- You can use Alexa commands to play music, check the weather, order food, and even turn on your lights.
- Before giving a command, you need to say the “wake word” – by default, it’s just “Alexa.”
- Alexa has dozens of different commands, but some are only available on certain devices.
- Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.
While it might just look like a chunk of plastic, the Amazon Echo – and the Alexa assistant inside of it – can be pretty useful. But to get the most value out of your Echo, you need to know how to talk to Alexa.
If you’re new to Alexa or just want a primer on what the digital assistant can do, here’s a roundup of the most common and useful commands.
The essential Alexa commands
Before you can use any of these commands, you need to wake Alexa with the “wake word.” By default the word is just “Alexa” – so if you want to turn up the volume for example, you’ll say “Alexa, volume up.”
You can change the wake word using the Alexa app on your smartphone.
Volume and pausing
Alexa, stop: This stops whatever activity Alexa’s performing.
Alexa, pause/continue: Some activities, like playing music, can be paused and resumed later.
Alexa, mute/unmute: This mutes or unmutes whatever audio Alexa is playing.
Alexa, louder/softer; set the volume to six; turn down the volume: You can change your Amazon Echo’s volume in a variety of ways.
Timers and alarms
Alexa, set a one-hour timer: Creates a simple timer. You can set it for any amount of time.
Alexa, cancel the one-hour timer: Cancels the timer before it’s complete.
Alexa, set a 10-minute timer and name it “eggs”: Useful for situations like cooking in the kitchen, when you might need several timers at once – naming them makes it easy to tell them apart.
Alexa, how much time is left: Alexa will report how much time is left on each timer that’s currently running. You can also check on a specific timer by saying something like “Alexa, how much time is left on the ‘eggs’ timer?”
Alexa, set an alarm for 8 a.m.: You can quickly set an alarm. If you don’t specify a.m. or p.m., Alexa will ask you to clarify.
Alexa, wake me every day at 6 a.m. to music: This sets up a recurring alarm clock with a random selection of music.
Alexa, stop: Once 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 boil an egg?: Alexa can answer all sorts of general interest, cooking, and trivia questions for you.
Alexa, how many ounces are in a cup: You can convert quantities between any two sets of units – feet to meters, pounds to kilograms, and so on. You can also ask for specific conversions, like “How many grams are in 10 ounces (283.50g)?”
Alexa, what’s 15% of 400?: You can ask for help with common math problems.
Alexa, roll an eight-sided die: You can use Alexa as a replacement for dice or just to generate a random number. You can ask for any sided die, including ones that couldn’t possibly exist (Alexa, roll a 10,000-sided die.”)
Alexa, flip a coin: Gets heads or tails.
News and weather
Alexa, play the Flash Briefing: This plays a curated news summary you can customize in the Alexa app’s settings.
Alexa, play the news: If you specify a news source in Alexa’s settings, you can hear a longer-form news report.
Alexa, what’s the weather?: Hear a weather report. You can also ask for the weather at a specific time, like “this weekend,” or for a certain location.
Alexa, what’s the traffic/what’s my commute?: Get traffic information between the home and work locations you’ve 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 almost any media control command.
Alexa, play [artist name/album title]: You can ask Alexa to play a specific artist or say “play the album [album name] to hear that specific record. You can also specify which device to play it on, like “Alexa, play The Beatles in the kitchen.”
Alexa, play [selection] on [music service]: The combinations are almost limitless. You can 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 out the name of a song if you’re currently playing a track via Amazon Music.
Shopping and purchases
Alexa, track my order/where’s my stuff: 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 may ask for more details to choose a specific product.
Alexa, what are your deals?: Ask for today’s list of top Amazon deals.
Alexa, buy this song/buy this album: If you’re listening to Amazon Music, you can instantly buy the music you’re 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 whatever calendar you’ve connected to the Alexa app.
Alexa, show me my photos: Displays photos from your personal photo library.
Alexa, show me pictures of dogs: You can ask Alexa to find photos of any subject and it will fetch them from the web.
Alexa, show me a recipe for apple cobbler: Alexa can find and display recipes from the web.
Alexa, show me cat videos on YouTube: You can’t ask Alexa to find a specific video, but you can ask Alexa to search for videos by topic or subject.