While Google Home is quickly expanding its library of commands, the reality is that Alexa remains the most robust digital assistant when it comes to smart speakers. 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 how the weather is. However, there are a ton of commands you might not realize exist. With that in mind, we’ve gathered up the best Alexa commands 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 it here from Amazon for just $50.
Waking up Alexa
First, it’s important to note that summoning Alexa can be done in a number of ways with Echo devices. 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).
Alexa news and weather commands
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 tomorrow, this weekend, etc, with Echo 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?” Those who have an Echo Show can even get a visual representation of the weather forecast or video Flash Briefings.
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Asking the time, setting alarms, etc
The Echo family make for excellent alarm clocks. Setting an alarm is dead simple. Just say “Alexa, set an alarm for 6am,” or “Alexa, 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 6am.”
It’s also possible to set music alarms by saying something like “Alexa, wake me up to rap music at 6am,” or “Alexa, wake me up to Jason Mraz at 9am.”
Timers are another great feature. “Alexa, set a timer for 20 minutes.” “Alexa, set a second timer for 5 minutes.” “Alexa, how much time is left on my timer?” Surprisingly I love using Alexa as a clock by simply asking it “Alexa, what time is it?”
Another great feature offered by Alexa is the ability to manage your calendar. You can say things like “Alexa, what’s on my calendar for tomorrow?” or “Alexa, add an event to my calendar”. If you have an Echo Show, you can even say “Alexa, show me my calendar.”
Additional time-related Alexa commands:
- “Alexa, when’s my next alarm?”
- “Alexa, what’s the date?”
- “Alexa, when is Thanksgiving this year?”
- “Alexa, cancel my alarm.”
- ”Alexa, snooze.”
Alexa media commands
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. Supported music services include Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, SiriusXM and more.
“Alexa, play some music.” This command randomly plays music through Amazon’s music services. You can also specify songs or artists with commands like “Alexa, play music by [artist],” “Alexa, play the 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? Just say “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.
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Music app specific Echo 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.”
Those who own an Amazon Fire TV device can also use Alexa to control it. Simply say things like “Alexa, search for Pan’s Labyrinth on Fire TV,” or “Alexa, show me movies with Angelina Jolie on Fire TV.” Those who own a Fire TV edition television can go as far as turning it on or off, change inputs, and more.
Additional music Alexa commands:
- “Alexa, what’s playing?”
- “Alexa, stop playing in 20 minutes.”
- “Alexa, play the song of the day.”
- “Alexa. play [genre] music.”
Alexa commands for audiobooks
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.”
Read next: 10 best reading apps for Android
Entertainment and eating out Alexa commands
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 Alexa commands that we know of:
- “Alexa, what movies are playing?”
- “Alexa, tell me about the movie [whatever it’s called].”
- “Alexa, what is the Imbd 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 Alexa 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 Alexa 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.”
Calls and messages
Alexa-powered devices usually come with at least a microphone and speakers, so it comes as no surprise you can use it as a communications device. For starters, you can play messages across your home’s Echo devices by saying something like “Alexa, announce that it’s bed time,” or “Alexa, announce it’s time to wake up for school.”
Announcements are nice, but sometimes you need the flow of a conversation to get things across. You can also call other Alexa devices by saying “Alexa, call [name],” or send a message by saying “Alexa, send a message to [name].” It’s also possible to send SMS messages and drop in on other Alexa devices (given the other user has given you permission to do so).
Alexa sports commands
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 Alexa commands include:
- “Alexa, when do the [team] play next?”
- “Alexa, what was the score of the [team] game?”
- “Alexa, did [team] win?”
Alexa shopping and to-do lists commands
Alexa can be great for creating to-do and shopping lists.
- “Alexa, create 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. It won’t be as powerful as Google Assistant, which uses Google’s knowledge graph, but Alexa does pretty well with general information.
Looking for more detailed information? Alexa also has Wikipedia integrated out of the box. Just say “Alexa, Wikipedia: [subject],” and it will give you some brief info, but you can hear even more by saying “Alexa, tell me more.”
It won't be as powerful as Google Assistant, which uses Google's knowledge graph, but Alexa does pretty well with general information.
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 is also great if you need to know the definition of a word (“Alexa, what’s the definition of [word]?”) or how to spell it (“Alexa, how do you spell [word]?”).
Alexa purchasing commands
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.”
It’s also possible to 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 Alexa 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].
- “Alexa, buy this song” (while listening to music).
- “Alexa, what are your deals?.”
Smart home Alexa commands
Easily one of the coolest and high-tech tricks up Alexa’s sleeve is the ability to control your smart home products. Alexa can be used to turn off lights, adjust temperatures, and much more. Obviously, third party accessories like smart plugs, smart light bulbs, 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 Alexa commands here include:
- “Alexa turn on (or off) lights.”
- “Alexa, dim lights to 40 percent.”
- “Alexa, set the temperature to 73.”
- “Alexa, lock my front door.”
The full list of ‘smart home’ Echo commands is obviously much more extensive than this, and varies depending on the products being used.
That’s really just scratching the surface 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. These skills can do anything — from adding specific support for smart products and to giving you the power to look up recipes.
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.
Read next: 10 best skills and apps for Alexa!
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 Echo 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, roll a die.”
- “Alexa, flip a coin.”
- “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 Alexa commands. Admittedly, we call this a “full list”, but there are so many new commands being added every day that odds are we’ve missed some. These are the most popular, though, and we’ll continue to add more to the list as we discover them.
Any epic Echo commands we missed? Let us know down in the comments.