How to Use Cortana in the Microsoft Edge Browser

Let Cortana help you surf the web

Younfg man speaking into microphone connected to laptop

 PhotoAlto / Getty Images

Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant that is integrated with Windows 10, allows you to complete a wide range of tasks by typing or speaking user-friendly commands into your computer's microphone. Enabling Cortana in-browser settings for Edge provides even more benefits.

Instructions for this article apply to Cortana on Windows 10 using the Microsoft Edge web browser.

Benefits of Using Cortana with Microsoft Edge Browser

From setting reminders in your calendar to getting the latest updates on your favorite sports team, Cortana acts as your own personal secretary. The digital helper also allows you to perform various functions within the Windows operating system, such as launching an application or sending an email.

Another benefit Cortana offers is the ability to interact with Microsoft Edge, allowing you to submit search queries, launch Web pages, and even send commands or ask questions without having to leave the current web page all thanks to Cortana's sidebar located within the browser itself.

How to Activate Cortana in Windows

Before using Cortana in the Edge browser, it needs to be activated in the operating system.

  1. Select the Windows search box, which is located in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.

  2. When the search pop-out window appears, select the Cortana icon, a white circle found in the lower-left corner.

  3. You will now be taken through the activation process. Since Cortana utilizes a lot of personal data, such as your location history and calendar details, you need to opt-in before continuing.

  4. Select the Use Cortana button to move forward.

  5. Once Cortana is activated, the text in the aforementioned search box will now read Ask me anything.

Using Voice Recognition

While you can utilize Cortana by typing in the search box, its speech recognition functionality makes things even easier. There are two ways that you can submit verbal commands.

  1. The first method involves selecting the Talk to Cortana button, located on the far right-hand side of the search box. Once selected the accompanying text should read Listening, at which point you can just speak whatever commands or search queries you wish to send to Cortana.

    Screenshot of Talk to Cortana
  2. The second method is even simpler but needs to be enabled before it becomes accessible. Select the Talk to Cortana button.

  3. When the pop-out window appears, select the Settings option. Cortana's settings interface should now be visible.

    Screenshot of Cortana Settings icon
  4. Locate the Hey Cortana option and click on its accompanying button to toggle this feature on.

    Screenshot of Hey Cortana option in Cortana settings
  5. Once activated, you'll notice that you also have the ability to instruct Cortana to either respond to anyone or just to your individual voice. Now that you've enabled this feature, the voice-activated app will begin listening for your commands as soon as you speak the words "Hey Cortana".

Enabling Cortana to Work in the Edge Browser

Now that you've activated Cortana in Windows, it's time to enable it within the browser.

  1. Open a Microsoft Edge browser window.

  2. Select the More actions button, represented by three dots and located in the upper right-hand corner of Edge's main window.

    Screenshot of More Actions in Microsoft Edge
  3. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Settings. Edge's Settings interface should now be visible.

  4. Select Advanced Settings in the left pane.

    Screenshot of Advanced Settings in Edge settings pane
  5. Locate the Cortana section, which contains an option labeled Have Cortana assist me in Microsoft Edge.

    Screenshot of Cortana settings for Microsoft Edge
  6. If the button accompanying this option says Off, select it to toggle it on. This step is not always necessary, as the feature may already be activated.

How to Manage Data Generated by Cortana and Edge

Just like the cache, cookies, and other data is stored locally while you surf the Web, browsing and search history is also saved on your hard drive, in the Notebook, and sometimes on the Bing dashboard (depending on your settings) when you use Cortana with Edge. To manage or clear browsing/search history stored on your hard drive, follow the instructions set forth in our Edge private data tutorial.

To delete search history stored in the cloud, take the following steps.

  1. Return to Cortana Settings interface.

  2. Select Permissions in the left pane.

    Screenshot of Permissions in left pane of Cortana settings
  3. Select Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud.

    Screenshot showing Change what Cortana knows about me in the cloud.
  4. Select the Clear button in the Cortana pop-up menu.

    Screenshot of Clear button in Cortana menu