The Alexa voice assistant is an incredible digital companion with plenty of skills to unpack. As the brains behind Amazon’s lineup of Echo speakers and smart displays, along with a host of third-party devices, Alexa users can ask the assistant to play their favorite music, make a phone call, set timers and alarms, check news/weather, and interact with smart home devices throughout the home. That’s everything from microwaves and coffee makers to thermostats and lighting fixtures. But, let’s go back to the basics — just for a moment.
For those that enjoy having a digitized shopping list, one of the most common and useful Alexa skills is the ability to remotely add items to an Alexa shopping list, whether through voice commands or by manually inputting an item in the Alexa app. But did you know that you could add more than one item to an Alexa list using just a single voice command?
It may sound obvious, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that Alexa developers integrated this ability into Alexa’s pantheon of tricks. Before the update, if a user wanted to add multiple items, they would need to issue one voice command per item at a time, making for quite the drawn-out process. But alas, now we’re able to easily input several items simultaneously. Here’s a quick guide on how to do so.
Believe it or not, the process of adding multiple items to an Alexa list requires no additional steps on your part — just as long you speak to your Echo speaker in a measured and articulate manner (more on that in a moment).
Let’s say you need to add three grocery items and you know the exact items. For this example, let’s go with cheese, sushi, and waffles (the building blocks of a happy fridge/freezer). To add all three products in one shot, just say, “Alexa, add cheese … sushi … and waffles to my shopping list.”
Do note that we included ellipses between every food item. This represents a small pause in the spoken voice command. We’ve found that a handful of Alexa users have experienced trouble when trying to add multiple items to a list at once, with Alexa often combining the names of many products into a single, incorrect entry.
When adding two or more items with one command, including a small pause between goods gives Alexa an extra second to log each item as its own entry for your shopping list. Instead of a pause, you can also say “and” in-between each product, which lets Alexa know that you’re adding a second, third, fourth, etc. item to the queue. After issuing your command, Alexa should repeat back, “I’ve added cheese, sushi, and waffles to your shopping list.” To confirm, pop open the Alexa app and view the shopping list. If all went well, you’ll see the three items have been successfully added.
Also, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see the three items listed right at the top of the list. By default, Alexa will attempt to filter items (particularly food entries) into sub-categories (beverages, canned goods, etc.), so there’s a good chance that your entry was simply sorted into its proper category.
While the Alexa app includes a default shopping list, you can create separate shopping lists to help with organization. If you have more than one list and want to add multiple items to one of them with a single voice command, just be sure to indicate which list at the end of your spoken command.
For example, let’s say you wanted to add a hammer, nails, and drywall anchors to your home repair shopping list. When you speak to your Echo speaker, just say, “Alexa, add a hammer … nails … and drywall anchors to my home repair shopping list.” To confirm everything was added correctly, visit the Alexa app, open the indicated shopping list, and scroll through to find the items.
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