How to Create Custom Alexa Routines (With Examples)

Alexa. Alexa. Alexa. It can be tiring to call Amazon’s virtual assistant for each command to turn on a variety of smart home devices in succession. 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 the Alexa app. Once you’ve made one, you can use a Alexa speaker, smart display, or another smart home device with built-in Alexa to trigger a routine. You can also schedule routines or trigger them through third-party smart home devices, dismissing alarms or with Echo buttons.

Don’t use Alexa at home? We also have guides on How to Create Google Assistant Routines and How to use Siri Shortcuts.

How to set up an Alexa routine

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

Press on When this happens to select your trigger, and Add action to choose what should happen. Here’s an example: When I say “Alexa, good night”, the lights go out, the bedroom curtains 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 triggering a music playlist. The Smart Home section is where you can trigger actions on devices such as smart lights, security cameras, and robot vacuum cleaners, provided you have already added them through the Alexa app. If not, just press the After tab and choose Add device at the top.

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

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

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

What you can do with Alexa routines

You can use routines to trigger the usual range of responses, announcements, and actions that Alexa is capable of, but they can be layered together to respond for different purposes. With the right connected devices, you can also trigger lights, cameras, TVs, music, and all fun and useful Alexa skills you installed. The possibilities are almost endless.

There are too many to go through all of the options here, so here are a few sample routines that you might find helpful:

  • Set the action of dismissing your morning alarm to trigger a weather report, headlines, and open your curtains.
  • Say “Alexa, bye” to turn off all smart lights, trigger your robot vacuum to start, and ask Alexa to respond “I’ll catch up with you later.”
  • Say “Alexa, quiet time” to turn on Do Not Disturb for an hour, fire up a relaxing music playlist, and turn on your smart lights for a relaxing scene.
  • Set a push on your smart doorbell to trigger a sci-fi alert sound and make your smart lights flash red.
  • Say “Alexa, Amy’s bedtime” to switch your smart lighting to a subdued level, play soothing sleep sounds, and close the curtains.

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