What is Cognitive Services?

Microsoft Cognitive Services (formerly Project Oxford) are a set of APIs, SDKs and services available to developers to make their applications more intelligent, engaging and discoverable. Microsoft Cognitive Services expands on Microsoft’s evolving portfolio of machine learning APIs and enables developers to easily add intelligent features – such as emotion and video detection; facial, speech and vision recognition; and speech and language understanding – into their applications. Our vision is for more personal computing experiences and enhanced productivity aided by systems that increasingly can see, hear, speak, understand and even begin to reason.

You will find documentation of each product and their corresponding API references on the left navigation table.

Getting started with free trials

Signing up for free trials only takes an email and a few simple steps You will need a Microsoft Account if you don't already have one. You will receive a unique pair of keys for each API requested. The second one is just a spare. Please do not share the secret keys with anyone. Trials have both rate limit, in terms of transactions per second or minute, and a monthly usage cap. A transaction is simply an API call. You can upgrade to paid tiers to unlock the restrictions.

Subscription management

Once you are signed in with Microsoft Account you will be able to access My subscriptions to show the products you are using, the quota remaining and the ability to add additional products to your subscription.

Upgrade to unlock limits

All the APIs will have a free trial plan. As paid offerings become available for each API you will be directed to the Azure portal to complete the purchase. You can find Buy links in your Subscriptions page if you are already using them or you can skip trial altogether and purchase with provided links on Pricing. You will need to set up an Azure subscriber account with a credit card and a phone number. If you have a special requirement or simply want to talk to sales, please click "Contact us" button at the top the pricing page.

Regional availability

The APIs in Cognitive Services are hosted on a growing network of Microsoft-managed data centers. You can find the regional availability for each API in Azure region list.

Looking for a region we don't support yet? Let us know by filing a feature request on our UserVoice forum.


We're here for you throughout your development process. Reach out to us at any time using the links below.

  • For support and technical questions, post on Stack Overflow
  • For feedback and feature requests, go to UserVoice
  • For everything else, click "Contact us" on the bottom of any page