Kit Guide: Using Cortana in Windows 10


On Windows 10, you can use Microsoft's new digital assistant, 'Cortana, to set reminders, search the internet, and more'.

To explore what it can do for you, you'll need to start by setting it up. 

Setting up Cortana


For Cortana to do things like set reminders, add calendar entries or answer questions, you need to be signed into a Microsoft account.

Linking a Microsoft account lets Cortana access your email, calendars, contacts, and other personal information. If you've already linked Cortana to a Microsoft account when you first set up the computer, then you don't need to go through this again. But, if you've not linked Cortana, or are not sure if it's been done, follow these steps:


Click Ask me anything in the bottom-left corner of your screen.


In the box that pops up giving information about Cortana, click Sure.


Click Sign in.


Follow the steps to sign into your account and link it to Cortana.

Using Cortana


Once Cortana is set up, you can start using it and exploring what it can do.

Searching with Cortana

You can use Cortana by typing into the search box – or, if you have a microphone, you can talk out loud to search. To type a search, click Ask me anything in the bottom-left corner of your screen. To use your voice, click the mic symbol to the left of the search box.

You can also enable 'Hey Cortana' to always listen using your microphone. When your microphone recognises the trigger phrase "Hey Cortana", it will start listening to things you ask it.

To enable Hey Cortana:


Click Ask me anything.


When Cortana opens, click the Settings icon in the bottom-left corner.


Turn the switch On to let Cortana respond to "Hey Cortana".

You can then say something like "Hey Cortana, what's the weather like tomorrow" and you'll be given the answer. Cortana responds best to natural language, and you don't need to say anything specific to get it working. Other things you can use it for include:

  • Calculator: say or type "4+2" and you'll be given the answer
  • Conversions: say or type "how many dollars in a pound?"
  • Local points of interest: "Find somewhere to eat nearby"
  • Sports: "What's the latest football score?"

Cortana can also do basic internet searches, and search for files on your computer.

Performing tasks

Cortana can perform many tasks for you, including:

  • Appointments: "make an appointment on Sunday at 9am for lunch"
  • Chit Chat: "sing me a song", "tell me a joke"
  • Email: "send an email to my brother"
  • Music: "play Earthside"

Using Cortana's Notebook

The 'Notebook' is a place where Cortana stores information about you and your habits. Using this information, Cortana can provide relevant news, weather, location and calendar information.

Open the Notebook by clicking its icon in the top-left of the Cortana menu. Click on a category in the Notebook to tell Cortana what to do with the stored information – for example you can turn on Film and TV suggestions based on your web searches, or travel information based on your location and calendar.

This should be all you need to get started with Cortana – but for more guidance, click here to get in touch with one of our experts from Team Knowhow.

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