How to Use Cortana in the Microsoft Edge Browser

Microsoft Edge Cortana
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This article is only intended for users running the Microsoft Edge browser on Windows operating systems.

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. 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 and ask questions without having to leave the current Web page; all thanks to Cortana's sidebar located within the browser itself.

Activating Cortana in Windows

Before using Cortana in the Edge browser, it needs to be activated in the operating system. First click on the Windows search box, located in the lower left-hand corner of the screen and containing the following text: Search the web and Windows. When the search pop-out window appears, click on the Cortana icon, a white circle found in the lower left corner.

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.

Click on the Use Cortana button to move forward, or on the No thanks button if you are not comfortable with this. Once Cortana is activated, the text in the aforementioned search box will now read Ask me anything.

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. The first method involves clicking on the microphone icon, 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.

The second method is even simpler but needs to be enabled before it becomes accessible. First click on the circle button, now located on the left side of Cortana's search box. When the pop-out window appears, select the button that looks like a book with a circle on the cover -- located in the left menu pane directly below the house icon. Cortana's Notebook menu should now be displayed. Click on the Settings option.

Cortana's settings interface should now be visible. Locate the Hey Cortana option and click on its accompanying button to toggle this feature on. 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.

Click on the More actions button, represented by three dots and located in the upper right-hand corner of Edge's main window. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Settings. Edge's Settings interface should now be visible. Scroll down and select the View advanced settings button. Locate the Privacy and services section, which contains an option labeled Have Cortana assist me in Microsoft Edge. If the button accompanying this option says Off, click on it once 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 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's Notebook settings interface by taking the steps shown above.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and click on Web search history settings.
  3. A log of your Cortana searches will now be displayed in the Edge browser, categorized by date and time. You may be prompted to sign in using your Microsoft credentials first.
  4. To remove individual entries, click on the accompanying 'x' next to each one. To delete all Web searches stored on the Bing.com dashboard, click on the Clear all button.