Add Skills to Alexa: the 411 on Alexa how-to
What are Alexa skills?
Alexa skills, in their simplest form, are essentially voice apps that can be added to your Amazon Alexa device. Skills utilize powerful AI to give Alexa additional skill sets that are in addition to all of the pre-installed commands (things like Alexa alarms and timers). And the good news is that it couldn’t be easier to add skills to Alexa.
There are so many great Alexa skills — from Alexa game skills to Alexa productivity skills to Alexa weather skills and even an awesome Alexa skill that will teach you how to cut different fruits and vegetables. There are over 100,000 Alexa skills available to use, depending on where you live and what language you speak.
Why should you use Alexa skills?
On its own, Alexa is capable of many things without needing any add-ons. But when you add skills to Alexa, you have an opportunity to fully customize your device based on your own preferences and daily routines.
Alexa skills give your device a wide variety of additional functionality and can help streamline your day.
From extensive smart home integrations (think lighting, doorbells and security systems) to trivia and news briefings, there’s an Alexa skill for everyone.
How do I discover new skills to add to Alexa?
If you want to add skills to Alexa, first you have to find a few that look interesting to you! There are a few ways to do this.
First, you can simply ask Alexa what the featured skill of the day is by saying “Alexa, tell Skill Finder to give me the skill of the day.”
This option is perfect if you’re not sure what type of skills you’d like to use as you’re getting used to your new device, or if you love the element of surprise and want to see what other users are using.
The Amazon website is also helpful when you want to explore which skills you can add to Alexa. Tap/click here to browse skills by category, and see which skills Amazon is featuring each week.
You can also use the Alexa app to find skills on the go. Once you’ve launched your Alexa app, click the hamburger icon in the top left corner, then select “Skills and Games.”
Pro Tip: Check out VoiceBrew’s guide to the best uses for Alexa right now for inspiration!
How do you add skills to Alexa?
Once you find a skill you want to try out, try “Alexa, enable (insert name of the skill).” If that doesn’t work, navigate to the skill’s page in the Alexa skill directory (either via the Amazon website or Alexa app) and tap the “Enable” button.
Once you’ve enabled a skill say “Alexa, open (insert name of the skill)” to get started!
What types of skills can you add to Alexa?
To learn more about my favorite Alexa skills, head on over to VoiceBrew 22: a list of 22 tips which I update regularly as new skills are released.
But if you want a shortlist of some of my favorite skills, start with these:
- Connect Alexa to Spotify and play your favorite, custom-curated playlists. Not a Spotify user? Alexa also connects to Apple Music, Pandora, and SiriusXM!
- Enable the BigSky skill to get hour-by-hour forecasts tied to your address
- Beef up your smart home experience by installing Philips Hue Lights
- Start using Alexa Flash Briefings to get customized news
- Check out Alexa sleep sounds to help aid in more restful shut-eye
- See if your bank or credit card provider has an Alexa skill like Capital One and check your balance or pay your bill.
The possibilities are truly endless.
VoiceBrew: Get more out of your Alexa Device with tips delivered straight to your inbox
VoiceBrew was created to help people get more out of their Amazon Alexa devices. Whether you’re just setting up your first Alexa device, or are a seasoned pro looking for advanced tips, VoiceBrew can help.
I love Alexa but realized that most people weren’t familiar with all of the capabilities available in every device! With VoiceBrew, you’ll have access to comprehensive how-to guides that cover basic set-up all the way to more advanced routines.