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Microsoft Outlook on iOS adds voice dictation for emails, searches, and calendar invitations

Since 2019, Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana lets you listen to emails that arrive in your Outlook mobile inbox. Almost two years later, Microsoft is making voice a much more important part of the Outlook experience. Starting with the iOS version of the software (with Android to follow), you can use your voice to dictate emails, schedule meetings, and perform research.

To access new Outlook features, tap the plus icon floating above the app’s main navigation bar, then tap the “Use voice” prompt. You can ask Cortana things like “When’s my next team meeting?” Or for more complex requests like “Set up a meeting with Jill and her team for next Monday regarding the Q1 budget.” When planning an event, you can also ask the assistant to add specific people to the invitation. It’s even possible to use Cortana to add attachments to your emails, and the text-to-speech tool lets you both reply to emails and write new ones.

Microsoft’s Graph tool powers much of the functionality, which provides the assistant with context when needed. This information allows Cortana to do things like spell out the names of your coworkers correctly when you mention them in an email.

As The edge points out, today’s announcement aligns with Microsoft’s broader desire to reframe Cortana as a productivity assistant instead of a competitor to Alexa and Google Assistant. To that end, the company recently ditched the Cortana iOS and Android apps.


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