How to Use Cortana Notebook and Settings Features

Access the Cortana commands that personalize it for your needs

Cortana is Microsoft’s personal productivity assistant in Microsoft 365. Although Cortana's Notebook feature is gone, you can still use the tool to achieve more with less effort. Cortana can find what you need, help you stay informed and on track, and simplify collaboration.

Instructions in this article apply to Microsoft 365 on Windows 10.

Activate Cortana Mode

Once you enable the wake word, you can use your voice to work with Cortana.

  1. Go to the Search bar in the Windows taskbar, type Cortana, and select Open. Sign in with your Windows username and password, if prompted.

    Open Cortana in Windows search results
  2. Select Open Menu in the upper-left corner of the screen, which is represented by three dots.

    Open Menu in Cortana
  3. Select Settings.

    Settings in Cortana menu
  4. Select Voice activation.

    Voice activation option in Cortana settings
  5. If prompted, select Open Voice activation privacy settings.

    Open Voice activation privacy settings
  6. Turn on Allow apps to use voice activation and Let Cortana respond to 'Cortana' keyword. Exit the settings menu and begin using voice activation.

    Toggle for Let Cortana respond to "Cortana" keyword

When you say Cortana, a small window opens with a blue circle, indicating that Cortana is listening for a command.

Cortana listening window

Alternatively, you can open Cortana and type into the Ask Cortana box.

Ask Cortana box

Whichever way you choose to interact with Cortana, you can use the assistant in numerous ways.

Manage Your Calendar

Cortana can help you schedule appointments and keep track of the items on your calendar. Ask questions or give commands related to your schedule, such as:

  • Cortana, what's on my calendar today?
  • Cortana, what's my next reminder?
  • Cortana, add a new event to my calendar.
Add an appointment in Cortana

You can find out the details of your next meeting in Microsoft Teams or join an online meeting. If you sign in with your work account, you can also ask Cortana about people in your organization.

Other things you can do with Cortana include:

  • Open Windows 10 apps.
  • Create reminders.
  • Check the weather, traffic, or get directions.
  • Look up definitions and answer math calculations.

You can quickly find out more by asking. For instance, say Cortana, can you connect with Alexa? or Cortana, can you open Windows settings?

Or, say Cortana, what can you do? The assistant offers some ideas and tips that you might find useful.