Use Cortana to quickly schedule events from text messages and emails

Cortana is your personal assistant on Windows Phone 8.1. She’s great for finding nearby sushi joints, reminding you to get milk on your way home and much more. You won’t find Cortana confined to her app though, she’s hanging out in other parts of Windows Phone 8.1. Here’s a quick tip for adding events to your calendar from text messages and emails.

Cortana is contextually aware anytime someone messages you through a text message or email with plans. She then makes setting it up as a calendar event really easy. Feel free to tap any underlines in your messages. Most likely, those underlines will be related to a date. Below you can see two examples of Cortana aware of plans with myself to get tacos tomorrow.


Cortana Scheduling Text


Cortana Scheduling Email

Cortana is intelligent enough to understand that your contact wants to do something at a certain time. She’ll then make scheduling that appointment easy and with a few taps it’s in your calendar. She’ll do her best to understand what it is you’re doing with that person, but she’s pretty accurate at understanding the time. You might need to edit the actual activity, but that’s a minor quibble.

We’re loving all the small features of Cortana and Windows Phone 8.1. We’ll continue to share more little tips and tricks. Have any questions you want answered? You know how to reach us. 

Have you already used this feature with Windows Phone 8.1 and Cortana? Let us know what you think about it!

Sam Sabri
  • Cortana needs better conversations. Needs to have "Arsenio Mode."
  • Ha, indeed
  • The cheese is in your damn kitchen!
  • wat.
  • HAHAHAHA, do you want to bring a knife in gunfight?
  • How about a way to make her work with Wi-Fi? Tried wifisense without any luck. Any word from Joe belifore?
  • I have found that she works fine on some wifi networks, but not the one I have at home. The internet connection works fine for youtube or webpages, but for some reason Cortana will not be able to access anything while connected.
  • It is a developer preview after all...
  • It's something with people time Warner internet such as myself who are unable to use it.
  • My time Warner suddenly started working
  • I have Time Warner, Cortana worked on day one for me.
  • Cortana works ok with wifi at home...
  • Me 2
  • The soution seems to be changing the DNS settings on your router.  Check the forums.  There are some new ones which detail this solution.
  • My wifisense didn't work at first but now it does. Pretty nifty
  • But she doesn't work WITHOUT wi-fi. If I want to set up an alarm, she says she "can't talk to the internet right now". If I want to send a text message (which is via carrier's network) she says that "she's feeling disconnected". I don't understand that. Things that don't require internet connection should be easy to use when you're disconnected. I think I'm missing something.
  • There is two distinct function: speech recognition that is used for the Speech-To-Text (and also for Text-To-speech), that can transform and audio in a written text, is performed in the cloud.
    Instead vocal command (that are some specific actions, like call, open, is performed on the phone.
  • Cortana searches web for every question -.-
  • Not for me
  • It does for me.... " New task" and the Bing web page appears....
  • What exactly are you asking her? If its something that the web can answer then it makes sense, but if you ask her for directions, or to find you the nearest whatever.. She def answers me accordingly
  • When asking for restaurants bread its not showing the results and goes searching on the web.
  • what is a bread restaurant?
  • Bakery? :D
  • You're just not her type. 
  • lol
  • To make it worse, she didn't strike me as picky! j/k.
  • She did the same for me for a day or so, but now she converses pretty well.
  • I've seen some people say she acts differently when pinning her to homescreen vs opening from app list.
  • Yeah she has closer issues
  • +720
  • Same here, but it seems intermittent. Possibly the internet connection issue described above?
  • Today I spent 10 minutes trying to tell her again and again "call Olga Silva at work" (where Olga Silva is a contact of mine), and Cortana replied, "Okay, what's your dad's name?".. Huh?
  • Yeah I've actually used this a few times already.. One of my favorite parts of cortana actually. What's amazing is how she understands the general language we use like if we were to say "next Thursday" she would know its not tomorrow but instead the following week.. Those are the lil things that make her amazing
  • But..but..tomorrow IS the next Thursday.... J/k
  • I still don't know how she understands flights, I got two flights in my inbox, she didn't suggest anything, unless she is going to surprise me tomorrow, the day of flight. I wish.
  • Great feature of Cortana. Just now checked it. Messaged myself 'Come to college by tomorrow 8am' and when I clicked it, Cortana automatically set the reminder.
  • Looking forward to productivity gains such as this!
  • I hardly use cortana for location stuff. Hope that in the next update, we can use her without the location being turned on for non-location related stuff
  • Yes! That's my biggest gripe about Cortana. I don't want to have to turn my location on in order to use it. Otherwise, it's a great new feature.
  • Try to use PDA instead of smart phone instead and go buy flip phone dude...
  • I don't use Cortana exactly for this reason.
  • I heard she cant send text or emails for know speech to text is that true ?
  • I've already sent text with my voice via cortona. I haven't tried an email though.
  • Works for me
  • She's done it for me the one time I tried it so it should work.
  • I've sent several texts via Cortana... Works flawlessly! I simply say "Cortana, text [contact] 'blah blah'" and she does it.
  • How nice, another feature we, the rest of the world, can't enjoy.
  • Want a tissue?
  • Just set the language to English ( US )  and the region to United States ( basically everything  except timezone )  and Cortana will work...  
  • Changing your region has effect on the store. For example, my creditcard won't be accepted anymore... region restrictions and stuff...
  • Well, just get free apps in the mean time then, since you won't have to use your credit card that way. I mean I hardly ever use my credit card for app purchases.
  • When I was using UK as the default region on my WP, because I wanted everything to be in English, I had to do a PayPal account, associate my Credit Card with this PayPal ID and then add the PayPal to my Wallet so I could buy in the UK Store (I live in Brazil).  PayPal did all the currency conversion stuff and monetary fees were not so expensive, something around R$ 0,30 or US$ 0,15 (15 dollar cents) added to each purchase I'd do. BUT, when I changed the region to US, in order to use the mighty Cortana, this didn't work anymore because prior to add PayPal to my Wallet app I had to prove that I live in the US and had a Credit Card. Needless, once my CC is already associated with my PP. So, now the "Paying with PayPal" option is useless. Therefore I can not buy apps in the US Store if I don't live in the US. Which is logic. But if "Paying with PP" is available, it should not be necessary to confirm your address and CC data. I'm disappointed.
  • I am loving this update so much. Cortana is fun to play with but the little things make the OS more useful. Specially the new keyboard.
  • Note sure if this is covered anywhere? but can you manually set the color of Cortana stuff, instead of having it be your theme color? I love my theme color (crimson), but hate how that color looks in everything cortana. I want that light blue color, or even cobalt!
  • No
  • I'm getting no work done today. Stopping every ten minutes to check this damn WP central app.
  • They write you complain, they don't write you complain. Wait til Easter holidays!
  • I'm hard to please.
  • NIST = No Instant Satistaction Tolerated
  • Ha! me too.  It's like when I first got my phone...
  • Apparently Dan Rubino and the team are the most important people in my life right now.
  • Word :-).  That is funny.  I was thinking the exact same thing.
  • My favorite Cortana commands are "remind me to [do something] at [this time] on [this day]" And "wake me up in [x] minutes"
  • Because there are the only two she always seems to get right :p
  • My Geofencing is working perfectly...It's an awesome feature IMHO.
  • Never worked for me
  • This doesn't work for me. I've set multiple reminders (which she sets up successfully) but she never actually, you know, reminds me. Am I the only one facing this issue?
  • Mine work 100% so far. I've done about 4 reminders and one alarm.
  • i hope she can read  FB messeger app messages, or even other chat apps like Line, whatsapp cuz ppl use those a lot more than actualy text and e-mails these days.
  • Waiting for that to happen!
  • Maybe where you're from because in my experience, everybody texts.
  • Let me guess. USA? No international friends?
  • Yep. I have a few international friends and we converse via text or email.
  • Now that woudla been easy if they expanded the unified messaging hub not strip it back to txt only.... Nothing wrong with an app but that was a cool feature and if they allowed more services into message hub cortana could have used any that hooked in..... Why take away such useful features :(
  • Most likely saved for GDR1 else they would have to find something new to add in! ;)
  • I want Cortana (NL) without having my phone in English..
  • 2015.
  • You huys keep talking about WP 8.1. How the heck do I install it on my Lumia 925. Do I have to wait 'til the update? Or is there any way I can update it manually??
  • Write the same question on Bing. Com
  • Click on the below link for the app to update. Enjoy :-)
  • Install Preview for Developers app and follow instruction.
  • You need to search the WPCENTRAL site for how you enroll in the Developer Preview from Microsoft.  Once you've done that on-line, you can install the Preview for Developer App from the store and then start checking for updates...It's really easy.  Just use your Windows Live account to register on-line when you do it.
  • Let me Bing that for you... Detailed instructions on how to obtain the Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview
  • Is there a way to add flight tracking manually? She didn't pick up an eticket I got in my mail. Which was a bummer
  • What format is this e ticket in?
  • It's text but with a
    itinerary. Though if truth be told its actually my girlfriends air ticket she forwarded to me. But id quite like to have the flight tracked.... And mainly to see cortanas mad skills
  • I think she starts tracking in the hours leading up to the flight.
  • Ok cool, but no sort of pop up letting you know its been added? We'll see i guess :)
  • Let us know if it actually works!
  • I don't know what the format needs to be, when she found 2 flights that are my mother's trip coming to visit me and asked me if I wanted to track them right after I first set up Cortana. Those flights are next week, so I don't think it's waiting till the last minute either. I know this doesn't really help but at least it gives you another experience to go from. :)
  • I'm facing an issue with my Cortana.. When ever I'm offline, she does all the offline tasks perfectly like playing music or opening apps and fails to do anything online related such as searches and stuff, which is as one would expect.. But when I am connected to the internet either by WiFi or 3g.. She fails to respond to any of my voice commands.. The only reply I get is "I failed to catch that".. Doesn't matter whether I want her to play music or do online search.. She fails to respond.. Unless I type in my commands, in which case she does them perfectly..i don't know if its a bug or some other problem..
  • Yeah heard that from couple of Indian friends. Could be regional?
  • Yeah man.. Could be.. But that's sad..i enjoyed the two days we had together.. Now she wont respond to any of my requests.. Feels like my previous relationship all over again.. ;) ..
  • Sp that means Cortana needs that bug fix now
  • I had same problem, I changed my sim card, ( BSNL to Airtel), works fine now.
  • I use Docomo.. But I wonder how has my sim got to do with any of this.. Specially when I use Wi-Fi to connect to internet..
  • I find this weird too, I also use WIFI. When I put my BSNL sim, cortana and twitter app stop working.
  • You have to remember a firmware update has yet not been applied so you are using old firmware with new software. WiFi, 3G and location may need tweaking.
  • Yeah you're prolly right.. Guess I'll just wait for the final update or something.. Till then I'll make do with a deaf Cortana
  • I used it for scheduling an appt this week. Worked pretty well!
  • My Cortana is not showing Music symbol. Please help me out here  
  • However she unable to send an email when prompted, it's limited just to text sending.
  • When usa decide to share I will
  • It. Not her.
  • Voice sounds pretty feminine to me. 
  • I noticed this feature today. When I type in the word tomorrow and it was underlined
  • So far Cortana is working great. Only question I have is why doesn't she talk or say something when you press the search to ask a question or schedule something?
  • Literally just found this out a few seconds before I read the article. Cool feature.
  • OMG SHE'S PERFECT been testing her all day her in South Africa. It's like having a conversation with a real person, it's amazing what she can do and she's still in BETA! I'm using a L520, Microsoft well done you have certainly redeemed yourself (promise I won't complain anymore) also the Word Flow is amazeballz I don't think I will ever type out on my keyboard again lol
  • You might complain if/when you use the Music app. :)  Maybe now we just won't be as angry about it all ha ha
  • I forgot about that, well I did notice it's like really slow now but one thing I'm really happy for is that I can finally create and add to a playlist from the phone but it's not perfect. The app looks, feels and acts very differently (uses up a lot of data) but lets hope an update is coming soon. I prefer NokiaMixRadio anyway.
  • Lazy to read , hopefully can provide video XD - using swipe keyboard to reply.
  • This is a very neat feature! Maybe they can hook it in with Facebook Messenger, too.
  • My wife found this feature, showed me, I sent a tip email to wpcentral and then 30 minutes later this article is out. Speedy speedy, love me sum wpcentral :)
  • UK here. Love Cortana... But my bing home screen is stuck on same photo for 2 days now. Its not changing every day l like it used to. Any ideas peeps ????
  • Dumb question but do you have it set to "All Photos" instead of Favorites or Single Photo?
  • I have it set to bing
  • This might help I use LockMix app it actually helps change the Bing picture on my lock screen more frequently I also noticed when I didn't use LockMix that the Bing image stays the same longer than it should. LockMix has a lot of other useful features that you can add to your lock screen, I hope this helps.
  • Hi. Thanks. I downloaded that app. See how it goes. Ta
  • She keeps telling me there are flood warnings here. It rained hard yesterday then snowed but there's no warning... When I tap the alert in Action Center it takes me to Bing. Weird.
  • Just saw on that Nokia XL is coming soon.
  • Does she say your name when you hit the search?
  • Mine doesn't, yours?
  • I sent this in yesterday. She will recognize time, period of day and a day itself. For example, 9am, 9:00, tonight, Monday and etc. If you put the a saying before the time period, she will add it as the title, for example, "Vacation April 18th through April 20th." She will create a calendar event called Vacation for April18-20. Like he said it works in email too. If you go to Cortona and say " Add to calendar Vacation April 18th through April 20th," she will create the same calendar event w/o you having to go through each question individually.
  • I have been wanting something like this since WP 7.0. AWESOME!
  • Sam,
    Here is a question, I have hotmail and a exchange account setup on my phone, when I ask her to add a calendar entry, she defaults to hotmail, how do I get her to default to exchange for the calendar entry?
  • Yes, I had the same question and did not see yours before writing mine... These are GREAT features, as is the 'remind me' feature.  I have a question though... the reminders and the calendar & task features all are entered on my Microsoft Account.  I'd like them to be added from my Exchange account.  Can I get her to default to my Exchange account?  Otherwise I have to manually go into Outlook and transfer from my MSFT Account to the Exchange calendar/tasklist, etc... If you get some feedback, please let us know.
  • I would like to know the same thing.  I can't even seem to pick a different hotmail calendar. It's adding events to my Birthdays calendar.  Not very useful.  You can't even go back in and change the calendar after it's been created.
  • It. Not she.
  • These are GREAT features, as is the 'remind me' feature.  I have a question though... the reminders and the calendar & task features all are entered on my Microsoft Account.  I'd like them to be added from my Exchange account.  Can I get her to default to my Exchange account?  Otherwise I have to manually go into Outlook and transfer from my MSFT Account to the Exchange calendar/tasklist, etc...
  • Hey guys. Please help me. I have a 525 living in India and followed the stopped to unlock Cortana, but it says that the speech failed to start. Is this happening to anyone else? Please help
  • Okay, cortana did her job well, but if disconnect from the internet, Cortana only say "cant connect..." :( Happen this to me :
    "Cortana, turn on airplane mode on"
    Me : "cortana, turn off airplane mode"
    Cortana : "Sorry i cant connect to the internet" The world is doomed.
  • Windows 8.1 ma battery backup nathi app tu
  • Why location needs to be on for Cortana?
  • needs to have more fuller calendar editing. need to be able to select which calendar the appointment goes to and be able to select reminder. she defaults to 15 minutes. attendees notes arent accessible. Cortana is still betta. i'm sure she will get better.