Best Alexa commands to get started with your Amazon Echo

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You’ve just unboxed a brand new Amazon Echo product, and Alexa is now at your beck and call — but what do you ask? You’ve likely already asked for the weather a few times, maybe even for a news update or your favorite musician, but now what? We’re prepared to answer that question for you and show you just how much your new assistant can do with our list of the best Alexa commands. Once you’ve learned the essentials here, pop over to our best Alexa easter eggs list to see what other secrets lay within.

News and weather

Alexa in a storm
Composite photo with images by Moritz Böing and Amazon

Alexa is a great way to obtain information about the world around you, whether you want to know the conditions outside or what’s happening on the other side of the globe. Check out these commands for interacting with Alexa’s news and weather features. If you need to set information for your current location or commute, you can do so in the Alexa app.

  • Ask for the current weather: “Alexa, what is the weather?” Or, “Alexa, will it rain today?”
  • Ask for future weather: “Alexa, what will the weather be on [date]?”
  • Ask for the news: “Alexa, what’s the news?” Or, “Alexa, what’s my flash briefing?”
  • Ask for the traffic: “Alexa, what’s the traffic?” Or, “Alexa, what does my commute look like?”

Email and calendar

Best Alexa commands to get started with your Amazon Echo 1

Want to stay on top of your email and calendar events? Thanks to Alexa, you can check for new messages, view calendar events, and create new events all with your voice. Be sure to begin by setting up calendar or email information in your Alexa app. Go to Settings > Email and Calendar. Now, let’s get down to productivity.

  • Ask for your email: “Alexa, check my email.”
  • Ask for an email from a specific person: “Alexa, did I get any emails from [name]?”
  • Manage an email message: “Alexa, [read/reply/delete/archive] this email.”
  • Ask for your calendar events: “Alexa, what’s on my calendar?”
  • Add a new calendar event: “Alexa, add [event name] to my calendar for [date] at [time].”
  • Move a calendar event: “Alexa, move [event name] to [date/time].”
  • Ask for the date: “Alexa, what is the date?” Or, “Alexa, what day is it?”
  • Ask for the time: “Alexa, what time is it?”

Alarms and reminders

Best Alexa commands to get started with your Amazon Echo 2

Need help being reminded of something? Alexa is here to help — it can set a reminder or alarm for you to alert you at a specific time or once a specified amount of time has elapsed. Do you prefer to hear your favorite musician or album instead of Alexa’s default alarm sound? Simply ask, and Alexa can make it happen.

  • Set an alarm: “Alexa, set an alarm for [date/time].”
  • Set an alarm that repeats: “Alexa, set an alarm for every [day/week/month] at [time].”
  • Set an alarm to music: “Alexa, set an alarm to [music] at [date/time].” Or, “Alexa, wake me up at [time] to [music].”
  • Cancel an alarm: “Alexa, cancel my [date/time] alarm.”
  • Set a timer: “Alexa, set a timer for [number of seconds/minutes/hours].”
  • Set a time with a name: “Alexa, set a [timer name] timer for [number of seconds/minutes/hours].”
  • Set a timer to music: “Alexa, set a [number of seconds/minutes/hours] timer to [music].”
  • Cancel a timer: “Alexa, cancel my [number of seconds/minutes/hours] timer.” Or, “Alexa cancel my [timer name] timer.”
  • Set a reminder: “Alexa, remind me [reminder] at [date/time].”
  • Cancel a reminder: “Alexa, cancel my [reminder].”

Shopping and lists

Best Alexa commands to get started with your Amazon Echo 3

Alexa is connected to one of the largest stores in the world — Amazon — so it only makes sense that you can place orders with the sound of your voice. Don’t need to place an order at this exact moment? Instead, create a shopping list with Alexa that you can reference later, either when shopping online or offline at your local grocery store.

  • Ask to buy something: “Alexa, buy [item name].” Or, “Alexa, reorder [item name].”
  • Ask for your order status: “Alexa, where is my stuff?” Or, “Alexa, track my order.”
  • Add items to your Amazon cart: “Alexa, add [item name] to my Amazon cart.”
  • Find an item to purchase: “Alexa, find me a good [item category] on Amazon.”
  • Purchase a music album or song: “Alexa, buy [album or song title] by [artist].”
  • Add item to your shopping list: “Alexa, add [item] to my shopping list.”
  • Check your shopping list: “Alexa, what’s on my shopping list?”

Smart home devices

Best Alexa commands to get started with your Amazon Echo 4

Have you jumped on the smart home craze? If you’ve got your house outfitted with smart light bulbs, outlets, door locks, cameras, and more, you can easily control them with Alexa. Just be sure to set up everything first in the Alexa app under the Devices section.

  • Turn on/off all lights: “Alexa, turn [on/off] the lights.”
  • Control a specific light or device: “Alexa, turn [on/off] the [device name].”
  • Dim the lights: “Alexa, set the lights to [1-100] percent.”
  • Change the colors of the lights: “Alexa, set the lights to [color].”
  • Adjust thermostat temperature: “Alexa, set the temperature to [number of degrees].”
  • Lock/unlock a door: “Alexa, [lock/unlock] the [location] door.”
  • Activate a scene: “Alexa, turn [on/off] [scene name].”
  • Show a camera on an Echo Show: “Alexa, show me the [location] camera.”

Music and TV

All-new Amazon Echo in living room

Looking to throw yourself onto the couch and put on your favorite album or perhaps set the perfect music for a romantic dinner? Using Alexa, you can play your favorite music from services such as Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify — set up your preference in the music app. More of a TV person? Alexa has a few tricks in that department, too.

  • Play a song or album: “Alexa, play [song or album] by [artist].”
  • Play an artist: “Alexa, play music by [artist name].”
  • Play a genre: “Alexa, play [genre name].”
  • Play music on another speaker: “Alexa, play [music request] in the [room name].” Or, “Alexa, play [music request] everywhere.”
  • Play a radio station: “Alexa, play [station name] on [iHeartRadio/TuneIn].”
  • Play an audiobook: “Alexa, play [book name] on audible.” Or, “Alexa, read [book name].”
  • Resume your audiobook: “Alexa, resume my audiobook.”
  • Control audio playback: “Alexa, [play/pause/next track/previous track].”
  • Control volume level: “Alexa, volume to [1-10].” Or “Alexa, volume [up/down].”
  • Remind yourself what is playing: “Alexa, what’s playing?” Or, “Alexa, what song is this?”

Calls and messages

Best Alexa commands to get started with your Amazon Echo 5

Alexa can call other Echo devices, as well as landlines and toll-free phone numbers. If you have a family member or friend with an Echo device, you can also send messages with ease. Check out the commands below to stay in communication, even using the Drop-In command to check in on other rooms in your house. You can set up Drop-In via the Alexa app.

  • Call another Echo owner: “Alexa, call [name].”
  • Call a phone: “Alexa, call [phone number].”
  • Answer an incoming call: “Alexa, answer.”
  • End a call: “Alexa, end call.” Or, “Alexa, hang up.”
  • Message another Echo owner: “Alexa, message [name].” Or “Alexa, send [name] a new message.”
  • Drop-In within your home: “Alexa, drop in on the [room name].”
  • Drop-In on another Echo owner: “Alexa, drop in on [name].”
  • Make an announcement to all your devices: “Alexa, announce [message].”

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