What is Cortana?

Applies to: CortanaWindows 10

Cortana is Microsoft’s personal productivity assistant that helps you save time and focus attention on what matters most.

To get started, select the Cortana icon on the taskbar. If you’re not sure what to say, try asking, "What can you do?"

Here are some things Cortana can do for you:

  • Manage your calendar and keep your schedule up to date

  • Join a meeting in Microsoft Teams or find out who your next meeting is with

  • Create and manage lists

  • Set reminders and alarms

  • Find facts, definitions, and info

  • Open apps on your computer

Activate "Cortana" mode


Open Cortana, select Settings , and then under Talk to Cortana switch the wake word toggle to On.

  • Note: The wake word has been re-enabled in the latest version of Cortana in Windows. If you're on Windows 10, May 2020 Update, be sure that you've updated to build 19041.329 or later to use the wake word with Cortana. For earlier builds, you can still click on the microphone button to use your voice with Cortana.

To activate "Cortana" mode in Windows 10, November 2019 Update and earlier versions, see our support topic