Fast Tips Friday: Alexa Routines Aren’t Just For Smart Home Devices Anymore!

Post Publication Date: 8/24/18 – When Alexa Routines first launched, they were only used to launch a series of smart home actions with a single command (e.g., turn on lights, set thermostat, etc.). Which was great for people who had a lot of smart home devices but not so useful for the rest of us. Finally, Alexa Routines include options to chain music, news, weather, traffic and other commands, too!

 

Morning Routine

 

Note that as with all Alexa features, services and Alexa app screen views may vary from geographic region to region (e.g., Alexa in the US vs. UK, Canada, etc.), and between app versions (e.g., Android vs. iOS). If the features described here are not yet available in your region, they should be coming in the future.

 

Screenshots Tell The Story

If you frequently issue the same series of Alexa commands at a certain time each day, Routines are for you. For example, your morning routine could include Alexa reading the weather report, playing your Flash Briefing, giving you traffic conditions, and then starting a certain playlist. This kind of thing is now possible in Alexa Routines!

1. Tap the ‘hamburger’ menu icon on the app home screen to open the main menu.

Alexa App Home Screen

 

2. In the main menu, tap Routines.

Routines Main Menu

 

3. In the Routines menu screen, you can edit or add Routines.
The “Alexa, Start my day” routine is there by default, to help get you started, but it’s also set to Disabled by default.

The red box highlights the “add” control, which you use to create a new Routine from scratch.

The blue box highlights the “play” control, which launches the associated Routine.

The green box highlights the Routine name. Tap on the Routine name to open the editing screen for that Routine.

 

Routines Menu

 

4. In the Routines edit screen you can change the name of the Routine, which also changes the voice command you use to launch it.
The red box highlights the “disabled/enabled” control, which toggles the Routine between enabled and disabled.

The blue box highlights the selected Routine’s name/voice command. Tap on it to go to a screen that allows you to change the name/command.

The green box highlights the commands currently included in the selected Routine. This one only does one thing: read the weather report. the minus sign to the right of each listed command allows you to delete the command. The “Add action” plus sign lets you add new commands to the selected Routine.

The gold box highlights the device selection control. By default it’s set to “The device you speak to”, which means the Routine will run on any device you speak the Routine command to (e.g., “Alexa, Start my day”). Tap on it to open a list of all your registered devices and select one.

As of this writing, you can only specify one device per Routine when using this option.

Routines Edit

 

5. Routines options: there are many!
All the controls shown below are available when you create a new Routine or add steps to an existing one.

You can have Alexa deliver a custom message using the “Alexa says” option.

In a bedtime Routine, you can have Alexa turn down the volume via the Audio Control option. In a morning/wake up Routine, have her turn it up again.

Use the Music option to add specific songs, playlists, artists or other music content to your Routine.

The News, Weather and Traffic options allow you to add those reports to your Routine.

The Smart Home option lets you add commands for your smart home devices, like smart lights, smart thermostats, etc.

Routines Options

 

Tips

In addition to any bedtime or morning routine you might create for yourself, consider creating one or more for Alexa devices in your kids’ rooms to get them up and off to a great start. On test days, you can add an “Alexa says” command to offer them some encouragement. On celebration days like birthdays or award days, you can have Alexa deliver a special congratulatory message and even play a special song.

Consider creating special Routines to run for a household member’s birthday, or anniversary.

If at first glance it seems as if you don’t have much use for Routines, think again. Most Alexa device owners have at least a morning routine of the same few commands they issue to Alexa every single day. Bundle your morning volume, weather, Flash Briefing and music requests into a Routine and Alexa will perform them all with a single voice command.

 

Remember: Routines you create can be enabled or disabled whenever you like in the app, so feel free to create as many as you need and edit them as often as you like.

 

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