Cortana tips and tricks for an easier life

164_MW_COver the years, the virtual assistant has evolved. First there was the Microsoft Paperclip (aka Clippy), later we had Siri, and now we have Cortana, the new assistant for Microsoft Windows 10. If you’re a Windows 10 user who loves the operating system just as much as we do, you may be curious as to how you can best utilize your new personal assistant. Here’s how you can get the most out of Cortana and make your life easier in the process.

Get directions

Let’s start with something very practical that nearly anyone can use – directions. Simply put, Cortana makes it easier to get them. All you have to do is ask her “How do I get to Tony’s Pizza?” She’ll then paste your location and destination into the Maps app, and wallah! Instant directions.

But when it comes to getting to a destination, Cortana can do more than just directions. She can also provide you an estimate as to how long it’ll take to get there. Simply ask her, “How long will it take to get to xyz?” and she’ll tell you. Better yet, if your default method is bus or train, she’ll also tell you which number or line to take.

Set an alarm

While setting your own alarm isn’t the most tedious task in the world, it is certainly easier and quicker with the help of Cortana. To get some alarm-setting assistance, simply tell Cortana, “Set an alarm for XXX”. She’ll then display your alarm entry to ensure she got it right, and at this point you can edit it if there was any misunderstanding.

Make decisions for you

Whether you’re trying to decide what type of sandwich to order at lunch, or the color of a new shirt you’re going to buy, Cortana can help. How, you might ask? Simple – she uses the tried-and-true method of a coin toss. Ask her to “flip a coin”, and you’ll never struggle again when it comes to making menial decisions.

Set reminders

In this busy world where many of us are constantly on the move, it can be easy to forget tasks, errands, and other important things we need to do. Cortana can be really handy here, as she can provide a set of reminders based on either people or location. Here’s how it works.

Let’s say the next time you’re at the grocery store you want to remember to buy milk and eggs. All you have to do is tell Cortana to “Set a reminder”, tell her to remind you to “buy milk and eggs”, and then give her the location details of where you want to be reminded. The next time you’re at that grocery store, an alarm will go off reminding you to buy your desired items.

As for the people reminders, these work in the same way as the location-based ones, but instead for the contacts in your phone. To activate this, tell Cortana “The next time I call Amy, remind me to talk with her about work”. The next time you talk with Amy on the phone or via text, your reminder will appear on the display.

Check the weather

No virtual assistant would be complete without being able to act as the weatherman and tell you if there is a chance it’s going to rain, snow or sleet. And Cortana does just that. Whether you need to know the weather right now or next week, Cortana can provide you with the forecast for anywhere in the world. All you have to do is ask.

Switch on your PC remotely

How nifty would it be if you could turn on your PC remotely and save precious time at work, just by telling your smartphone to do it? With Cortana, now you can. First you’ll need to download the free app VoiceWake for both your smartphone and PC, and you’ll also need to change some settings in the BIOS. This is undoubtedly a bit technical, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you get started.

Interested in learning more about Cortana or other Windows 10 features? Toying with the idea of installing some new IT in your office? Get in touch with our experts today.

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