What Is Microsoft Cortana? (All You Need To Know)

If you have ever used Microsoft products, there is a big chance that you have come across Cortana a few times while performing your everyday tasks, but haven’t really had the time to figure out what it’s all about. 

If this sounds like you, whether your know a little bit about it, or nothing at all, this is the article for you, as it will help you to learn everything you need to know about Microsoft Cortana. 

What Is Microsoft Cortana?

Cortana is a virtual assistant that was first launched in 2014 by none other than Microsoft itself. This assistant was originally designed to work alongside Windows devices, and its capabilities include organizing and managing your daily meetings, reminders, and more. Plus, it will help with traditional web searches all through text or voice prompts.

If you would like to learn more about Microsoft Cortana, you’ll want to read on until the end of this article, as it will teach you everything you need to know!

What Can Microsoft Cortana Be Used For?

Cortana is a virtual assistant that primarily connects to Microsoft 365 users in order to help users track, organize, and manage their daily work. 

With Cortana, users can now go hands and worry-free when it comes to managing both their personal and professional work. 

Cortana is included with any Microsoft 365 plan that you may have or are considering purchasing, and is compatible with Windows 10 computers and the Edge browser.

As well, it’s compatible with the Bing search engine and different apps such as Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, email, and calendar services through Outlook.

Plus, you can use it with file services like OneDrive, Forms, and social and meeting products such as Teams and Yammer. 

When you have Cortana enabled, using its waking phrase followed by a command prompt can open many different apps and gather information about news and weather.

As well, you can add to your lists in Microsoft To-Do, schedule calendar event reminders, locate files, join meetings, navigate through presentations in Teams, and more. 

How Does Microsoft Cortana Work?

How Does Microsoft Cortana Work?

No matter the device, service, or program you’re planning to use Cortana in, this Microsoft virtual assistant can help its users to quickly get valuable information using simple commands. 

Microsoft’s Cortana has a stricter focus on assisting you with MS products, meaning that it can work more like an actual assistant than ever before. 

When signed in to your Microsoft account, summoning Cortana is as easy as saying “Cortana” or “Hey Cortana.”

Afterward, Cortana will respond to your requests and questions before completing relevant tasks. Plus, while it’s on your computer, it collects certain data about you.

This can include things like searches, calendars, contacts, and locations to help make future experiences with Cortana more personalized to you. 

Collecting this information helps Cortana to give you more relevant suggestions and personalize your voice assistant experience as much as possible. 

There are many different ways that you can prompt Cortana once it’s enabled. This includes tapping the microphone icon in Cortana integrated products and services.

As well, this excludes the keyboard command “Shift + Windows Key + C,” or as mentioned previously, saying, “Hey Cortana” follows by a vocal command or question. 

In order to use Cortana on your PC, you will need to enable the program if you haven’t already done so.

What Are Some of Cortana’s Command Prompts?

When you have Cortana activated on your device, you can use it for nearly anything. 

In fact, commands can be as basic as checking the weather, making calls, sending emails, scheduling meetings, setting reminders, and alarms, and updating your device settings.

However, you can also use it for more complicated tasks like math, translations, definitions, recommendations for food and travel, music and entertainment app control, and so much more.

If you want to try it out but are stumped on what commands you should try, check out the below list for some ideas:

  • “What’s the weather like?”
  • “Go to / Open [app name / website].”
  • “What’s [percentage] of [dollar amount]?”
  • “Where is my package?”
  • “Find photos from [date / time].”
  • “Find restaurants near me.”
  • “What is this song?”
  • “What was my step count yesterday?”
  • “Turn on/off Bluetooth.”
  • “Set an alarm for [date and time].”
  • “When is my [event name]?”
  • “Send email to (contact): (message).”
  • “Show me public transportation directions to [location / address].” 
  • “Track flight [flight number].” 
  • “Call (contact) at home/work.”
  • “Who’s my next meeting with?”
  • “How do I change default apps?”

To know more, you can also read our posts on Microsoft Intune, Microsoft Money, and Microsoft Bookings.


Microsoft Cortana is a virtual assistant that was originally launched in 2014 and has only gotten better throughout the years.

The digital assistant was designed to work with Windows devices and can accomplish many of your daily tasks such as managing your daily meetings, reminders, and more. As well, it will help with traditional web searches all through text or voice prompts.

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Florence Howard

Florence Howard has been freelance writing for over a decade, and has a vocational background in retail, tech, and marketing. Outside of work, she enjoys listening to rock and metal, and playing with her dog and cat.

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