amazon alexa echo device

Alexa from Amazon – The Ultimate List of What Alexa Can Do

In Tech by Tony

Last updated on March 18th, 2019 at 02:26 am

Most likely you just got a new Amazon Echo device or you’re thinking of getting one since it looks like fun on those Amazon commercials you keep seeing. Below you’ll find our ultimate list of Amazon Alexa voice commands to get the fun started as well as other helpful things you can do with your Alexa powered devices.

What is Alexa

Amazon Alexa is virtual assistant software released back in 2014 by Amazon’s talented developers. The company now has over 10,000 employees working on Alexa and Alexa powered devices. Using your voice you can have Alexa provide helpful information like the current temperature outside, play music, answer questions and even “talk” with and control other smart devices in your home. Think of your Echo device as Alexa’s home.

She may even help you decide if you’re ready to have kids yet! As Reddit user, u/Peacemaker_58, says:

“You know you’re not emotionally ready to have children if you get upset and yell at Amazon Alexa when you have to ask it more than twice to turn off the lights.”

What Can You Do With an Amazon Echo

There’s actually quite a bit you can do with these little gadgets, and Amazon’s developers are actively working on new ways that we can use them further.

Use them as little speakers, to play games with, learn from and even for home automation. Keep reading to see what all can be done with Echo and Alexa.

Here’s a little known tip: Put your Echo into Whisper Mode. Handy for new parents trying to keep the little one fast asleep! Enable it in the mobile app under “Alexa Voice Commands” in the settings area.

Is Alexa Listening to Me?

Amazon does collect your conversations with Alexa. So anything after your wake-word, which is most likely “Alexa”, is saved on one of Amazon’s many, many cloud servers somewhere in the world. According to Amazon though, your Echo device and Alexa are not listening and recording until you use the wake command.

You can delete this data any time you’d like through the Alexa mobile app. Install the Amazon Alexa app on your phone and go to Settings, and then History, to access your conversations with Alexa.

second gen echo device

What to Ask Amazon Alexa and Helpful Voice Commands

Alexa Music Commands

If you’re like us you’ll be using Alexa quite often for playing and controlling your music. Here’s a few commands you’ll certainly be using.

  • “Alexa, play music”
  • “Alexa, open Spotify”
  • “Alexa, next song”
  • “Alexa, volume to 7”
  • “Alexa, volume 11” (LOUD!)
  • “Alexa, turn down volume”
  • “Alexa, play my New Wave playlist”
  • “Alexa, play Maneater by Hall and Oates”
  • “Alexa, play upbeat pop songs from the 90s”
  • “Alexa, play that song that goes…”
  • “Alexa, play top hits in Canada”
  • “Alexa, turn down the bass”
  • “Alexa, add this song to my driving playlist”
  • “Alexa, what’s playing”
  • “Alexa, stop”
  • “Alexa, mute”




 

Alexa Questions

Of course we could list thousands of different question combinations that you can ask Alexa, but instead of doing that here’s a few base question variations that should help you determine the sorts of things Alexa might understand. ( It just might take you a few extra tries if you’re Scottish though. 😉 )

  • “Alexa, where is the nearest doctor’s office”
  • “Alexa, who won the World Series in 1983”
  • “Alexa, will it be hot tomorrow”
  • “Alexa, what’s trending”
  • “Alexa, what’s the question of the day”
  • “Alexa, who has dish duty tonight”
  • “Alexa, tell me a random fact”
  • “Alexa, how to do you, ‘Hello’, in French”
  • “Alexa, how do you spell ___”
  • “Alexa, how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon”
  • “Alexa, what are the odds for the Super Bowl”
  • “Alexa, what are your deals today”
  • “Alexa, what is 13 times 13”
  • “Alexa, where is my stuff”


“Alexa, What’s the News?”

(Go to SETTINGS > FLASH BRIEFING to set a default News source for Alexa to use. Not sure what to use? Here’s a great list to choose from.)


Alexa Fun and Games

  • “Alexa, give me a tongue twister”
  • “Alexa, use the force”
  • “Alexa, let’s play Trivia Hero”
  • “Alexa, let’s play Jeopardy”
  • “Alexa, tell me a joke”
  • “Alexa, open Guess My Name”
  • “Alexa, never gonna give you up”
  • “Alexa, what is love”
  • “Alexa, surprise me”
  • “Alexa, open Heads Up”
  • “Alexa, rock, paper, scissors”
  • “Alexa, open Categories”
  • “Alexa, who you gonna call”
  • “Alexa, tell me a palindrome”
  • “Alexa, quiz me on TV show plots”
  • “Alexa, is this the real life”
  • “Alexa, open Hide and Seek”
  • “Alexa, auto tune for me”
  • “Alexa, open Freeze Dancers”
  • “Alexa, what do you want to be when you grow up”
  • “Alexa, where is Chuck Norris”
  • “Alexa, open Word Play”
  • “Alexa, open Escape the Room”
  • “Alexa, play Price Tag”

Want more games to play? Here’s our list of best games to play with Alexa.


Alexa Assistance and Productivity

  • “Alexa, set an alarm for tomorrow at eleven”
  • “Alexa, wake me up everyday at 6am to jazz music”
  • “Alexa, remind me in 3 hours that I have a meeting with John today”
  • “Alexa, set a timer for 15 minutes”
  • “Alexa, how much time is left on the timer”
  • “Alexa, read my Kindle”
  • “Alexa, read faster”
  • “Alexa, turn on the coffee maker”
  • “Alexa, remind me to change out my toothbrush in 90 days”
  • “Alexa, open sleep sounds”
  • “Alexa, what’s my commute to work look like”
  • “Alexa, watch Thursday Night Football”
  • “Alexa, add almond butter to my Whole Foods cart”
  • “Alexa, give me directions to the nearest Starbucks”
  • “Alexa, order more beef jerky”
  • “Alexa, how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon”
  • “Alexa, call Hannah on Skype”

“Alexa, Help Me Sleep”

(She should ask you what sort of noise or music you’d like to hear. You can tell her Yes or No until she finds something you’d like to play. If you’ve got relevant skills added – see below – she’ll have more options to present to you.)

Heads up, as Fast Company recently reported, you may be one of the chosen few who help Amazon with crowd-sourced answers to questions that Alexa gets asked frequently.


What Can I Use Alexa With?

Most people interact with Alexa through their Echo devices, she’s also part of Amazon’s mobile apps, and Alexa is even being integrated in newly built Lennar homes!

Control Alexa From Your Phone

Like we mentioned above, it’s as easy as downloading the iOS or Android version of the Alexa app for your phone.

Smart Home Automation

There’s home automation, like Cooking a burrito and then there’s real smart home automation like turning on lights, the tv, and opening blinds when you come home.

When it comes to home automation and Alexa, routines will be a major piece to bring it all together, which you can read more about further down below.

For the best automation experience you’ll want to look into a home smart hub to go along with your Alexa powered device. A smart hub will allow your Echo to “talk” with things like motion and window sensors, window blinds, garage doors and much more. 

An extremely popular smart hub is this one here from Samsung.

Or Amazon actually integrated a smart hub directly into the Echo Plus!

For those of you who aren’t quite ready to take the full plunge in, you can still start to experiment with some home automation with these cool smart plugs from Kasa or Amazon’s own line. Just plug in a lamp or a tv to it and you’ll be able to turn them on and off with an Alexa command. 


Home Entertainment

It was recently announced that electronics manufacturers/devs would now have another way for their products to integrate with Echo devices. A TV in low power or sleep mode could be woken up with the Alexa command for example.

small white amazon echo

Apps That Work With Alexa

Apps that work with Alexa will most likely be enabled via something Amazon calls, ‘Skills’. There is now over 50,000 different Skills that you can use!

How to Add Apps to Alexa

You can open the mobile app for Alexa and search for new skills to add to your account. You can even tell Alexa to learn a new skill. For example you can say, “Alexa, enable Uber” to download the skill needed for your Echo and the Uber app on your phone to work together.

Our List of Best Amazon Alexa Skills

Our compiled list of tried and true classic skills as well as a few newer skills that we think you should have Alexa learn.


  • Mastermind – Now a beloved skill that enables Alexa to read and send text messages, make phone calls, send emails and many other helpful things. This skill was built and is maintained by very knowledgeable and reactive developers.

  • Big Sky – Here’s another hugely popular Alexa skill for you weather bugs out there. It’s built on a very accurate system that tracks weather conditions down to your specific address. You can even ask things like, “what will the humidity level be at 2pm today”.

  • OurGroceries – Alexa can help you build your grocery list when this skill and the OurGroceries app on your phone syncs up.

  • Harry Potter Quiz – Now there’s an official Harry Pottery trivia game. You can return and play each day for more points.

  • The Vortex – Super fun interactive story with enjoyable characters and an engaging storyline.

  • Amazon Storytime – A highly reviewed skill for kids. An always changing rotation of children’s stories they can listen to when going to bed.

  • Recipe Remix – An audio guide that helps you cook up a tasty meal, where musicians play their music while you cook.

  • Song Quiz – Hear audio snippets from the past 60 years. You and friends will guess who the artists are for points. You can even play against other players from around the country!

  • Daily Stretch – A simple, yet useful skill where a yoga teacher guides you through important body stretches.

  • iRobot Home – Of course an iRobot product is required here but this skill will allow you to control your vacuum by telling it to start cleaning, schedule it to start on it’s own, and on newer iRobot devices you can even tell it specific rooms to clean!

  • Mommy-Gram – A great way for families to communicate. Kids (and Adults too of course) can speak directly to Alexa and it’s sent to the recipient of choice as a text message.

  • Escape the Room – Escape rooms have certainly taken off in popularity over the last few years, so it’s not surprising that there’s an Alexa version. Listen for clues and tell Alexa which actions to take.

  • Kid’s Court – Let her help settle disputes between your children using the laws of the US judicial system.

  • Ambient Visuals: Flight Simulator – For those of you with a newer Echo Show you can play this for soothing hum of an airplane complete with video of the sky and clouds.

  • Chop Chop – Another skill where an Echo Show is needed. Alexa will show you how to properly chop up different fruits and veggies.

  • Curiosity – Fun, easy way to learn about new topics. Every time you ask her to open this skill she’ll ask you to choose from two random topics.

  • Guided Meditation – This particular app has been downloaded over 2 million times on the app store for mobile devices. Now it’s available for Alexa to learn as well. Start the day off right with proper breathing and stretching exercises.

  • Earplay – A very enjoyable skill that throws you back into the days of old time radio dramas. But now you have control of how the story unfolds!

  • Find My Phone – Now you can tell Alexa to find your missing phone and she will call it.

  • Get Me Up – Just not feeling like getting out of bed today? Tell Alexa and she’ll help you out.

Fun Things You Can Do With Alexa

Turn her into Billy the Talking Bass

Turn her into a Furby.

Smart mirrors have been popular in the maker community for quite some time now and this guy did an amazing smart mirror build that’s powered by Alexa! Watch his walkthrough here on Youtube:

 

Amazon Alexa Routines

If you find yourself giving her the same commands over and over (and you will!) or have to tell her multiple commands to accomplish one goal then Routines is a feature that you’ll really find useful. This basically means you can tell her less and to get more done.

If you’re ready to get started open your Alexa app on your phone, go to MENU, and choose ROUTINES from the menu.

Now hit the “+” symbol and you can create a new routine. You could enter “Alexa, top of the morning” for example, and then enter in what she does next.

(Now more recently you can set up a routine to be triggered by an Echo Button as well.)

Here’s a few routine ideas that you can try today:

  • Wind down: Lights dimmed 50%, jazz music plays at low volume
  • Goodnight: Turn bedroom lights and TV off, Sleep and Relaxation Skill turns on
  • Wake Up: bedroom lights on, morning news briefing, Wake Up playlist begins
  • Good Morning: bedroom lights on at 50%, morning news briefing, local weather forecast and then your next calendar event coming up

And with a recent update you can add wait and stop actions to your routines.

And coming soon, it’s Amazon Echo Silver! 😉


If all this Alexa and Echo talk has got you thinking about getting yourself or your family an Echo or two for the home, check them out for sale right here on Amazon.

About Tony

TonyTony is a native of Florida living in Dallas with his wife and small Chiweenie named Noli.

He's managed client PPC and content campaigns for over four years now and after seeing how impactful helpful, fun content has been for his clients and their readers, he decided to take on the role of content marketing director for dwelling trends.

He loves doing the research for content pieces here and hopes our awesome readers find value and enjoy reading them.