While Google Home is quickly expanding its library of commands, the reality is that Alexa still remains the most robust digital assistant when it comes to smart speakers — at least for now. Alexa is a powerful assistant that is capable of fetching all sorts of information for you, but the trick is knowing all the commands you can ask it.
Some of the Amazon Echo commands are pretty straight-forward like asking it “What’s the weather”. However, there are a ton of additional commands that you might not even realize exist. With that in mind we’ve gathered up all the Alexa commands (that we’re aware of) in one place.
Editor’s note: Looking to dive into the world of smart assistants and don’t have one already? We highly recommend the Amazon Echo Dot for its affordable pricing and flexibility. You can get here from Amazon for just $40.
Starting with the basics
First, it’s important to note that summoning Alexa can be done a number of ways with the Echo and Echo Dot. The default wake word is “Alexa”, but other optional wake words can be set in its place. Currently the alternative wake words are Echo, Amazon, or Computer.
Okay, now you have her listening. So what’s next? The most basic commands are “Alexa, help”, “Alexa, mute”, “Alexa, unmute”, Alexa, stop”, and “Alexa, set volume to 6”. There are also some variations of these that Alexa understands including telling Alexa to shut the **** up… not that I’ve ever done that before (Okay, I have).
News and weather
Alexa has the option of conducting Flash Briefings with the command “Alexa, what’s my flash briefing”. You can also ask it “Alexa, what’s the news”, “Alexa, what’s the weather”, and so forth.
Want an extended forecast? You can ask Alexa about tommorow, this weekend, etc, with commands like “Alexa, what’s the weather going to be like this weekend?”
For those looking for traffic information, you can also ask Alexa, “What’s the traffic like?”
Asking the time, setting alarms, etc
The Echo family make for excellent alarm clocks. Setting an alarm is dead simple, just ask “Alexa, set an alarm for 6am” or “Wake me up in 3 hours”, etc. You can even ask it to set a repeating alarm by saying, “Alexa, set a repeating alarm for weekdays at 6 a.m.”
Timers are another great feature. “Alexa, set a timer for 20 minutes”. “Alexa, set a second timer for 5 minutes”. “Alexa, how much time left on my timer?”
Surprisingly I love using Alexa as a clock by simply asking it, “Alexa, what time is it?”
Additional time related commands are:
- “Alexa, when’s my next alarm?”
- “Alexa, what’s the date?”
- “Alexa, cancel by alarm”
- ”Alexa, snooze”
For many, their Amazon Echo will most dominantly be used for playing music, and the good news is that Alexa supports quite a few music services and commands right out of the box.
Here’s a list of media-related commands:
“Alexa, play some music.” – this command randomly plays some music through Amazon’s music services. You can also specify songs or artists with commands like “Alexa, play music by [artist],” “Alexa, play latest Drake album”, or “Alexa, play Lose Yourself by Eminem”. You can also go to the next song with “Alexa, next” or restart the song at any time with “Alexa, restart”.
You can even add songs to Spotify or Amazon Prime music libraries by telling Alexa to “add this song”.
Not sure what the song you want to listen to is called? You can even say stuff like “Alexa, play that song that says ‘I would have stayed up with you all night’ — and it’ll play “How to Save a Life” by the Fray.
Music app specific commands for Spotify and Pandora are as follows: “Alexa, play [song] on Spotify” and “Alexa, play [artist] station on Pandora.” TuneIn can be fetched by saying: “Alexa, play [radio station] on TuneIn.”
You can like or dislike songs on services like Pandora and iHeartRadio by saying “Alexa, I like this song” or “Alexa, thumbs down”.
Additional music commands include the following:
- Song info: “Alexa, what’s playing?”
- Set a timer: “Alexa, stop playing in 20 minutes.”
Playing audiobooks: “Alexa, play [title] on Audible,” “Alexa, read [title]” or, “Alexa, play the book, [title].” You can also ask it to resume by saying “Alexa, resume my book”. Other commands include “Alexa, next chapter” and “Alexa, previous chapter”.
Audible isn’t the only option. You can also ask Alexa to read you a Kindle Book with “Alexa, read me a Kindle book”.
Entertainment and eating out
Amazon Echo commands works great for finding information about movies, actors, and what’s playing. It’s also pretty useful for finding out about local restaurants.
First, here’s all the movie/show related commands that we know of:
- “Alexa, what movies are playing?”
- “Alexa, tell me about the movie [whatever it’s called]”
- “Alexa, what is the IMDb rating for [show/movie]?”
- “Alexa, who plays in [show/movie]?”
- “Alexa, what is [actor]’s latest movie?”
- “Alexa, who plays [character] in [movie or TV show]?”
Here are the commands relating to music:
- “Who sings the song [title]?”
- “What year did [band] release [song or album]?”
- “Who is in the band [name]?”
- “Alexa, what’s popular from [artist]?”
- “Alexa, sample songs by [artist].”
And finally the commands related to restaurants and businesses:
- “Alexa, find me a nearby [food type] restaurant.”
- “Alexa, what restaurants are near me?”
- “Alexa, find the address for Target”
- “Alexa, find business hours for Walgreens.”
There are a number of different sports commands including getting a briefing on all the latest happenings in the world of sports by saying, “Alexa, give me my Sports Update.”
Other sports commands include:
- “Alexa, when do the [team] play next?”
- “Alexa, what was the score of the [team] game?”
- “Alexa, did [team] win?”
Shopping lists and to-do lists
Alexa can be great for creating to-do and shopping lists as well. Here’s the commands related to this:
- “Alexa, creat a to-do list”
- “Alexa, add ‘buy food for guinea pig’ to my to-do list”
- “Alexa, add milk to my shopping list”
- ”Alexa, what’s on my shopping list?”
- “Alexa, I need to make an appointment to see the vet”
- “Alexa, what’s on my calendar for tomorrow?”
- “Alexa, add [event] to my calendar for [time/date]”
Asking questions and general information
You can ask Alexa a ton of general questions like “How hot is the sun”, “How far is Mercury from Earth”, and so on. You can also ask it how many people live in certain towns or countries, and so forth.
Looking for more detailed information? Alexa also has Wikipedia integrated out of the box, just say “Alexa, Wikipedia: [subject].” It will give your some brief info, but you can hear even more by saying “Alexa, tell me more”.
Not only does it know basic questions about science, geography, trivia, and more, but it’s also useful for math questions. Converting units is easy enough with a command like “Alexa, how many tablespoons in a cup”. You can also ask it “Alexa, what’s 10 times 6”, and so on.
Alexa also is great if you need to know the definiton of a word (“Alexa, what’s the definition of [word]?”) or how to spell it (“Alexa, how do you spell [word]?”).
It wouldn’t be an Amazon product if there wasn’t some way to sneak in the e-tailers main business into the deal, right? The Echo family has the ability to track packages from Amazon (Alexa, track my order), or even re-order items like shampoo, with the command “Alexa, buy more shampoo”.
You can also add things to your shopping cart with “Alexa, add [item] to shopping cart” — from there you can just load up your phone or tablet and complete the checkout.
Other purchasing and service related commands are:
- “Alexa, order an Echo”
- “Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride” or “Alexa, ask Lyft for a ride”
- “Alexa, shop for new music by [artist]
Easily one of the coolest and high-tech tricks up Alexa’s sleeve is the ability to control your home. Alexa can be used to turn off lights, adjust temperatures, and so much more. Obviously 3rd party accessories like smart plugs, smart lightbulbs, smart hubs, and smart thermostats are required to make this happen.
The cost of investing in these smart add-ons varies considerably. For example, I bought a smart plug for our Christmas tree so I could turn it on and off without reaching behind the couch each time. This was a $25 purchase, on top of the $40 cost of my Echo Dot of course.
Some of the basic commands here include:
- “Alexa turn on (or off) lights”
- “Alexa, dim lights to 40 percent”
- “Alexa, set temp to 73”
- “Alexa, lock my front door”
The full list of ‘smart home’ commands is obviously much more extensive than this, and varies depending on the products being used.
That’s really just scratching the service on what Alexa can do
Alexa can do a ton out of the box but what really makes it shine is the ability to add extra skills to the mix. This skills can do anything from adding specific support for smart products or giving you the power to look up recipes or find out the balance on your Capital One card.
Some of my favorite skills also include Glad Leftovers (Alexa, talk to Glad Leftovers) which lets you tell Alexa what leftovers you added into the fridge, freezer, or pantry — and on what dates. This is super useful for those who have that leftover chicken casserole in the fridge and can’t remember if it’s two days old… or two weeks.
There’s also plenty of fun extras like Magic 8-Ball, 20 questions, a bartender skill that tells you how to make your favorite drinks, and more.
Fun easter eggs
If you are just looking to mess around, there’s a ton of commands here that Alexa will recognize. Here’s just some of the ones we’ve encountered:
- “Alexa, good morning.”
- ”Alexa, how are you?”
- ”Alexa, beam me up.”
- ”Alexa, tell me a joke.”
- “Alexa, party time!”
- ”Alexa, tell me a riddle.”
- “Alexa, are you SkyNet?”
- “Alexa, nice to see you, to see you…”
- ”Alexa, would you like to play a game?”
- “Alexa, what’s the first rule of Fight Club?”
- “Alexa, will you marry me?”
- “Alexa, open the pod bay doors.”
- “Alexa, when am I going to die?”
- ”Alexa, do you think I’m sexy?”
- ”Alexa, where is Waldo?”
- ”Alexa, where in the world is Carmen San Diego?”
- “Alexa, surely you can’t be serious.”
- “Alexa, don’t mention the war.”
- “Alexa, show me the money.”
- “Alexa, set phasers to kill.”
- ”Alexa, I want the truth.”
- “Alexa, my name is Inigo Montoya.”
- “Alexa, party on, Wayne.”
- “Alexa, what is your quest?”
- “Alexa, what is your cunning plan?”
- “Alexa, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”
And so ends our list of Amazon Echo and Alexa commands. Admittedly we call this a “full list” but there are so many new commands being added everyday that odds are we’ve missed at least a few. These are the most popular though and we’ll continue to add more to the list as we discover them.
Amazon Echo Dot – who is it for, should you buy it?
Any epic commands we missed? Let us know down in the comments. Looking for some of the more obscure skills and commands? Check out five of our favorite random Alexa voice commands here.