Cortana interactions in Windows apps


This feature is no longer supported as of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004, codename "20H1").

See Cortana in Microsoft 365 for how Cortana is transforming modern productivity experiences.

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

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. Generally, 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.


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

Other speech and conversation components

Speech, voice, and conversation in Windows 10

See Speech, voice, and conversation in Windows 10 for information on how the various Windows development frameworks provide speech recognition, speech synthesis, and conversation support for developers building Windows applications.

Cortana Skills Kit

See the Cortana Skills Kit if you want to extend Cortana by adding your own skills that enable users to interact with your service via Cortana. [Deprecation notice: As part of our goal to transform the modern productivity experiences by embedding Cortana deeply into Microsoft 365, we are retiring the Cortana skills kit for Consumer (the developer platform) and all skills built on this platform.]