Smart & Connected Life Smart Home How to Use Alexa and Cortana Together Put the combined AI power of Microsoft and Amazon to work for you by Andy Wolber Freelance Contributor Andy Wolber is a former Lifewire writer who has been writing about technology for 15+ years. His focus is G Suite, iOS, and nonprofit sector apps. our editorial process Twitter LinkedIn Andy Wolber Updated on April 08, 2020 Smart Home Amazon Smart Home: Alexa & Amazon Echo Your Best Year Ever: College Tech Tips Appliances & Lighting Google Tweet Share Email Microsoft would like you to say, “Alexa, open Cortana,” to your Echo device. And Amazon wants you to say, “Hey Cortana, open Alexa,” to the Cortana voice assistant. Each company allows you to access the other company’s voice assistant. That means you can check on Amazon orders, create lists, and manage smart home devices with Alexa from Cortana on a Windows 10 computer. And, conversely, you can access your Outlook calendar, set a reminder, or send an email with Cortana from Alexa-enabled devices. But you need to connect the systems first. The following steps show you how to add the Cortana skill to Alexa, and how to enable “open Alexa” with Cortana. How to Add the Cortana Skill to Alexa You’ll need to use the Alexa app on Android, iOS or the web to add the Cortana skill. The sequence below shows you steps to add Cortana to Alexa with the Android app. The sequence is similar for the iOS or Alexa web app. Open the Alexa app, tap Menu (the three horizontal lines), and select Skills. Type “Cortana” and tap the magnifying glass to search. Tap Cortana to select the skill. Tap Enable to activate the Cortana skill. Review device permissions requested, then tap Save Permissions if you agree. Review Cortana permissions requested, then tap I agree, if you agree. Next, sign in to your Microsoft Account. You’ll need your Microsoft Account name, password, as well as any additional authentication methods (such as your phone or an authenticator app) you have configured for your Microsoft Account. Review the permissions requested by Microsoft to use Cortana on Alexa. Tap Yes, if you agree. You should see a message that reads, “Cortana has been successfully linked.” You should now be able to say “Alexa, open Cortana” to speak with Cortana from your Alexa device. How to add Alexa to Cortana To add Alexa to Cortana, you’ll need a laptop or desktop Windows 10 computer with Cortana enabled. Either select the microphone in the Cortana search box and say “Open Alexa” or press the Windows key + S then type “Open Alexa”. If you’re not already signed in to Cortana, select Sign in. You’ll need your Microsoft Account name, password, as well as any additional authentication methods (such as your phone or an authenticator app) you have configured for your Microsoft Account. After you complete the Microsoft Account sign-in process, you’ll see a message that indicates “You’re all set. Now, whenever you want to talk with Alexa, just say Open Alexa.” However, you still have additional work to do. After you’re signed in with your Microsoft Account and you type or say “Open Alexa” to Cortana, you need to sign in with your Amazon account. You’ll need your Amazon account name, password, as well as any additional authentication methods (such as your phone or an authenticator app) you have configured for your Amazon account. Next, review the permissions requested by the Alexa Voice Service, and select Allow if you agree. The system will then ask if you want Windows to remember your sign-in name and password, so you won’t need to sign in again, as well as allow it to sync to other PCs. Select Yes if you agree. Review the permissions requested by to allow Microsoft to share information with Amazon Alexa. Select Yes if you agree. You should see a message that reads, “Hello! It’s Alexa.” You should now be able to say “Hey Cortana, Open Alexa” to speak with Alexa from your Windows 10 computer. How to Use Alexa and Cortana Together Not every command works across the two platforms. For example, if you open Alexa on Cortana on a Window 10 system, you can’t yet play music, or set Alexa timers and reminders, although you can send smart home commands and handle Amazon orders. To learn the latest commands available, visit each vendor’s sites. Amazon provides both a Get Started with Alexa page and a Things to Try list of commands. Microsoft also offers a Get Started with Cortana page in addition to the main Cortana site. And Amazon and Microsoft each have announced that additional capabilities will be added in the future.