Alexa FAQ Part 11: Alexa Calendar Integration

The Alexa FAQ series continues with information about Alexa calendar integration: which calendars are compatible, and the available voice commands to use with them.

Follow the links at the bottom of this post to view all other posts in the series.

 

Calendar WTF

Note that the information provided here is accurate as of this writing, on 2/9/18, but is subject to change in the future as the Alexa service and devices evolve.

 

Supported Calendars & Calendar Features

Per Amazon’s help pages, as of this writing you can link your iCloud, Gmail/Google/G Suite, Microsoft Office 365 or Microsoft Outlook.com calendar. With respect to Outlook.com, support is available for personal calendar accounts, including those ending in @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, and @live.com.

Once you link your supported calendar you use Alexa voice commands to add new events to your calendar, or to get information about existing events.

In the US, you can also use Alexa voice commands to schedule meetings (including sending email invitations), and set voice restriction to keep others from accessing your calendar through Alexa commands. I expect those last two features will be rolled out to other regions soon.

 

How To Link Your Calendar

Here’s the how-to, from Amazon’s help pages:


1. Launch the Alexa app.

2. Go to the menu and select Settings.

3. Select Calendar.

4. Choose your calendar account from the list of supported providers.

5. Select the “Link” option, and follow the on-screen instructions to allow Alexa to access your calendar. Note: This typically involves entering the sign in information for your calendar account, and verifying that you want to give Alexa access to it. To link your iCloud calendar to Alexa, you’ll need to use Apple’s two-factor authentication process (see Special Notes for iCloud Calendar Users section, below).


Amazon US customers: click here to view Amazon’s current Connect Your Calendar to Alexa help topic on the Amazon.com site.

Amazon UK customers: click here to view Amazon’s current Connect Your Calendar to Alexa help topic on the Amazon.co.uk site.

 

How To Manage Calendar Events With Alexa

Now you can use voice commands to add calendar events or get information about existing calendar events. From Amazon’s help pages:


To do this… Say or do this…
Find out about your next event(s) “When is my next event?”

“What’s on my calendar?”

“Show me my calendar.”

Find out about an event at a specific time or on a specific day “What’s on my calendar tomorrow at [time]?”

“What’s on my calendar on [day]?”

Add an event to your calendar “Add an event to my calendar.” (Alexa helps you add the event to your calendar.)

“Add [event] to my calendar for [day] at [time].”

Delete an event “Delete my [time] event.”

“Cancel my [date] event.”

“Delete [event] from my calendar.”

On an Echo device screen (e.g., Echo Show): When viewing your calendar, select the calendar event and select Delete.

Invite someone to an event

Note from LME Editor: supported in the US only as of this writing (on 2/9/18), see Scheduling Meetings section below.

“Schedule a [event name] with [person’s name].”

“Create a meeting named [event name] with [person’s name].”

“Invite [person’s name] to [event name].”

 

Amazon US customers: click here to view Amazon’s current Manage Calendar Events with Alexa help topic on the Amazon.com site.

Amazon UK customers: click here to view Amazon’s current Manage Calendar Events with Alexa help topic on the Amazon.co.uk site.


 

Scheduling Meetings – US Only Right Now

You must have Alexa Calling and Messaging enabled on your device so that Alexa can access your contacts’ email addresses in order to use this feature. Click here to read Amazon’s Alexa Calling and Messaging help topic for more information.

From Amazon’s help pages:


To schedule a meeting with someone, ask Alexa to create an event and include the person’s name. For example, “Schedule a lunch with [person’s name] for 1 pm tomorrow.” Or, “Create a meeting named Lunch with [person’s name].”

Alexa asks you if you want to send an email invite to the person. If you say, “yes” Alexa adds the event to your calendar and sends the email invite. If there’s no email address associated with the person you want to invite, Alexa informs you.

You can ask Alexa to send an email invite in fewer steps by requesting Alexa to “invite” someone. For example, you can say, “Invite [person’s name] to lunch at 1 pm tomorrow.” If there’s no email address associated with the person you want to invite, Alexa says she’s unable to complete the request.

You can only invite someone to an event when creating new events. You can verify that the email invite is successful by checking to see if the person’s email is added to the event.


 

Special Notes For Office 365 Calendar Users

You can link only one Microsoft calendar account (Outlook.com or Office 365), and only Office 365 commercial accounts with Exchange Online Mailboxes are supported as of this writing (on 2/9/18). By default, events from accounts you link to Alexa are available to anyone using your device, meaning that anyone who knows the correct voice commands to use can add events to your calendar or get information about existing events. As of this writing, in the US it’s possible to set voice restrictions on your linked calendar to maintain privacy (see Set a Voice Restriction for Your Calendar section below).

Office 365 accounts that are not 100% hosted in the Microsoft Office 365 Cloud (also known as a Hybrid Exchange) are not supported. Accounts on Exchange Servers hosted behind a firewall (also known as on-premises Exchange) are not supported. If you have any questions about linking company-provided Office 365 accounts, contact your IT administrator for availability and support details.

Amazon US customers: click here to view Amazon’s current Office 365 Calendars on Alexa help topic on the Amazon.com site.

Amazon UK customers: click here to view Amazon’s current Office 365 Calendars on Alexa help topic on the Amazon.co.uk site.

 

Special Notes For iCloud Calendar Users

Apple requires two-factor authentication for calendar linking. The how-to is fairly detailed and lengthy. Amazon provides a full walkthrough on their site for proper setup, so rather than copy and paste it here I’ll provide the links.

Amazon US customers: click here to view Amazon’s current Using Your iCloud Calendar with Alexa help topic on the Amazon.com site.

Amazon UK customers: click here to view Amazon’s current Using Your iCloud Calendar with Alexa help topic on the Amazon.co.uk site.

 

Set Voice Restriction for Your Calendar (US only)

You must have a linked calendar and have the Voice Profiles feature set up before you can set a voice restriction for your calendar. If you don’t already have a voice profile, you’ll be prompted to create one in the “Voice Restriction” section in your calendar settings. To learn more, see Amazon’s Create a Voice Profile help topic. Once your calendar is linked and Voice Profile is set:

1. Go to Settings in the Alexa app.

2. Go to the Accounts section and select Calendar.

3. Choose your linked calendar from the list.

4. Go to the Voice Restriction section, and use the drop-down menu to select one of the following options:
a) Only My Voice – Alexa only reads calendar events when able to recognize your voice.
b) All Enrolled Voices – Alexa reads calendar events to any recognized speakers in your home with a voice profile.
c) No Voice Restriction – Alexa does not restrict access to the calendar.

The voice restriction you select applies to all of the devices registered to your account.

If there are other adult users in your home, you can personalize each user’s calendar access across your shared Alexa devices by creating an Amazon Household. Just link your calendar account(s) to Alexa individually in the Alexa app, then set the “Only My Voice” voice restriction so that Alexa only provides information from that calendar when recognizing each of your voices. For more information, see Amazon’s Household Profiles on Alexa Devices help page.

For Microsoft Exchange accounts linked to Alexa via Alexa for Business, you may be required to set a voice restriction. If you have questions about this or managing your Exchange account, your local IT administrator will be in the best position to help—try contacting them directly. To learn more, see Amazon’s Alexa for Business help page.

 

Enjoy your Alexa devices, and be sure to come back here to follow the rest of this Alexa FAQ series.
I’ll be continuing the series with posts providing a look at the various Alexa devices and gadgets now available as well as the differences among them, and a sort of catch-all mailbag FAQ at the end that will include resource links for Alexa-oriented consumer groups online.

Click here to subscribe, so you’ll be notified when each new post is published. You’ll also want to bookmark any posts in the series you might need to refer to frequently in the future, and use the handy social media links at the bottom of this post to share with others who’ve received (or you know will be receiving!) Alexa devices.

Click here to read part one, Alexa Basics For Those Giving or Getting An Alexa Device.

Click here to read part two, Six Things To Try With Alexa.

Click here to read part three, Alexa With WiFi & Bluetooth.

Click here to read part four, Alexa Privacy and Security.

Click here to read part five, Alexa Music Commands and Services.

Click here to read part six, Alexa Calling and Messaging.

Click here to read part seven, An Alexa Intercom System with Alexa Drop-In.

Click here to read part eight, Alexa Alarms, Reminders and Timers.

Click here to read part nine, Using Alexa To Control Your TV.

Click here to read part ten, Alexa Flash Briefing.

 

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