- You can use Alexa commands to play music, control the weather, order food, and even turn on your lights.
- Before giving a command, say “the password” – by default it’s just “Alexa”.
- Alexa has dozens of different commands, but some are only available on certain devices.
- Visit the Insiders Tech Reference Library for more stories.
While it may just look like a lump of plastic, the Amazon Echo – and the Alexa assistant inside it – can be quite useful. But to get the most out of your echo, you need to know how to talk to Alexa.
If you are new to Alexa or just want a basic account of what the digital assistant can do, here is a list of the most common and useful commands.
The important Alexa commands
Before you can use any of these commands, you need to wake up Alexa with the “password”. By default, the word is just “Alexa” – so if you e.g. Want to turn up the volume, say “Alexa, volume up”.
You can change the password using the Alexa app on your smartphone.
Volume and pause
Alexa, stop: This stops no matter what activity Alexa is performing.
Alexa, pause / resume: Some activities, e.g. Music playback can be paused and resumed later.
Alexa, mute / unmute: This mutes or disables the sound that Alexa plays.
Alexa, higher / softer; set the volume to six; turn down the volume: You can change the volume of your Amazon Echos in different ways.
Timers and alarms
Alexa, set one hour timer: Creates a simple timer. You can set it at any time.
Alexa, cancel the timer in one hour: Cancels the timer before it finishes.
Alexa, set a 10-minute timer and name it “egg”: Useful for situations such as cooking in the kitchen, where you may need several hours at once – naming them makes it easy to distinguish them from each other.
Alexa, how much time is left: Alexa will report how much time is left on each hour currently running. You can also check a specific timer by saying something like “Alexa, how much time is left on the” egg “timer?”
Alexa, set an alarm for 8am: You can quickly set an alarm. If you do not specify am or pm, Alexa will ask you to clarify.
Alexa, wake me up every day at 6 for music: This creates a recurring alarm clock with a random selection of music.
Alexa, stop: When a timer or alarm goes off, say this to stop it.
Alexa, how do you spell [word]?: Ask Alexa to spell a word for you.
Alexa, how do you cook an egg ?: Alexa can answer all sorts of questions about general interest, cooking and trivia for you.
Alexa, how many ounces are there in a cup: You can convert quantities between two sets of units – feet to meters, pounds to kilograms and so on. You can also request specific conversions, e.g. “How many grams are in 10 ounces?”
Alexa, what is 15% of 400 ?: You can ask for help with common math problems.
Alexa, roll an eight-sided door: You can use Alexa as a substitute for dice or just to generate a random number. You can request any double-sided matrix, including those that could not possibly exist (Alexa, roll a 10,000-sided door. “)
Alexa, flip a coin: Gets heads or tails.
News and weather
Alexa, play Flash Briefing: This plays a curated news story that you can customize in the Alexa app settings.
Alexa, play the news: If you specify a news source in Alexa’s settings, you can hear a longer news report.
Alexa, what’s the weather ?: Hear a weather forecast. You can also request the weather at a specific time, e.g. “This weekend” or a specific place.
Alexa, what is the traffic / what is my commute ?: Get traffic information between the homes and workplaces you have specified in the Alexa app.
Alexa, play some music: Alexa starts streaming music from the default music source specified in the Alexa app.
Alexa, play / pause / restart / skip: You can control your music playback by asking Alexa for almost any media control command.
Alexa, games [artist name/album title]: You can ask Alexa to play a particular artist or say “play the album [album name] to hear the specific record. You can also specify which device to play on, e.g. “Alexa, play The Beatles in the kitchen.”
Alexa, games [selection] on [music service]: The combinations are almost limitless. You could ask Alexa to play an artist on Spotify, a playlist on Pandora, a radio station on TuneIn, or an audiobook or podcast on Audible, for example.
Alexa, what song is playing?: You can find the name of a song if you are currently playing a track through Amazon Music.
Purchasing and purchasing
Alexa, follow my order / where are my things: Find out the status of any open Amazon orders.
Alexa, add olive oil to my cart: You can add items to your Amazon shopping cart. Alexa can ask for more details to select a specific product.
Alexa, what are your offers ?: Ask for today’s list of the best Amazon deals.
Alexa, buy this song / buy this album: If you listen to Amazon Music, you can immediately buy the music you are listening to.
Echo show commands
Only Amazon Echo Show owners can use these commands.
Alexa, show me my calendar: Displays your meetings and appointments in the calendar you have linked to the Alexa app.
Alexa, show me my pictures: Displays photos from your personal photo library.
Alexa, show me pictures of dogs: You can ask Alexa to find photos of any topic and it will download them from the internet.
Alexa, show me a recipe for apple cider vinegar: Alexa can find and display recipes from the Internet.
Alexa, show me cat videos on YouTube: You can not ask Alexa to find a particular video, but you can ask Alexa to search for videos by topic or topic.