Cortana voice commands

Extend the basic functionality of Cortana with voice commands that launch and execute a single action in an external application.

Other speech components: See Speech interactions if integrating speech recognition and text-to-speech (also known as TTS, or speech synthesis) directly into your app.

Note

A voice command is a single utterance with a specific intent, defined in a Voice Command Definition (VCD) file, directed at an installed app through Cortana.

A VCD file defines one or more voice commands, each with a unique intent.

Voice command definitions can vary in complexity. They can support anything from a single, constrained utterance to a collection of more flexible, natural language utterances, all denoting the same intent.

The target app can be launched in the foreground (the app takes focus and Cortana is dismissed) or activated in the background (Cortana retains focus but provides results from the app), depending on the complexity of the interaction. For example, voice commands that require additional context or user input are best handled in a foreground app, while basic commands can be handled in Cortana through a background app.

By integrating the basic functionality of your app, and providing a central entry point for the user to accomplish most of the tasks without opening your app directly, Cortana becomes a liaison between your app and the user. Providing this shortcut to app functionality and reducing the need to switch apps can save the user significant time and effort.

Article Description
Voice command design guidelines These guidelines and recommendations describe how your app can best use Cortana voice commands to interact with the user, help them accomplish a task, and communicate clearly how it's all happening.
Activate a foreground app with voice commands In addition to using voice commands within Cortana to access system features, you can also use voice commands through Cortana to launch a foreground app and specify an action or command to execute within the app.
Dynamically modify VCD phrase lists Learn how to access and update the list of supported phrases (PhraseList elements) in a VCD file using the speech recognition result at run time.
Activate a background app with voice commands In addition to using voice commands within Cortana to access system features, you can also extend Cortana with features and functionality from a background app using voice commands that specify an action or command to execute within the app.
Interact with a background app Learn how a user can interact with a background app through the Cortana voice and canvas during the execution of a voice command.
Deep link to a background app Provide deep links from the background app service in Cortana to launch the app to the foreground in a specific state or context.
Support natural language voice commands Learn how to extend Cortana with more flexible and natural voice commands, so a user can say your app's name anywhere in the command.


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