Whether you’re a newly-minted owner of an Alexa-enabled device, or one of us old-timers who pre-ordered before the Echo even began shipping, you may not be aware of these universal Alexa commands and universal Alexa skill commands.
Universal Alexa Commands
These work on every Alexa-enabled device, during any activity Alexa is carrying out. Say the wake word (or press the button on your Tap or Echo/Fire TV remote) followed by any of these commands:
Volume [number]. (0-10)
Repeat. (use after Alexa has provided a response of some type)
Turn it down.
Turn it up.
Universal Skill Commands: Launch, Help, Stop
Every Alexa skill supports the Launch and Stop commands, most support the Help command.
Launch: Forget about memorizing specific skill invocation/start commands. Just say, “[wake word], launch [skill name].” One advantage of launching skills this way is that by default, the skill’s welcome message will play (where applicable*). That message will include information about the skill as well as some sample commands to use in the skill.
*”One shot” skills, like my own Focus Word skill, are programmed to immediately deliver their response to the user with no welcome message as soon as the skill is launched, no matter how it is launched. These are also known as “fortune cookie” skills.
Help: After the welcome message plays, or at any point when Alexa prompts the user for a response, you can say, “Help,” to have Alexa read the skill’s Help file. Most skills have a help file, but very simple ones (e.g., ‘fortune cookie’ or trivia skills) may not, only because the skill’s functionality is so straightforward that the user won’t ever need help to use it.
Stop: this one is pretty self-explanatory, but many users don’t realize they can say it while Alexa is speaking. You just have to be sure to say it loud enough that Alexa can hear you over her own voice.
Universal Amazon Music, Audible & Prime Music Playback Commands
These will work with the services listed in the title above, but commands can vary with streaming music services like Spotify and TuneIn. For example, some services place a limit on how many times the user can skip tracks while streaming. Say the wake word (or press the button on your Tap or Echo/Fire TV remote) followed by any of the following commands.
Skip. (skips forward to next track with MP3s/music, skips forward 30 seconds in an Audible book)
Skip back. (skips to previous track with MP3s/music, skips back 30 seconds in an Audible book)
Continue. (will resume playback of whatever audio was most recently playing, whether music or audio book)
Amazon’s done a good job of making these simple, intuitive, common-sense commands available; now we just have to remember to use them!
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With the All-New Show Mode Charging Dock for Fire HD 10 (7th Generation – 2017 Release) (US only as of this writing, coming soon to UK and other regions) you can turn your Fire HD 10 tablet (UK readers click here) into an always-on Echo Show! The dock serves as a charging base and keeps the Alexa service running just the same as a Show, but with the convenience of being able to pick up your Fire 10 tablet and go mobile with it anytime you like. Currently sale priced at $49.99 (as of 7/22/18, normally priced at $59.99).
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