1. Change what Cortana calls you
Select the search box on the taskbar to open Cortana, and then select Notebook. Then, select the hyperlinked email address below your name. Now, select Change my name, type the name you want Cortana to call you, and then select Enter.
One of Cortana’s most powerful features is the ability to set reminders that are time-based, people-based and even location-based. That means Cortana can remind you to take out the trash just after you pull into the driveway, walk the dog after dinner at 8 p.m., or ask your friend Dan about his trip the next time he sends you a message or you send him an email. To set a reminder follow the steps below:
- Activate Cortana or select the “the “Ask me anything” field
- Write or say “remind me to [activity] in [timeframe]” or “[timeframe] remind me to [activity].” For example, you could say “in an hour, remind me to get lunch.”
- If Cortana did not process your request exactly as you’d like, tap on the reminder, day, or time fields, and then edit their contents to make sure the correct reminder is set. If you want the reminder to recur, click on “Only once.” The reminder can chime in every day, or on specific days of the week.
- Click Remind once you’re satisfied with the terms you’ve set.
3. Voice Activation
Another trait of a good friend is being dependable and having your back when you need it. Cortana has that in spades, and to get her attention, all you have to do is say, “Hey, Cortana.” It’s something so simple that we’ve started to take it for granted on Android and IOS, and it’s about time Windows PCs caught up. Note that this feature may not be activated by default, in order to save battery life, but you can easily turn it on by enabling it under the Settings menu in Cortana’s Notebook. Follow the steps below to turn on “Hey, Cortana” voice activation:
- Click the search box to the right of the Start button. A Cortana dialog box appears.
- Click the menu icon in the upper right corner of Cortana’s window. It has three stripes.
- Select Notebook and select settings
- Toggle “Let Cortana respond to ‘Hey Cortana.'” to On.
4. Change cortana’s voice and language
- Navigate to Settings. You can get there by clicking the Settings icon on the start menu.
- Click Time & language.
- Select Region & language from the left pane.
- Select a new region from the pulldown menu. As of this writing, Cortana is only available in the United State, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Germany and China. If you want to give Cortana a British accent, select “United Kingdom.”
- Click Add a language under the Languages subhead.
- Select the appropriate language. The top-level menu only shows major language groups, but you’ll get to pick a specific dialect on the next screen. So, for British English, you select “English” from this menu.
- Select the local dialect for the language. For British English, for example, you would select “English (United Kingdom).”
- Click the language you just added.
- Hit “Set as default”. The new language will now be at the top of the list.
- Select the language again and hit Options.
- Click the Download buttons under “Download language pack” and “Speech.” Wait for both to install. It could take a few minutes and you may have to click the button again to restart one of them if it gives you a message that it failed.
- Click Settings under Speech.
- Select the new language from the Speech language menu.
- Check “Recognize non-native accents . . . ” That should help improve speech recognition, particularly if you are an American but using the British English Cortana.
- Restart your computer. Next time you launch Cortana, you will be asked to set the voice assistant up by giving it your name, just as would for any language.