Windows has upgraded its game by introducing Cortana in the latest Windows 10. It is a virtual assistant whose software which helps users with a lot of daily tasks and planning. You can ask Cortana questions or give commands by either manually typing it in Cortana’s search box or by speaking to it.
There are a lot of things Cortana can do so in this article we have listed 20 tips and tricks you can use for your computer.
Did you know that Cortana can track couriers and flights too? Yes, Cortana can do both. It tracks your flights and couriers through their tracking numbers.
For tracking flights, you can type the number of the flight you want to track. This has to be done in the search box Cortana has. After searching for the flight number, Cortana gives the flight details. It also updates you on where the flight currently is. For more details, you can click the top result.
To track couriers, the steps are similar to tracking flights. After typing the tracking number, you have to click on ‘Track your package’ that comes out in the search result. However, the tracking package will show only for couriers. It tracks couriers from a variety of services. Some of them are DHL, FedEx, Amazon, eBay, etc.
- Specific searches:
You can narrow down your searches specifically and easily what you are looking for through Cortana. When you search for anything in the search box, Cortana gives you results from different areas hence making a list long and general. But if you know what exactly you are looking for, you can narrow down the search specifically to the file or folder you want; You can do so by writing the category you want to search (for e.g., Videos). Then this should be followed by a colon and then it can be followed by a folder or file name (for e.g., Videos: Picnic).
- Finding Information:
Cortana finds any information you want to know from the web. It uses Bing to search for the queries you ask. If you are a student and want to get facts about your subjects you can use Cortana to search for it.
Some examples are:
Who invented the telephone?
What is the capital of Germany?
Where is the tallest mountain in the world?
You will get answers fast. However, you should note that Cortana uses only Bing to search for information.
Cortana is most useful when it’s giving you the most relevant information, and another entry you’ll find in the Notebook is for news – click inside the Cortana box on the taskbar, then click the Notebook icon (third from the top on the left), then click News to tell Cortana more about what you’re interested in.
Click Add a topic if you want alerts and results about specific subjects in the news (like Google, Apple and Microsoft if you’re a tech lover); click Add a category if you want Cortana to keep an eye on broader topics, such as entertainment and sports.
Windows offers users three types of reminders:
- Person based reminders
- Time based reminders
- Location based reminders
These reminders can be used in your phones. Person based reminders work when you receive a call or message from a particular person you have set a reminder for. Time-based is the type of reminder which is based on a particular time you have set. Location based reminders pop up when you have set reminders based on a particular location. You need your GPS for this.
To set reminders, type or say ‘reminder’ in Cortana’s search box. After the search list appears to click on ‘set a reminder’ which will be there on the top of the search list. Then set your reminder
Cortana is a great companion to get accurate locations and directions from. Hence another tip we can give you is that if you want to ask for directions to get to a place type ‘Directions to’ and then type the location. For example: ‘Directions to New Road.’
You will get the address with detailed directions. Cortana uses Maps to locate your desired destination. Hence install Maps before you use this feature.
- Technical Support:
Another great and interesting feature of Cortana is that it provides answers to queries you have about basic technical support. You can ask any question regarding technical support. For example, you can ask questions regarding how to install projectors etc. Instructions will be given to you in the Cortana application. Some of your questions might be directed to Bing or Microsoft Support pages
- Sending emails:
Would you like to send emails directly without having to open your browser or email account? Cortana can assist you with this. You can simply speak or type ‘Send email’ and then enter the email address of the person you want to send it to. Initially, you would have to sign in so that your email contacts get registered. After this process is done sending emails in future becomes very simple. You just have to enter ‘Send mail, e.g.,’ and you can even include the name of the person from your contacts (i.e.,.g., Send email to Chan).
- Identification of songs:
Another feature of Cortana is that it can identify music and also get details about the song you search for. It can listen to music and identify it for you. It can also give you descriptions and details of the song.
For example you can play a song and ask Cortana any question like who sang the song. Cortana will then give you details of the song which you can buy in Windows Store. However please note that Cortana might not always recognize each and every song especially local songs from some regions
- Play games with Cortana:
Did it sound surprising reading the heading? Actually yes you can play games like rock paper scissor with Cortana. You should definitely try playing this with Cortana and see if you win or if it wins. To play just click on Cortana’s search box and say ‘rock paper scissors’ or if you are doing it manually then type ‘rock paper scissors’. The top most result will show you lets chat. Click on this and Cortana will show you which one she has chosen.
You can also play the movie game with Cortana. Just say or type ‘play the movie game’ in the search box. Cortana will ask you a question which has clues about movies. You will have to guess which movie it is. Have fun playing!
You can easily let Cortana translate language that you want to translate. You no longer have to open your browser. You can either type the word or sentence or you can also speak what you want to translate.
To do this go to Cortana’s search box and type ‘translate’. You can choose from which language you are using to which language you want to translate from the options and press enter. Cortana will give you the translated words or sentence.
- Send messages:
Do you have times when you have to send a message at a particular time but you are busy at that moment and you don’t have your phone with you? Cortana can help you send the message. This is a really important and useful feature especially for users who have to send a message when you don’t have your phone with you. You can type the message you want and send it through your PC or laptop. Cortana will then send the message to the person
In Cortana’s search box type ‘Send text to’. Then you should enter the name of the person you want to send a message to. The name should be from your contact list. After entering the name type enter
- Calendar events:
You can create meetings and events with the help of Cortana and it will also remind you of it. You can simple type ‘Add meeting’ and click on the top result which will tell ask you ig you want to create a calendar event. Another simpler way is to type or say commands like ‘add meeting at (the day for eg: Tuesday) (time) to calendar. So it can look like this ‘add meeting at Tuesday 11am to calendar. Cortana will then create the event for you and can also ask you for more details about the event.
The chatting feature is another cool and interesting aspect about Cortana. You can chat with Cortana and ask questions to which you can get an answer. The question can even be funny, stupid or simple. You can ask Cortana to tell you a joke or even a bedtime story. You can also ask Cortana to surprise you or ask funny questions like ‘where is clippy’. You will get a response to questions like these too and not only serious facts or information.
- Voice recognition:
Another great feature of Cortana is its voice recognition. You can speak to Cortana and the voice recognition software lets it give you back a response. To do that you just have to ask your query when you open Cortana’s search box.
However at times it does not recognize and understand what you tell Cortana if you are not a native English speaker. You can solve this through either adjusting Windows 10 speech settings or by letting Cortana get used to your accent through ‘Relearn my voice’
- News Updates:
Cortana give you the latest news and information about what is happening around the world. To get the latest news just type ‘News’ in the search box and click on the top result. You can also go to notebook and open news from there.
If you want to get more news related to your interested fields (for eg: sports or entertainment) you can also set it in such a way that you get those news more often. To do this click on add topic or add a category when you open the news.
- Calculation & Conversion:
Cortana serves another great purpose by being able to do basic calculation and conversions. You can calculate numbers, convert currencies or height, weight, length etc
You can just go to the search box and type or say ‘Calculate’ if you want to calculate anything or ‘Convert’ for conversion. This should be followed by your question. You can also just type your questions. For example: What is the cube root of 21
- Song lyrics:
Isn’t it cool that Cortana can also show you lyrics of the song you are currently listening to or you want to know about? Just go to Cortana’s search box and enter ‘lyrics of’ and then the name of the song then ‘by’ followed by the name of the artist. It will show you the lyrics of the song in the search box itself. If it doesn’t find it then you might be redirected to Bing searcher. Either way you will still get the lyrics of the song you want to listen to
- Keyboard shortcuts:
Here are the shortcuts you can use for Cortana-
Windows + C: This shortcut is for opening Cortana in a listening mode. A box will open and then you can ask your question.
Windows + S: This shortcut is to open Cortana’s search box immediately.
Windows + Q: Same as Windows key + S
- Controlling your computer and launching programs
You can control different programs in your computer through Cortana. You just have to give commands and Cortana will do it for you. For example you can change your wallpaper by entering ‘Change the wallpaper’.
You can also launch programs easily. Just say or type ‘Launch’ followed by the name of the program. For example: ‘Launch Paint’. Then Cortana will launch the program for you.
As you can see Cortana is a very useful virtual assistant which can do a variety of tasks from serious to fun tasks. You can do a lot of things with it. Here we have mentioned only 20 of those and there are much more. If you want to know what more you can do through Cortana, click on Cortana’s search box and then go to ‘Notebook’. You will get a list of activities or things Cortana can do for you.