How to create custom Alexa routines (with examples)

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Alexa. Alexa. Alexa. It can be tedious to call Amazon’s virtual assistant for each command to turn on various smart home devices in turn. But did you know that you can set up Alexa routines and create a single voice command that triggers a series of different actions?

To design routines, you must use Alexa application. Once you make it, you can use it Alexa speaker,, smart screen, or another smart home device with built – in Alexa to run the routine. You can also schedule routines or run them via smart third-party devices by rejecting alarms or Echo buttons.

Don’t use Alexa in your home? We also have guides How to create Google Assistant routines i How to use Siri shortcuts.

How to set up an Alexa routine

Open the Alexa app on your phone or tablet, tap More tab at the bottom, then select Routines. You will find some predefined routines on Featured tab. To create your own routine, tap the plus icon and you will be prompted to choose a name for it.

Touch When this happens to select the trigger and Add action to choose what should happen. Here’s an example: When I say, “Alexa, good night,” the lights go out, the curtains in the bedroom close, and Alexa says “sweet dreams”.

You can add as many actions as you want. Most of the actions are self-explanatory, from starting a call to sending an email to starting a playlist. The Smart Home section is where you can run actions on devices like smart lights,, security cameras, i robotic vacuum cleaners, provided you have already added them via the Alexa application. If not, just tap More tab and select Add a device at the top.

You can always edit or delete routines later, so it’s worth experimenting. If you can’t find the action you want, give it a try Custom at the top and type in what you want Alexa to do.

If that doesn’t work, consider using IFTTT (If This Then That). You can create “applets” to work almost anything through IFTTT website and if you link your Amazon account, the applets you create will appear via the IFTTT option in the Add action list when you create the Alexa routine. This can be a good way for the Alexa command to start a device or service that is not directly compatible.

You can find more information on Alexa routines and ideas for new ones here.

What can you do with Alexa routines

You can use routines to trigger the usual set of responses, announcements, and actions that Alexa is capable of, but they can be layered to suit different goals. With the right devices connected, you can activate lights, cameras, TVs, music, and more fun and useful Alexa skills you have installed. The possibilities are almost endless.

There’s too much here to go through each option, so here are a few examples of routines that might be helpful to you:

  • Set the action to reject the morning alarm to run the weather report, news headlines and open the curtains.
  • Say “Alexa, goodbye” to turn off all the smart lights, start vacuuming the robot, and have Alexa answer “See you later.”
  • Say “Alexa, quiet time” to turn on Do Not Disturb for an hour, launch a relaxing music list and switch smart lights to a relaxing scene.
  • Press the smart doorbell to activate the sci-fi alert sound and make your smart lights flash red.
  • Say “Alexa, Amy’s bedtime” to switch smart lighting to dim, let out soothing sleep sounds and close the curtains.

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