10 Ways To Make the Most of Windows 10 CortanaDonna Marie Padua
Putting aside all the great features included in Windows 10, Cortana is one of the best reasons to upgrade to the new operating system. Microsoft’s digital assistant, which was originally introduced on mobile devices, now has its own space in the taskbar, and it can help you with a lot of everyday tasks to make you more productive.
Cortana is always at your fingertips ready to help you find anything on your PC, track your packages automatically, give you accurate weather information, and make sure you don’t miss any important appointments. However, there are other things you can do with the assistant to make you even more productive, and in this guide, we’ll list ten tips and tricks you may not know for your Windows 10 PC.
Now to help you get the most out of Cortana, I’ve put together some of my favorite tips for using it — including using Cortana to manage your Google Calendar, send you reminders, and track packages and flights.
New Cortana – May 2019 Update
Before we head into the tips, we should cover a bit of background. Cortana used to be integrated in the Windows search box: Whether you performed a search by speaking or typing, the results were delivered in the Cortana pane. But with the Windows 10 OS May 2019 Update, Microsoft separated Cortana from the Windows search box.
So if you have that update or a later version of Windows, Cortana doesn’t respond to typed searches; if you type in a search, Windows Search will deliver the results. To perform a Cortana search, you say “Hey Cortana” and speak your search, or click the Cortana icon to the right of the search box and speak, or press the Windows key + C and speak.
When you ask Cortana a question, Cortana displays the result onscreen and reads it to you if you ask a straightforward question or issue a straightforward command. However, if you ask a more complicated question that requires a display of web links, Cortana will show the links in the Edge browser.
When you first install the May 2019 update, you may need to customize Cortana so you can activate it by voice or by pressing the Windows key + C. To do it, click the Cortana button to the right of the search box to launch Cortana, then click the “Settings” button (it’s in the shape of a gear) and select “Talk to Cortana.” From here you can tell Cortana to respond when you say “Hey Cortana” or press the Windows key + C.
You can also remove the Cortana button to the right of the search box. Right-click the taskbar and uncheck “Show Cortana button” from the menu that appears. You can even turn off the search box in this way. Right-click the taskbar, select Search, and click Hidden.
Now let’s head on to other tips and tricks to make the most of your Windows 10 Cortana.
Windows 10’s Cortana – Tips and Tricks
Connect your accounts, apps, and services to Cortana
One way to extend the power of Cortana is to connect it to an account — for example, LinkedIn — so that when you ask Cortana to do something, it can look through information in that account and give you additional information about your request. Cortana can do more as well, including playing music through a service such as Spotify or controlling smart home appliances. And Cortana can work with Windows 10 apps, such as finding a show and playing it on Netflix or Hulu, or asking Fitbit how many steps you’ve taken in a day. Microsoft calls these types of actions “Cortana skills.”
To get started, launch Cortana an any of the ways I outlined previously in this article, and when Cortana appears, click the icon of the notebook in the left-hand navigation panel. Click the Manage Skills tab at the top of the screen that appears and look under Connections, which is separated into four sections: Manage accounts, Music, Connected Home and Microsoft family. (Note that company-owned machines may not have all four sections.)
Tell Cortana About Your Preferences
You can tell Cortana about all your preferences and help note it down in her notebook. She will remember all your preferences and will provide a customized experience and recommendations according to it.
To tell her about preferences, click on Cortana search bar and click on “Notebook” icon below the Home button on the left. Here you will find all the thing that you may be interested in and can provide preferences according to them.
Some of the interest you can cover include, Finance, Eat & Drink, Events, Movies & Music, News and sports. Here you can tell what you like, and what kind of recommendations you may expect.
Cortana can solve Math Equations for you
You can solve basic to average complexity level math problems by just putting the equation in the Cortana search bar. The resulting answer will be provided in the main interface and she may also provide steps for some problems.
Apart from basic, plus, minus, multiplication and division, you can solve other common math problems like finding real numbers (example: [5 – (5 – 2(7 – 2) + 3)] + 7) or factorization (example: 3×2 – 8x = 3). Cortana can act as an handy calculator for you.
Change Cortana Default Search Engine
By default, Cortana uses Bing as the main search engine for all the queries, and there is no built-in way to change the default search app for Cortana. However, there are some workarounds that may help you change Cortana’s default search engine.
Currently, Firefox 40 is the only browser that will let you change Cortana’s default search engine with its current search engine without any need of third-party extensions. Just download Firefox 40 and set it as default browser and Cortana will use its default search engine as Firefox 40’s default search engine. For Chrome, you can use an extension called Chrometana that will redirect all the Cortana searches to default search engine of Chrome. By doing this, you can either have Google as default search engine for Cortana or if you are concerned about privacy you can go for DuckDuckGo.
Create an Appointment with the help of Cortana
You can also create an appointment by saying/typing. You can say “create an appointment with Mr. Jindal for tomorrow morning”. She will mold the words in your sentence to give the appointment a name and specify time. All you will have to do is confirm and appointment will be made. Here “Create an Appointment” is the keyword that you should use.
The appointment can also be edited or canceled the same way.
Cortana can Open Apps for you
Cortana can open all the built-in apps and settings, just by saying/typing “Open (desired app/setting)“. For example, you can say “Open Edge” and Cortana will open “Microsoft Edge”. You can also open settings this way, such as “Open Control Panel” or “Open System Settings”.
Get Reminders Based on Locations
You can also ask Cortana to remind you something when you are at a particular location (another good feature for Windows Phone). All you need to do is say/type in what you want her to remember and she will remember.
For example, you can say/type “remind me to buy milk when I am at Green Valley”. This will open up another window where you can specify days when you would like to get reminded and provide exact location (if required). “Remind me” is the keyword here, so make your sentence according to it and she will do the rest.
She will also listen to other commands similar to it, like “turn off (the specified) reminder” or “edit (the specified) reminder”.
Create person-based reminders
In the same way, you can create location-based reminders. You can also set Cortana to remind you of anything when you’re about to talk with a particular person in your contact list. For example, you can say Hey Cortana: Next time I talk to John, remind me to ask him to buy the drinks for the party.
Get Cortana to recognise you
To get the most out of Cortana you need to make sure it’s set up to your requirements. One of the app’s settings lets you have Cortana recognise the sound of your voice, in case you don’t want any of your friends, family or work colleagues making use of the tool.
Click inside the Cortana search box, then click the cog icon to the left. Make sure the “Hey Cortana” shortcut is turned on, so Cortana can be launched with your voice, then select Learn how I say “Hey Cortana”. After reading out six test phrases, you can check the option marked ‘Try to respond only to me’.
Read up on more commands
Microsoft is committed to making Cortana the very best digital assistant that it can be, and already we’ve seen plenty of extra functions and features added to the app since it made its debut on the desktop. Try asking Cortana to do or look up anything, and you’ll often come across new tricks you haven’t uncovered before.
Type “Cortana help” into Cortana to see more of the commands you can use with the intelligent app, split up into categories such as email, music and travel. A growing number of third-party apps, including Uber and Netflix, are adding Cortana support too.
Despite some WIndows 10 users being disappointed with Cortana, there are still those who find the AI very useful. It does get annoying sometimes, but with proper knowledge on how to use it, you can make the most out of Cortana.