15 popular Alexa commands

There has been a surge in the development of AI devices in the last few years so it's more important than ever to know how to communicate with them. Alexa is Amazon's AI and is present in the Echo, Dot and the downloadable app. Here are some of the most popular commands you can try out with the assistant to make sure you are getting the most out of your device.


If you need someone who is good at maths to calculate your sums for you then you're in luck, because Alexa can help with simple mathematical problems. Try asking her "Alexa, what's eight plus seventeen?" to start with.

Tired of looking up words in a dictionary? You can get Alexa to define words for you too. Ask "Alexa, what's the definition of gregarious?" and you will be impressing friends with your new vocabulary in no time.

It's not only defining words she can help you with but also understanding whole topics. Say "Alexa, Wikipedia Ancient Rome" and she will read out the corresponding entry. This does mean you can fall down Wikipedia holes, though.


Buy an audio book from Audible, Amazon's audiobook firm, and Alexa can read that out for you too. Say "Alexa, Play The Republic on Audible" and she will start reading. Obviously, replace The Republic with the name of the book you want read, and you have yourself a bedtime story. There are other commands you can use, such as "Alexa, pause" and "Alexa, resume" if you want to quickly stop and start the audio book.

You can also play Spotify playlists by connecting your premiuim account with Echo to get Alexa to play your music. Say "Alexa, play my playlist 'Classical' on Spotify" replacing the word 'Classical' with whatever your playlist's called. She can also tell you what song is playing if you ask her "Alexa, what song is this?" on a playlist, but won't be able to tell you what song is playing like Shazam does if you aren't using Spotify.

Alexa can also keep you organised by making to-do lists. If you want to add something to the list, just say "Alexa, add washing the car to my to do list". Check the list by asking "Alexa, what on my to-do list?" and she will read what is on the list. Handy, right?


Maybe you're cooking and need to set a timer? Alexa can set one if you say "Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes". You can check how much time you have left on the timer by asking her "Alexa, how much time is left on my timer?". Need to cancel it? "Alexa, cancel my timer" is the command you want.

There's no need to look at you watch as Alexa can tell you the time now too. Say "Alexa, what's the time?" and the Echo will tell you the current time.

Don't worry, you can mute Alexa too in case you have a friend called Alexa coming over. "Alexa, mute" and "Alexa, unmute" will mute and unmute the AI. Just remember if the AI isn't responding this could be why. Also, this probably won't work on your friend.

If you need to know the weather then feel free to ask Alexa, "Alexa, what's the weather like?" and she will let you know what to expect.

Smart home

Tell Alexa to turn your lights on or off with "Alexa, turn on the lights" if you have smart lights. She can also dim the lights if you need a mood change: "Alexa, dim the lights to 50%"

Need to change the temperature? Simple, say "Alexa, set the temperature to 20 degrees" to do so.

...and more

Can't wait to get home to see Alexa? As soon as you're through the door, and within range of the device, say "Alexa, I'm home" and she might greet you if you're lucky.

Do you want your Echo to echo you? Say "Alexa, Simon says...." and she will repeat whatever you tell her to repeat.

Worried about the rise of AI and them taking over the human race? Why not ask one to find out their true intentions? Ask Alexa "Alexa, are you Skynet?" or "Alexa, what is your cunning plan?" to see if you can find out what awaits us.

Zach Marzouk

Zach Marzouk is a former ITPro, CloudPro, and ChannelPro staff writer, covering topics like security, privacy, worker rights, and startups, primarily in the Asia Pacific and the US regions. Zach joined ITPro in 2017 where he was introduced to the world of B2B technology as a junior staff writer, before he returned to Argentina in 2018, working in communications and as a copywriter. In 2021, he made his way back to ITPro as a staff writer during the pandemic, before joining the world of freelance in 2022.