, or control your music playback.
To link your favorite third-party services to Cortana, open the settings, and navigate to the “Connected Services” option. Browse the list and find the service you wish to integrate, sign in with your account, and you’re all set.
History and Curiosities about Cortana
Cortana was officially announced in April 2014, during the Microsoft Build Developer Conference. The name “Cortana” is derived from the AI character in the Halo video game series created by Microsoft. Cortana’s voice and visual design are inspired by the character, and the virtual assistant also shares some of its witty and playful personality traits.
Initially available on Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana has since expanded to other platforms, including Windows 10, Android, and iOS. The goal of creating Cortana was to provide a more personal and human-like experience for users and offer a competitive alternative to other virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant.
Though Cortana might not be as popular as its counterparts, it has garnered a dedicated following and continues to offer a unique, personalized, and practical personal assistant experience. By following the tips and tricks provided in this article, you can make the most of Cortana and unlock its full potential.
Engineer. Tech, software and hardware lover and tech blogger since 2012