Cortana has arrived on the Xbox One, bringing fresh commands and new functionality to the console.
You can still use the legacy Xbox One voice commands with Kinect if that's your preference, but if you enable Cortana on your console you'll be able to issue commands via a headset microphone and access features that make multitasking far easier. Here's everything you need to know about Cortana commands on Xbox One.
When you first download the Xbox One Summer Update, if you haven't been automatically prompted, you can use the following steps to switch her on:
How to turn on Cortana on the Xbox One
- Double tap the Xbox logo button on your controller. Or, if you're using a Kinect, just say "Xbox, go to settings" and skip to step #3.
- Select Settings. It is the gear icon.
- Select All Settings.
- Select System.
- Select Cortana Settings.
Tap the A button on your controller. You will then be guided through some telemetry agreements and prompted to reboot your Xbox.
Note: Cortana is currently only available in the US and the UK. You can change your language settings to enable Cortana, but this will only activate her Xbox-specific voice commands listed below. Her Bing-powered data commands will only work in supported regions.
For information on how to disable Cortana, hit the link below.
To use Cortana, you either need Kinect or a compatible microphone connected to your console. Any Xbox One compatible headset microphone should work.
- To trigger Cortana, simply say "Hey Cortana." In my experience, she takes a little while to "warm up" after the first use.
Follow up "Hey Cortana" with your voice command.
With the legacy voice commands, it was usually a good idea to leave a brief pause after saying "Xbox." It seems less necessary to do that with Cortana on Xbox One. Simply saying "Hey Cortana is Daniel Rubino online?" should trigger the correct command, even without a pause after "Hey Cortana."
List of Xbox-specific Cortana commands
Remember that Cortana supports natural language, so there isn't necessarily a single specific syntax for each command. Some commands seem to support a wider range of sentence structures than others, but here's a list of commands that we've tested. Remember to start each command with "Hey Cortana."
Turn on your Xbox
- "Turn on my Xbox."
- "Start my Xbox."
- "Xbox on."
- "Turn on."
Turn off your Xbox
- "Turn off my Xbox."
- "Turn off."
- "Xbox off."
Capturing game footage
- "Take a screenshot."
- "Broadcast on Twitch."
- "Record that."
- "Record the last (number) minutes."
Find out what your friends are currently doing
- "What is (Gamertag / real name) doing?"
- "Is (Gamertag / real name) online?"
Invite friends into parties
- "Invite (Gamertag / real name) into a party."
- "Start a party with (Gamertag / real name)."
- "Send a message to (Gamertag / real name)."
Select items on screen
- "Make a selection."
- "Select mode."
- When you've finished making a selection, say "stop listening."
Open apps and games
- "Open (app/game name)."
- "Go to (app/game name)."
"Snap (app name)."
Note: Universal apps like Baconit and Cast currently cannot be snapped.
Switch between and close snapped apps
- "Change view."
- "Fast forward."
- "Watch/go to TV."
- "Watch (channel name)."
- "Open/show OneGuide."
- "Volume up (number)."
- "Volume down (number)."
Note: Some TV-specific commands require either the Xbox One S or Kinect's IR blaster to function.
- "Go home." To return to the dashboard.
- "Go back." To cycle backward through previous actions.
- "Show/open menu." To open menus in certain apps.
- "Show/open guide." To open the Xbox quick guide.
- "Show/open notifications."
- "Show/go to my Friends List."
- "Sign in as (Gamertag/name)."
- "Sign out."
Search the Xbox Store
- "Search the store for (app/game name)."
- "Search the store for (movie/tv show name)."
List of Bing-powered Cortana commands
If your console region is set to the US or the UK, you can perform dozens of commands and queries using Cortana's cloud-powered search engine. If you have a Windows 10 PC or Windows 10 Mobile, you are likely already familiar with these commands, but if not, here's some of the most useful.
- "Search the web for (search query)."
Open websites in Microsoft Edge
- "Go to (website.com)."
- "What's the weather like in (location)?"
- "What's the weather like at the moment?"
- "What's the meaning of (word)?"
- "Define (word)."
- "What's the time in (location)?"
- "What time is it?"
- "Convert 10 kilograms into stone."
- "Convert 15 American dollars into British pounds."
- "What's 10 multiplied by 10?"
- "What's 5 divided by 3?"
- "How do I get to (location)?"
- "How far away is (location)?"
- "How do I get from (location) to (location)?"
- "How old is (famous person)?"
- "What is (company's) share price?"
- "Who was the director of (movie)?"
- "Tell me a joke."
- "Tell me a riddle."
- "Sing me a song."
- "Do an impression."
- "Tell me something interesting."
- "Tell me something funny."
- "Tell me a scary story."
There are dozens of additional commands Cortana can perform and even some hidden ones. You can say to Cortana "what can you do?" to get more suggestions, and sometimes she'll make her own suggestions when she's snapped.
On Windows 10 PC and Mobile, Cortana can tie into apps, calling cabs in Uber and searching for movies in Netflix. However, as of writing, the Universal Windows Platform on Xbox doesn't support Cortana voice commands for external apps. This will probably change in the future, and it in doing so open up exciting possibilities for home automation services, customer service bots and much more.
Cortana is a cloud-based service, and Microsoft is continually refining the service, in addition to rolling her out to more territories. Localizing Cortana for each and every region will probably take years, but it does seem to be in Microsoft's interests, particularly now she's baked into every device running Windows 10.
Bookmark this article and check back for future updates on how Cortana works on Xbox One, as we'll be consolidating all the latest information into this piece.
What's your favorite Cortana command? Are there any missing from this list? Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments!
Check out our other articles for more info on the Xbox One Summer Update.
- Xbox One Summer Update review
- The Xbox One Summer Update is rolling out, here's the full changelog
- The next Xbox One Update: Xbox Clubs, Arena, and Looking For Group
- Xbox help, tips and tricks
- Here are all the Universal apps launching with the Xbox One Summer Update
- How to control background audio on Xbox One
- How to turn Cortana on the Xbox One off and on
- How to use the new Games & Apps section
- Xbox Discussion Forums