Best Alexa skills 2020 – Tips and tricks for your Amazon Echo speaker

IF you're hoping to get your hands on an Amazon Echo for Christmas, now's the perfect time to brush up on all the handy features and Easter eggs loaded into the speakers.

From an egg timer to help you with the cooking to your very own digital shopping list, here are some of the very best Alexa skills.

Useful Alexa skills

"Alexa, give me a chocolate brownie recipe" – This uses the Allrecipes skill to provide detailed cooking instructions for chocolate brownies. The recipe can also be sent to your phone, if you need to pop to the shop for ingredients.

"Alexa, play music for sleeping" – Your Amazon Echo will play gentle music as you drift off. You can even tell Alexa to stop playing music in half an hour, so she turns off once you've entered the land of nod.

"Alexa, start a 7-minute workout" – If you're not keen on forking out for a gym membership, Alexa can provide you with a narrated workout for free. Just don't get mad at her if you're feeling sore the next day.

"Alexa, what's on BBC 1 tonight?" – The Echo can reel off some top content for you to watch this evening. You can also ask about specific shows, like when the next episode of The Apprentice is on.

"Alexa, roll a dice" – A handy tool for anyone who wants to leave their big decisions to chance. Alternatively, a great replacement if you've lost dice from a board game.

"Alexa, what Indian restaurants are nearby?" – If you've set up your location in the Alexa app, you can use your Echo to find restaurant recommendations in your local area.

"Alexa, play music everywhere" – This relatively new feature lets you play your music across all Echo devices in your home – great for parties.

"Alexa, read The Jungle Book from Audible" – Rudyard Kipling's classic tale for kids is available as a free audiobook through the Amazon Echo.

"Alexa, set a repeating alarm for Tuesdays at 8am" – It's no secret that Alexa can set alarms. But save yourself the effort of creating new ones all the time, and use this handy command to set up repeater alarms instead.

"Alexa, add milk to my shopping list" – Alexa can keep a running list of items you need to buy, which will be stored in your mobile app. That makes for easy viewing once you're actually in the supermarket.

"Alexa, how long does it take to boil an egg" – Culinary queries needn't be Googled. Alexa is a one-stop shop for all your basic cooking trivia needs.

"Alexa, set a timer for 15 minutes" – Makes cooking a breeze.

"Alexa, how long left on my timer?" – Check on your timer before it buzzes.

"Alexa, change the subject" – Alexa will offer up a topic of conversation for you to discuss with your mates. Great for dodging impending arguments over the dinner table.

"Alexa, ask Domino's to place my Easy Order" – Enable the Domino's Pizza skill in your Alexa app and set up a favourite 'Easy Order'. Then you can simply order Domino's deliveries just by using your voice, whenever you like." You can even get updates on the delivery status by saying "Alexa, ask Domino's to track my order."

Fun Alexa skills

"Alexa, open Ditty" – Speak a message aloud, and the Ditty skill will turn your words into an actual song. You can even link your Twitter account to share your creations with friends.

"Alexa, drum roll please" – Does what it says on the tin.

"Alexa, rap for me" – She's not quite Eminem, but Alexa can lay down some pretty sweet rhymes if you give her the chance.

"Alexa, tell me my horoscope" – The Echo can offer up predictions based on your star sign – but there's no guarantee they'll actually come true.

"Alexa, play rock, paper scissors, lizard Spock" – A fun variant on the traditional hand-sign game, as popularised by hit TV series The Big Bang Theory.

"Alexa, what's the phase of the moon" – Cool, but not particularly useful unless you're a druid, or a werewolf.

"Alexa, how many goals has [football player] scored this season?" – For the stats nerds among you.

"Alexa, give me an insult about [football team]." – Even robots can dish out insults for your fierce football rivals.

Alexa Easter Eggs

"Alexa, I have a cunning plan" – For Blackadder fans.

"Alexa, what's the meaning of life?" – If you've read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you'll love this.

"Alexa, open the pod bay doors" – An excellent throwback to classic sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

"Alexa, do you know Siri?" – When it comes to virtual assistants, it's a small world.

"Alexa, who you gonna call?" – GHOSTB…actually, we'll leave this one as a surprise.

"Alexa, what's the first rule of Fight Club?" – Once you know, tell no one.

"Alexa, I am your father." – For the Star Wars fans among you.

"Alexa, give me an Easter Egg" – Ask this to get ideas straight from the robot's mouth.

In other news, Amazon Music is now free for everyone if you're willing to hear ads.

Not got an Echo gadget yet? We recently revealed which one you should buy.

Why is Alexa flashing green, yellow or red? What the colours of your Amazon device mean.

Do you have any good Alexa tips and tricks? If so, let us know in the comments!

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