Make Windows 10 do anything and everything with IFTTT Maker for Cortana

Although Microsoft's Cortana is a rather powerful personal assistant, it can do even more than what you thought. One way to augment Cortana's powers is to link it up to the amazingly fun service IFTTT, and you can now do that with a universal app for Windows 10.

Don't know what IFTTT is? Let's tackle that one first.

What is IFTTT?

IFTTT stands for 'If This Then That', and if you are a programmer you are very familiar with the term. IFTTT is a free service that other services plug into like Hue lights, Nest, SmartThings, Dropbox, OneDrive, and more. Users create 'recipes' that you can use to automate tasks. For instance, I just set my living room lights to turn automatically on at sunset based on my location and the day. There are many recipes to choose from that are created by the community; here are a few examples:

  • Save science stories from Time to read later on Pocket
  • Any new post on Tumblr goes to Twitter
  • Flash Hue lights with every in-game ESPN update for your favorite team
  • If I lose my phone, call it with a long press of my WeMo Light Switch

All you need to do is create an account and just start browsing. Once you find a recipe, you can add it, connect up your services and voila it's done. If you thought Wikipedia could be a hole to waste your time just wait until you dig around the thousands of IFTTT recipes. It's all web-based and a lot of fun to use.

It should be noted that most people use IFTTT to trigger their home automation. So having Hue lights, SmartThings, Nest, Dropcam, WeMo and more result in the most fun.

IFTTT Maker for Cortana

<img src="" width="800" height="600" alt="IFTTT Maker for Cortana" class="image-large_wm_blb aligncenter image-large" />

IFTTT Maker for Cortana is a new app from "coder()" for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. The app is free to use with ads and some limitations such as the number of commands one can create and a window pop-up when Cortana executes IFTTT actions. The paid version has no ads, no limitations, and the original Cortana experience. The purchase price is $4.99, which while not cheap is well worth it if you make use of it.

What IFTTT Maker for Cortana does it lets you create IFTTT recipes that are triggered by your Cortana commands. All commands are started by saying 'Trigger (command)' for example:

  • "Trigger, make it warm" (Sets my Nest thermostat to 66 F degrees)
  • "Trigger, turn on my camera" (Turns on my AC power outlet, which controls my Dropcam)
  • "Trigger, turn on my office lights" (Turns on my Hue lights)

What I like about IFTTT Maker for Cortana is how it walks you through all the steps in linking Maker (the 'If this') to your various services (the 'Then that'). This help includes generating the web link trigger code and creating the recipes.

Once you have your Triggers set up, you can just use Cortana's voice commands to activate them remotely. Although it can take some time to create your Triggers, once done it is a very powerful system.

You can even create multiple 'tags' for a Cortana command. As an example, to turn on my heat I can say:

  • "Trigger, turn on the heat"
  • "Trigger, make it toasty"
  • "Trigger, make it warm"

You have the ability to create up to six different ways of saying a single command, which makes using IFTTT Maker for Cortana much easier. You can even specify unique and funny responses from Cortana e.g. "There goes the heating bill."

Overall, IFTTT Maker for Cortana works very well, but there are few quirks. For some reason, I cannot get past a step on my PC version, but it works fine on the phone. This bug, however, seems limited to my setup and not others. There are also limitations with some of the services, which is not the fault of IFTTT Maker for Cortana. For instance, Hue does not have groups for your lights, meaning you can only trigger a bulb and not groups of them. Adding to that things do not always go right with triggers and automation so you may run into odd hiccups with IFTTT (for some reason my Nest thermostat does not like to receive commands).

Still, IFTTT Maker for Cortana is a very neat app with a ton of potential. If you like automation, using IFTTT, and creating recipes you could make your PC and phone a very powerful tool to just make things happen.

Give the trial a spin and if you like it purchase the app for $4.99 and leave the developer a review.

Download IFTTT Maker for Cortana for Windows 10 and Mobile (opens in new tab)

QR: ifttt

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • I don't normally do this, but... First Post! :) Also, cool news!
  • Congratulations...
  • You should continue to not do this... 
  • :D :P
  • You should not continue to not do this.
  • You should continue not to do this.
  • I should not continue to do this.
  • I thought he should not continue to do this.
  • To be continued...
  • Good1 @rodrione
  • He just witness a greater truth
  • Cool!
  • With all these interesting time-wasters, how do people have time to do anything else? Too many things, too little time. Sigh... late for work, again.
  • I know, makes me feel like I'm an iPhone user.
  • I would love for this type of functionality to be built into Cortana.
  • It really should have been; there's no reason we shouldn't be able to augment Cortana's command library within her settings.
  • There's a Microsoft Garage app for Android called on{x}. I would like to see them develop it further and bring it to Windows and Cortana add ability to use Microsoft Account. Perhaps give it a name change. I actually like the name, but it may be too nerdy. Call it Cortana Actions or Triggers or something. Extend to Xbox and Windows IoT. Allow recipes to be made without programming skills... Other than that it looks good :) - I haven't tried it, 'cause I am not signing in with Facebook.
  • Honestly, it's crap lol. I'm not sure when they last updated but I have not had a good experience with it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Similar to Workflow for ios!!
  • Is it just me that hates seeing comparisons to iOS because it seems like the person who compares, favours iOS when any Windows fan knows it's inferior?
  • I still can't stand the fact there is literally no distinction on the keyboard between upper case and lower case. It's absolutely baffling that majority of ios users don't even care lol.
  • I'm still baffled that there is no swipe keyboard.
  • iOS does have Swype in the form of an app. The problem is, they know exactly what you're typing because of the access the app requires. Here's a published emoji report on which state favored which emoji: How else can you obtain that kind of data?
  • I don't hate iOS comparisons. They're fine. Unabashed fanboyism for iOS is not fine, though. There are many things I love about Windows which are far better than iOS but there are also areas where iOS is better. TechFreak1, they finally relented and fixed that annoyance in iOS 9.
  • This bothered me so much when I used a friend's iphone. But then I looked down at my laptop and my desktop keyboard at work and realized those don't change either lol.
  • There is now in iOS 9. I agree, should have been much much earlier 
  • You cannot compare ios against win 10... ios is a operating system for toys and that is its limit...Win 10 is a operating system that covers toys thru to profesional use... 2016 is the year high end apple user will see that without jobs apple has the visionary powers of Mole.... Apple have just shed 180 mill off its value thats like the total value of .IBM to put it into perspective...
  • 180 billion i should say...
  • What are you talking about? There's upper and lower case on the keyboard,
  • Cortana turn on dark theme. Permanently!
  • Let's hope I can launch an app base on my location.
  • ^This
  • Dan, it's been 7 to 10 days since last AskDanWindows video, where's the new Windows Central app?
  • It will arrive when it arrives, eash. Plus it's almost Christmas. Not too mention, waaaay off topic lol.
  • 0.0 the possibilities are endless! I can feel my hair running off my scalp with their mini light bulb moments lol.
  • ...but Cortana STILL can't set a timer.  And no, setting an alarm is not a good substitute when you need to set an accurate timer for a minute and a half.
  • The reason we have an "assistant" is that we're lazy people, this defeats the purpose
  • After the initial setup (which is quite easy), it lets you be even more lazy with countless aspects of your life and workflow. But I admit, this isn't for everybody.
  • There are recipes others made and share. So you don't need to do much. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Dan Using this can you 1. Mute your phone when you are connected to the work wi-fi and unmute it when you disconnect?  2. Mute your phone when you are in a set location (work?) and unmute it when you leave from there? 3. Can we use this to initiate a action (like sending a text) when we reach a location. Example could be someone has a habit to texting their parents/spouse when they reach work everyday. Can this be automated??
  • My wife had that function on her Samsung galaxy 4.
  • ironically you can do these things wit on{x}, a Microsoft app for Android.
  • Haven't used it myself, but it should be doable. As long so you give it permission for location data anyway. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Thanks for this article! Awesome and very useful. FYI.. IFTTT also works with Amazon Echo.
  • If you set this up on your laptop, do you need the app to be installed on each device for it to work or will cortana know what to do regardless?
  • Yes, you need to install this app on all of your devices. Windows synchronizes all settings when the app exists on multiple devices. Then the app will take care of setting up Cortana when Windows is done with synchronization. You don't need to set up the same things on multiple devices manualy yourself.
  • Nice. ​"Give me a sponge bath" ​"Tickle my feet" ​Nice.
  • 66 degrees is warm? :P
  • That is borderline hot, but still warm
  • This!! 66 is not warm. It's freezing cold. 70 is warm. 68 is tolerable. ☺
  • Nah, anywhere began 55 and 95 is comfortable lol. Or maybe I'm just extremely tolerant with temperatures lol. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I got excited for a second that IFTTT had released an official app :(
  • so that's not official ifttt app?
  • This is cool stuff. But I've one question? Shouldn't the apps be able to do this natively through Cortana integration? Or Cortana can't do that yet through integration with the apps as of now? From what I'm gathering, IFTTT is essentially a logic system. Seriously though, that kind of logic system should be available as a part of OS natively mainly to automate your phone or any computing device's status, like standby, sleep, battery saver mode, low/high cpu performance mode, low/high cellular/wifi radios performance mode, logics for connected peripherals, logics for specific apps. The possibilities are endless, but I get it now that organizing and streamlining the whole process would be tricky. Would love to see more logic solutions come to Cortana though. Geofencing is a already great example. Curating it for contacts, apps, time of the day, device state, peripherals would be great.
  • I can make Windows 10 do anything?
    "Cortana get all the apps!"
    ?/s :P
  • Is there any way to make it work with geofencing? For example, could I set it up so that Cortana automatically shut off my Wireless radio when I leave my house, without saying "Trigger" first? Or is that not doable right now, even with IFTTT?
  • That is the greatness of this app. It lets the users create it to however you want.... Geofencing would be out there...
  • I've been wanting to do something like this since a long time. "Cortana turn off Wi-Fi when I leave home" and "Cortana turn on Wi-Fi when I get to my uncle's house". There is a feature that kind of do this. But, not as accurate.
  • Oh my, the fun I'm going to have with this :)
  • "Trigger, tell my wife to make me a sandwich" *kitchen lights flicker, Cortana texts my wife*
  • And On....
  • Best £3.89 you can spend... Service v integration... No doubt it will become part of win 10 eventually.