The Complete Guide to Alexa Commands

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Even if you’re not an Amazon aficionado, you’ve probably heard of the company’s virtual assistant, Alexa. Originally developed for the Amazon Echo and Amazon Tap gadgets, which can stream music, provide information and even serve as Wi-Fi hubs, Alexa is similar to Apple’s helper, Siri, because she listens to your commands and responds accordingly.

Alexa Evolved

Even though Alexa originated at Amazon, she’s demonstrated an impressive amount of versatility. Big names ranging from Whirlpool to BMW have announced they have technology that’s compatible with Alexa.

At the CES 2017 conference, Alexa created a huge stir because it was there she demonstrated compatibility on the Android platform, a direct competitor for Alexa. Also, in the middle of last year, the Lexa Android app popped up and allowed people to interact with Alexa on their mobile devices, almost like they would if they used Alexa with Amazon devices at home.

Clearly, Alexa is poised to make a huge impact on our lives. Keep reading to get a thorough overview of numerous ways you can command her to make your life easier.

Basic Alexa Commands

Waking up Alexa from a sleep mode is easy. Just call her name. If you need assistance with something, say, “Alexa, help.”

There may also be times when you need to turn Alexa off abruptly, or change the volume level, such as if you unexpectedly receive an important phone call. Stop or pause Alexa by saying, “Alexa, shut up,” or, “Alexa, stop.”

If you just need to adjust the volume of her voice, do that in several ways:

  • Alexa, set volume to [specific number indicating loudness].
  • Alexa, louder.
  • Alexa, turn up/down the volume.

You can also quickly mute or unmute her by saying, “Alexa, mute/unmute.”

alexa for productivity

Music Alexa Commands

Alexa can do more than 3,000 things, but a survey of frequent users revealed when users take advantage of certain commands more than once, they most often ask her to help them do things related to music.

Fill your home with sweet sounds with the “Alexa, play some music” command. If you know precisely which artist or album you want to hear, add context with, “Alexa, play music by Prince,” or, “Alexa, play the latest Adele album” and so on.

Alexa can even lend a hand if you can recall some lyrics, but don’t know the exact song title. If you said, “Alexa, play that song that goes, ‘But it was not your fault but mind, and it was your heart on the line’,” she would then know to play “Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Sons.

When you hear a streamed song in Amazon Music you just can’t wait to own, purchase it with the “Alexa, buy this song” command. If you’re so impressed by that track you want the artist’s whole album, say, “Alexa, buy this album.” Furthermore, once you’re ready to take a music-centric shopping spree but aren’t sure if the newest album from your favorite singer came out yet, depend on the “Alexa, shop for new music by [artist]” command.

Alexa Commands for Daily Life

Alexa gives Flash Briefings, your quick overview of the day’s news, delivered by top broadcasters from the likes of NPR and the BBC. She also delivers meteorological details courtesy of AccuWeather.

Receive the full details of your Flash Briefing by saying, “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?” Otherwise, hear about the most pressing newsworthy matters by asking, “Alexa, what’s in the headlines?

There are also various ways to request weather and traffic details. Find out the current weather and the day’s outlook with:

  • Alexa, what’s the weather like?
  • Alexa, will I need an umbrella today?
  • Alexa, will it rain today?

Then, determine if you might need to leave earlier than planned due to excessive traffic by asking the question, “Alexa, what’s my commute look like?” or, “Alexa, what’s traffic like?”

If you’ve got big plans for the end of the week and want to know if weather might put a damper on things, there’s an Alexa command for that, too. Simply ask, “Alexa, what’s the weather going to be like this weekend?”



Alexa Shopping Commands

Whether you love shopping or hate it, Alexa can help you buy necessities with fewer hassles, helping you save time and free up your schedule for other things. She may make it possible to save money, too. Amazon has offered deals exclusively for Alexa users. The company notably took that approach to celebrate Black Friday.

Alexa makes shopping through Amazon as straightforward as speaking, thanks to commands including:

  • Alexa, buy more [type of product you’ve purchased before].
  • Alexa, add [item] to my cart.

Also, find out if you can save via one of Amazon’s special offers by inquiring, “Alexa, what are your deals?” Create a shopping list with, “Alexa, I need to buy [item],” or by saying, “Alexa, add [product] to my shopping list.” Then, check the contents of your shopping by asking, “Alexa, what’s on my shopping list?”

Ready to order a new Alexa-compatible Amazon device? Move forward with your purchase by saying, “Alexa, order an [Amazon Echo or Amazon Tap].”

If you’re concerned it’s taking longer than usual to receive items from Amazon, getting a status update on your purchases is easy. Just say, “Alexa, track my order” or, “Alexa, where’s my stuff?”

Alexa Commands for a Night Out

Time spent out on the town is supposed to be fun, but it doesn’t always work out that way. You may have trouble getting a ride, or it might turn out that someone who’ll be accompanying you for the evening wants Thai food and you don’t know how to find the nearest Thai restaurant.

Once you’ve paired Alexa with your Uber app, state, “Alexa, ask Uber for a ride.” You can even get more specific with your ride request by mentioning, “Alexa, ask Uber to order an UberBlack.” Alexa’s ride-requesting skills also extend to Lyft. “Alexa, ask Lyft to call a ride” is the most basic of those commands, but there are numerous others that allow you to do things like rank your driver’s service or specify how much to give for a tip.

Learn more about restaurants in your neighborhood by asking, “Alexa, find me a nearby pizza place.” Then, discover how late the dining establishment is open by saying, “Alexa, find business hours for [name of restaurant].” That command also is interchangeable with addresses and phone numbers.

Not sure which flicks might strike your fancy at the cinema? Get more informed by raising the question, “Alexa, what movies are playing?” Alternatively, specify your statement with, “Alexa, what comedy movies are playing tonight?”

A Look at More of Alexa’s Skills

We’ve just covered Alexa’s abilities that people call upon most often, but she can do even more. Ask her to look up information on Wikipedia, tell you which actor played in a movie or whether a certain musician was part of a band in the 80s.

She also integrates with certain “smart” appliances around your home. But, she’s not all business and will also respond to “Alexa, tell me a joke,” or she can showcase Magic 8 Ball-like insight via the Crystal Ball skill.

You’re now well equipped to get the most out of Alexa. Just keep in mind she’s a cloud-based technology, meaning her abilities automatically update — and expand frequently. Because of that, the list of things she could help you with may seem endless.

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Kayla Matthews is the editor of Productivity Bytes and a regular contributor to VentureBeat, Motherboard, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts.