Secret Cortana commands you may not know

Cortana does a lot — some of it obvious, some of it not so. Microsoft's virtual assistant both manages to make life easier and more delightful across the Windows 10 line-up, appearing on both Windows 10 PCs and Windows 10 Mobile Phones. She's more than just Microsoft's answer to Siri and Google Now — Cortana is both proactive and reactive. There's so much that Cortana can do that it's near impossible to know it all. Here are a few not-so-obvious commands that reveal the true power of Cortana!

Emoji dictation

Cortana's text dictation is great no matter the application, and is highly useful for the times you really shouldn't be typing away. But sometimes just words won't do — you need some emoji! You can add one with ease with Cortana dictation — just say something like "smiley", "winkie", or "frownie" and Cortana will put the corresponding emoticon into your text.


Ask Cortana "How do you say "I need to get the airport" in Spanish?" and she will give you a prompt translation. You can, of course, replace the phrase and the language with whatever you want. Cortana can translate English to 50 languages, with more on the way.

Search image and docs

On your PC, ask Cortana to "Show me pictures from last week" in order to pull up pictures from the corresponding time period. This also works with Word and Excel documents. Can't remember what you named the first draft of your essay? Ask Cortana to find it for you.

What's that song?

Cortana can essentially replace the popular song-identification app Shazam. If you hear a song and would like to know its name and creator, just ask Cortana for help. "What song is playing?" should do the trick.

Remind me

Maybe you're someone who needs a reminder here and there throughout the day. Cortana can set reminders that trigger when you reach a certain place or a certain time of day. Perhaps you have to visit the bank after work; just say "Remind me when I leave work to visit the bank." Cortana's smart location processing has already figured out where you work is, and when you leave that location you'll get a reminder to visit the bank. The same works for picking up the mail when you get home or any other combination of task and location.

Avoid rush hour

Next time you're driving across the city ask Cortana "What is traffic like on the way to home?" (or wherever you're headed) and she will provide you with info on any current snags that could extend or ultimately put a stop to your voyage. Don't forget that you can ask Cortana for directions if you're not sure how to get to a certain spot.

Very impressionable

Think you can do a good Schwarzenegger? Ask Cortana to "Do an impression" for you next time you and your friends are aping someone famous. You'll be surprised with what she pulls up.

Rock, paper, scissors

Cortana loves to compete — just say "rock, paper, scissors" the next time you need help picking a victor. Cortana will pick one of the three from the classic zero-sum hand game, so make sure you've already made your decision (she won't be cheating by using the camera to see your play).

Trivia time!

Are you a fountain of movie knowledge? Are you constantly impressing your friends with quotes, characters, and plots? Ask Cortana to "Play the movie game" with you next time you're feeling extra-smart. She will give you a few clues and eventually a blurred movie poster to help you along. You might even discover some new movies!

Your secret Cortana commands

Lets us know some secret Cortana commands you love to use! Sound off in the comments below!

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.