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The best Alexa commands

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

Echo on a table.

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

Alexa sharing reminders.

Need help being reminded of something? Alexa can set a reminder or alarm 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

Dictate shopping lists to Alexa.

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

Alexa can turn on smart appliances.

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].”
  • Mute volume: “Alexa, mute.” And, “Alexa, unmute”
  • Pause music: “Alexa, pause.” Then, “Alexa, play.”
  • Remind yourself what is playing: “Alexa, what’s playing?” Or, “Alexa, what song is this?”

Calls and messages

Video calling on an Echo Show.

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].”

Echo Show commands

A family call over Echo Show.

If you have an Echo Show with a touchscreen, then you also have extra commands that come with the smart display. Here are several examples of how to use the display.

  • Get a tour: “Alexa, what can you show me?”
  • Find photos: “Alexa, show my photos.” Or, “Alexa, show pictures of [specific thing].”
  • Sync with and display live video feeds from compatible cameras: “Alexa, show the front security camera.”
  • Watch videos: “Alexa, play [show] on Amazon Prime.” Or, “Alexa, show how to cut garlic on YouTube.” Or, “Alexa, show me the trailer for [movie].”
  • See info instead of hearing it: “Alexa, show my timers.” Or, “Alexa, show the weekend weather forecast.”

Fire TV commands

TV with Fire Tv on.

Amazon ensures that its Fire TV devices work with Alexa, so if you use the Fire TV platform, this opens up a new range of commands to help manage what you want to watch and can sometimes be faster than using the remote.

  • Find a movie or TV show: “Alexa, search for [title].” Or, “Alexa, find horror movies.” Or, “Alexa, show me new TV shows.”
  • Navigate: “Alexa, play #5,” “Alexa, go back/go Home,” “Alexa, scroll down,” or, “Alexa, show me seasons for this show.”
  • Playback controls: “Alexa, watch [title],” “Alexa, play [title],” or, “Alexa, pause/resume/rewind/next episode.”
  • Fire TV also supports broader commands: “Alexa, show me restaurants nearby,” “Alexa, show me the front door camera,” or, “Alexa, show me the weather.”

Food and wine commands

Echo Show 5 in the kitchen

If you’re in the kitchen or putting together a menu for a party, you can also make Alexa part of the conversation to get more ideas or save a little time. We mentioned above that Alexa can keep multiple timers, but here are some food and drink skills that do much more.

  • Convert units: “Alexa, how many cups are in half a gallon?”
  • Get cooking times: “Alexa, how long should I cook a flank steak?” Or, “Alexa, how should I cook eggplant?”
  • Find calorie numbers, “Alexa, how many calories is a chicken breast?”
  • Get drink recipes: “Alexa, what’s in a whiskey sour?”
  • Find wine recommendations with skills like Wine Buddy: “Alexa, ask Wine Buddy what wine to pair with chicken alfredo.”

Sports commands and questions

Group watching sports on 48-inch LG C1 4K TV.

If you’re following your favorite team or getting caught up on the latest league news, Alexa can help make things a little easier with the right questions.

  • Get all sorts of information on scores, especially for current games (can be hit or miss, but usually accurate): “Alexa, what’s the score of the Patriots game?” Or, “Alexa, what were yesterday’s NFL scores?”
  • Find game schedules: “Alexa, what’s the NBA schedule today,” “Alexa, what NFL games are playing this week?” or, “Alexa, when are the Knicks playing again?”
  • Get down to the basics: “Alexa, did The Lakers win?”
  • Or, with a little customization in the Alexa app, you can simply say, “Alexa, give me my sports update,” and you’ll get the latest info about your favorite teams.

Holiday-oriented commands

Dunhill Fir 7-ft 6-in green artificial Christmas tree with 750 clear white lights.

If it’s getting near a certain holiday, Alexa may be able to help you celebrate, too. These commands are worth trying to help get into the spirit or make things more fun.

  • Celebrate with sound: “Alexa, play Christmas sounds,” “Alexa, Christmas Tree,” or, “Alexa, play holiday music.”
  • Find a Santa game: “Alexa, ask Santa Claus if I’m naughty or nice,” “Alexa, track Santa,” or, “Alexa, call Santa Claus.”
  • Get into the spirit: “Alexa, turn on Christmas tree lights,” “Alexa, send a holiday card,” or, “Alexa, tell me a snowman joke.”

Fun or joke commands

If you want to have fun with Alexa, there are a number of joke commands you can try. You can always ask Alexa to tell you a joke, although her sense of humor is a little … limited. But there are plenty of other questions that will yield funny replies if you want to experiment a little. In fact, there are so many joke commands we suggest you visit our guide on the funny things to ask Alexa for the full list.

Switching Alexa wake words

Tired of using the same “Alexa” wake word all the time? You can switch the wake word between four different options if you want to try something different. Head to your Alexa app, and go to the Menu option in the lower-right corner, then select Settings. Here, pick the device you are using. In the device settings window, you’ll find an option to switch the wake word. You can choose between “Alexa,” “Amazon,” “Computer,” and “Echo.” Not a lot of variety, but at least you can experiment.

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Michael Archambault
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Michael Archambault is a technology writer and digital marketer located in Long Island, New York. For the past decade…
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