Custom Alexa responses can now be created right from the Alexa app

Amazon added a powerful new feature last month called Alexa Blueprints that allows anyone to make custom Alexa skills by choosing one of several templates and filling out a simple website form. While Alexa Blueprints are significantly easier than developing your own Alexa skill from scratch, they still require a bit of effort to set up. If all you want to do is add a few custom Alexa responses to specific requests, it’s now possible to do so using only the Alexa app thanks to the addition of custom responses within Alexa Routines.

Alexa Routines are a powerful feature that allow you to automate a series of customizable actions using a single voice command of your choice. So when you say “Alexa, I’m leaving,” for example, you can have multiple actions occur, such as turning off all of your smart lights and setting a specific temperature on your thermostat.

As part of an Alexa Routine, you’ve always been able to get Alexa to say something back to you when the routine is triggered, but you were limited to selecting from a set of predefined phrases, such as “Good bye” or “Welcome home.” Amazon has now added the option to enter a completely custom phrase as part of a routine.

The new ability to add custom response phrases to a routine is a great way to personalize common tasks, but you don’t actually have to add actions to a routine with a custom response. If there’s a specific response you want Alexa to give when asked a specific question or when given a specific request, it’s now possible to do that within the Alexa app by creating an Alexa Routine with only a custom response phrase.

For example, if you want Alexa to tell your kids that bedtime is at 8pm if they ask, all you need to do is create an Alexa routine that is triggered when someone says “when is bedtime” and have the only action be Alexa responding with the custom phrase “bedtime is at 8pm.” Slight variations to the trigger phrase, such as “what time is bedtime” wouldn’t result in the desired custom response, but the addition of custom phrases to routines is currently the easiest way to tailor Alexa responses to your liking, even if they aren’t as flexible as you may like.

  1. Kile says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t this feature been available for several months now? I have had it set up to turn off my lights and respond with a custom phrase when I say “Alexa, Goodnight” for a while now. Is this a different feature?

  2. Llyod says:

    Anyone else noticing that the play button in Alexa history is greyed out, and history can no longer be listened to?

  3. Tampa8 says:

    Blueprints and associated tasks has added a great new dimension to Alexa.

  4. Jeck says:

    Can I have it calculate how long till bed time for the kids?

  5. Don Black says:

    I am still puzzled as to the wake word and why we can’t make our own.

  6. Wrecks says:

    I created a new Alexa Facts Skill using Blueprint.

    I named it Uranus Now, so it’s opened by saying, “Alexa, open Uranus Now.”

    I added the following facts…

    Here are some facts about Uranus.

    Uranus is surrounded by a dirty ring of debris that has never been completely wiped away.

    There was a huge eruption on Uranus, but hardly anyone noticed.

    Most scientists aren’t very eager to explore Uranus.

    A few scientists wanted to send Uranus a probe, but that would have involved backdoor politics.

    There are Klingons on Uranus.

    I’ll bet you’ve never even seen Uranus.

    What do you think of Uranus as a whole?

  7. tampa8 says:

    Pretty much PTI (Kornheiser) jokes….

  8. AR says:

    this is great news i have been requesting this for a while now

    along with what i consider to be a more important feature,
    adding the ability to have a routine only respond from a specific device/s

    now when i just tried this new custom response i noticed that at the bottom of the routine it had a field that said
    “responds from”
    “the device you are speaking to”
    “kitchen echo dot”
    “bedroom echo dot”

    i got excited there for minute since hat field was under “add an action”
    and not directly under speak a custom phrase i thought it might be an option to have the routine only respond if triggered from a specific echo device
    but nope it is only for which echo device you want to speak your custom phrase

    i really wish they would make an option to have routines only respond from the device/s you tick off from the list of all your echo devices so that we can use the same simple phrases to trigger a routine in a different room
    like for example a HUE scene could be turned on in multiple rooms and you could use the same name like relax
    if i said relax to the kitchen dot the kitchen light would go to the relax setting if said it tot bedroom only the bedroom lights
    they have not really helped mush for people with multiple devices in different rooms
    i want to be able to just say , fan on, or TV on, or turn on ABC, NBC ,CBS (commands i use with my IR/RF hub)
    and have it know i mean the fan or TV that is in the same room as the device i am speaking to and not another device

  9. Ken Jones says:

    This “use to” work with all devices. Now it only works with Generation 2 speakers and above. Gen 1 speakers do not work although there is a “rig” you can do but not nice.

    Whenever a custom say command is used, the alexa device stops running the routine and the light just spins on the device.
    This only happens on Generation 1 alexa speakers. Generation 2 works okay with the exact same routine.
    These are old, were working, routines. They stopped working earlier this year.
    Many web user posts show everyone has this issue. The “fix” users have found of using a 5 second delay does work but that’s not a functional fix.
    (The fix is, put a 5 second delay at the start of any routine with customized say. It does seem to work then)
    Something, update, has crippled the 1st gen speakers .

    It is,
    + 1st Generation Speaker
    + Customize say command (not the canned response)
    = routines runs until it hits that customized say. Then the light on the tops spins for a few second. Then the routine stops/dies.

    I have reproduced this on a new account, with one 1st generation speaker, with one routine. No other devices, no skills, no other routines, etc. As plain and generic as you can make it.

    Please fix it back to working Amazon.

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