While the Cortana personal digital assistant can be used to complete an amazing array of tasks using natural language, her ability to create reminders on the fly is perhaps one of the more useful. Here’s how you can create a reminder with Cortana.
Note: one thing you cannot do with Cortana, at least not yet, is edit a reminder. This feature will be added sometime in the future, Microsoft tells me.
While Cortana debuted in Windows Phone 8.1, reminders you create with Cortana in Windows 10 are now cross-device. This means you can set a reminder on your PC, but it could trigger on your phone (or vice versa). Obviously, you need to be signed in with the same Microsoft account on both devices for this work.
With that in mind, you can create three types of reminders with Cortana:
Time-based. This is a reminder based on a specific time (e.g. “remind me at 9 am”), an approximate time (“remind me tomorrow morning”) or a recurring time (“remind me every Wednesday morning”).
Location-based. This is a reminder that triggers when you are at a particular location. That location can be one in your notebook (“home,” perhaps, or “work”), or one Cortana finds with Bing (e.g. “remind me when I get to Paris”).
Person-based. This is a reminder that triggers when you answer a phone call or receive a text message or email from the person (e.g. “remind me when Steph texts me”).
Like everything else in Cortana, you can create a reminder by typing or hands-free, using your voice (assuming you’ve enabled and configured “Hey, Cortana” as described in Windows 10 Tip: Configure Cortana to Work For You). For more complex or multi-part reminders, Cortana might actually ask you follow-up questions, and regardless of the complexity of the reminder she will ask to make sure she gets it right.
I spent some time testing each of the reminder types. And I did use “Hey, Cortana,” so these reminders were created using voice control. You can enter this mode by saying “Hey, Cortana,” of course, or you can just type WINKEY + C.
One of the time-based reminders went like so:
“At 7pm remind me that I have to record What the Tech.”
After a bit of thinking, Cortana displays the reminder as she understood it (which is correct). And then she asks if this is OK.
Since this is correct, I reply “Yes” and we’re done. Cortana replies with, “OK, I’ll remind you” and says I can see this reminder in my reminders list.
Speaking of which, you can see all of your reminders in the Reminders view in Cortana.
As you can see, you can filter the view to view only time-, place- or person-based reminders if you’d like. You can also select individual reminders to mark them as complete or delete them.
And perhaps not surprisingly, Cortana reminders appear in Windows 10 as pop-up “toast”-style notifications right above the system tray. When you receive such a notification, you can snooze the reminder or mark it as complete.
I’ll look at Cortana notifications and reminders on Windows 10 Mobile in a future article.