Twenty more smart commands to use with your Amazon Echo
Alexa can do more than set timers.
From speakers to microwaves, Amazon is pushing out more Alexa-enabled hardware devices, and their smart assistant continues to become more responsive. Keep up with the updates and try these 20 new voice commands to use on your Amazon Echo, and add them to the other 20 we’ve already told you about.
There are thousands of commands you can use with Alexa—these are not only some of the most useful, but also some of the most fun.
1. Check commute times
“Alexa, how is my commute?”
“Alexa, how long will it take me to get home?”
Amazon’s assistant can look up trip times based on current traffic conditions—just make sure you’ve set your home and work locations in the Alexa app (Settings, then Your Locations from the main menu). You can also ask how long will it take you to move from where you are to pretty much anywhere.
2. Get advice for dinner
“Alexa, what wine goes well with salmon?”
“Alexa, how long does it take to cook burgers?”
You can get all sorts of helpful kitchen or dining advice from Alexa. So whether you need to know how long to cook something or what foods and drinks go well together, Amazon’s assistant has you covered.
3. Listen to the radio
“Alexa, play KEXP.”
“Alexa, play NPR.”
Besides playing tunes from streaming services, Alexa can play a host of online radio stations via TuneIn. If your favorite radio station isn’t available, you might have to add a third-party skill like Radio.com or Simple Radio to get the station streaming.
4. Stay in touch with your sports team
“Alexa, are the Washington Wizards playing this weekend?”
“Alexa, is there any basketball on TV tonight?”
Whether you’re interested in a specific team or sport, Alexa can read out a complete list of upcoming games for you. You can also get answers for a specific day or week and know which matches will be televised.
5. Get Alexa to help you change your mood
“Alexa, give me some relaxation tips.”
“Alexa, give me some motivation.”
Alexa is a better life coach than you might have given it credit for—you can use the two commands above to get ideas for relaxing or staying motivated. You’ve also got a variety of mood-related skills to pick from as well: Try Inspirational Motivator or Relaxing Sounds.
6. Look up knowledge on the web
“Alexa, Wikipedia New York.”
“Alexa, Wikipedia David Lynch.”
Wikipedia is crammed with knowledge, and contrary to what some people believe, most of it is quite reliable. Ask away and Alexa will happily read back any entry from the online, collaborative database—provided you can say its title clearly. The article will be broken up into chunks, so you won’t have to listen to the whole thing.
7. Boost your word power
“Alexa, how do you spell ‘necessary’?”
“Alexa, define ‘gregarious.’”
Attention writers, and readers: Alexa can lend a hand by giving you the spellings and definitions of words as you read through a text or compose a brand new one. You can even say “Alexa, teach me a new word” to hear a new word and definition each day.
8. Get quotes from your favorite movie
“Alexa, give me quotes from ‘Love Actually.’”
“Alexa, give me quotes from ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel.’”
Alexa can do all kinds of tricks when it comes to movies, including telling you what’s showing nearby. But one of the more fun ones is hearing quotes on demand—just name the film and Amazon’s assistant will surprise you. You could even turn it into a game and see who can complete the quote fastest.
9. Brush up on your language skills
“Alexa, what is ‘How are you?’ in Japanese?”
“Alexa, what is ‘What time is the train?’ in Spanish?”
While Alexa might not replace your foreign language tutor anytime soon, it can at least help you improve your language skills by translating words and phrases for you. Keep going until you can repeat the word or phrase exactly as Alexa is saying it.
10. Hear some new music
“Alexa, play music similar to R.E.M..”
“Alexa, play music similar to Billie Eilish.”
Maybe you love a record, but you’ve heard it on repeat way too many times—if so, Alexa is here to help. Ask to hear music similar to a particular artist, and the smart assistant will do the rest. For this to work, you’ll need to have Amazon Music set as your default audio player, and for extra controls, you can open the Alexa app.
11. Control your Ring camera
“Alexa, answer the front door.”
“Alexa, show the backyard.”
Alexa supports plenty of smart home gadgets, but works particularly well with Ring doorbells and cameras (Ring is an Amazon-owned brand). If you’ve got an Echo Show or a Fire TV device on your home network, you also can access the video and audio feed.
12. Plan ahead
“Alexa, how many days until Christmas?”
“Alexa, when is the Wimbledon final?”
We’ve previously shown you how to connect Alexa to your personal calendar, but you can also quiz the assistant about public dates and events. Try asking how many days until that Thanksgiving meal you’re planning, or how long until the next Olympic games.
13. Get a taste of your dream vacation
“Alexa, what is there to do in Boston?”
“Alexa, what famous landmarks are there in Paris?”
If you’re flying somewhere unfamiliar, give your googling fingers a rest and ask Alexa for some travel tips instead. You won’t get much detail on each place, but that’s why it’s a useful alternative to web searching.
14. Navigate around time zones
“Alexa, what time is it in New York?”
“Alexa, what time is sunrise in Sydney?”
Not only can Alexa tell you about the current time and the sunrise and sunset times for wherever you live, it can do the same for anywhere else in the world. Now you’ve got no excuse for waking up family members or work colleagues living in other countries.
15. Get suggestions on almost anything
“Alexa, suggest some good baby names.”
“Alexa, suggest some good horror movies.”
When you’re stuck for inspiration, turn to Alexa. Whether it’s naming your firstborn or discovering a new movie, the digital assistant can help you out. There are countless options with this command (though Alexa couldn’t advise us on cities to visit or good houseplants to buy), so feel free to experiment with this one.
16. Organize a quiz night
“Alexa, tell me a fact.”
“Alexa, tell me some trivia.”
If you’re planning a quiz night with your friends, Alexa can be the perfect companion. Ask and it will tell you random facts, or famous events that happened on a particular day. If you’re in the mood for a brain teaser, ask for a challenge and it’ll launch a variety of trivia games and exercises.
17. Control your TV
“Alexa, tune to channel five.”
“Alexa, fast forward.”
If you’ve got an Amazon Fire Cube plugged into your TV, or if your smartTV already supports Alexa, you can control it with voice commands. From turning your device on and off to flicking through the channels, you’ll never need to touch a remote control ever again.
18. Play Audible audiobooks
“Alexa, play ‘Bleak House’ on Audible.”
“Alexa, give me some free audiobooks.”
You can use your Alexa device to play audiobooks on Audible (also owned by Amazon), assuming you’re paying the $15-a-month subscription. You can also check in with the current month’s free Audible audiobooks, which won’t cost you any extra credits.
19. Call friends and family
“Alexa, call mom.”
“Alexa, call John.”
Your Alexa-enabled device doubles as a phone to make voice calls (and video calls, if you have an Echo Show) to mobiles and landlines. Tap the Communicate button in the Alexa app, follow the instructions to connect your contacts, and you’ll be ready to go.
20. Delete voice recordings
“Alexa, delete everything I said today.”
“Alexa, delete my voice history.”
Amazon hangs on to recordings of your voice to improve the accuracy of future results, but if you’re not happy with this, you can regularly wipe the database clean. In the app, go to Settings, Alexa Privacy, and Review Voice History to enable deletion by voice.