Windows 10 Tip: Get Cortana Insights with Sticky Notes

Posted on October 2, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 20 Comments

Windows 10 Tip: Get Cortana Insights with Sticky Notes

With the Anniversary Update for Windows 10, Sticky Notes get a nice Ink-enabled update, but the biggest change, perhaps, is support for Cortana Insights, which lets you set reminders, call written phone numbers, send an email message, view web address, and more.

Note: This tip is derived from my e-book, Windows 10 Field Guide, which is being updated for the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. That update is almost complete, and we’ve moved on to new topics, like Windows Ink. –Paul


Your basic sticky note.

Sticky Notes works much like it did in previous versions of Windows. But it now sports additional capabilities thanks to a feature called Cortana Insights. The first time you run Sticky Notes, you will be asked to enable Cortana Insights. You will need to do so to access the new Sticky Notes features. If wish to enable this later, run Stick Notes, choose Menu (“…”) then Settings (gear icon) and enable the option “Enable Insights.”

Set a reminder

If you’ve enabled Cortana Insights, you can create Cortana reminders using Sticky Notes.

Note: Actually, there is one more caveat. You must live in the United States to use Cortana reminders with Stick Notes. If you don’t live in the U.S., you can change your country or region to “United States” in Windows 10 Settings.

To create a reminder using Sticky Notes, write text on a sticky note that includes a time or date. As you write, you will see that the time or date is highlighted in blue. In Sticky Notes, blue text is actionable using Cortana Insights, and in this case, you will be able to create a reminder.

For example, text with the word “tomorrow” can be converted into a Cortana reminder.


When you select the blue text, an “Add Reminder” button appears.


Select that button to launch Cortana and edit and then complete the reminder.


As you might imagine, various date-related words will trigger Cortana Insights and let you create reminders. You can also use terms like “Tuesday,” “at 10 am,” and so on.

Do more with Cortana Insights

Cortana Insights isn’t just about reminders. If you write text that includes things like a phone number, address, or web address, and more, that text will likewise by highlighted in blue, indicating that it is actionable.

A few examples:

Phone number. When you write a string of numbers that is identifiable as a phone number, Sticky Notes will let you select that string of numbers and call it using Skype. (Note that you must have Skype credit associated with your Skype account to use this functionality.)


Address. If you add an address to a sticky note, you can select that address and launch Maps to get directions or learn more about the location.


Web address. Web addresses (text that ends in .com or similar) will be highlighted in blue. You can select this text to view the web address (URL) in your default web browser.


And more… Cortana Insights has other interesting capabilities: You can also do things like write a flight number to track the flight or a stock symbol to see how your shares are doing today.



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