The Alexa voice assistant is an amazing digital companion with plenty of skills to unbox. As the brains behind Amazon’s Echo line of smart speakers and displays, plus a host of third-party devices, Alexa users can ask the assistant to play their favorite music, skip a phone call, set timers and alarms, check the news/weather, and interact with smart home devices throughout your home. It’s everything from microwaves and coffee makers to thermostats and light fixtures. But let’s get back to basics, just for a moment.
Back to Basics: Adding Items to an Alexa Shopping List
For those who like to have a digitized shopping list, one of the most common and useful Alexa skills is the ability to remotely add items to an Alexa shopping list, either through voice commands or by manually entering an item in the Alexa app. But did you know you can add multiple items to an Alexa list using a single voice command?
It might seem obvious, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that Alexa developers incorporated this capability into the Alexa pantheon of tricks. Prior to the update, if a user wanted to add multiple items, they had to issue one voice command per item at a time, which made the process quite lengthy. But alas, now we are able to easily grab multiple items simultaneously. Here’s a quick guide on how to do it.
Believe it or not, the process of adding multiple items to an Alexa list requires no extra steps on your part – as long as you talk to yourin a measured and articulate way (more on that in a moment).
Suppose you need to add three grocery items and you know the exact elements. For this example, let’s start with cheese, sushi, and waffles (the building blocks of a happy fridge/freezer). To add all three items at once, simply say, “Alexa, add cheese…sushi…and waffles to my shopping list.”
Note that we have included ellipses between each food. This represents a small pause in spoken voice control. We’ve found that a handful of Alexa users have experienced issues when trying to add multiple items to a list at once, with Alexa often combining many product names into one incorrect entry.
When adding two or more items with a single order, including a small pause between goods gives Alexa an extra second to register each item as its own entry for your shopping list. Instead of a pause, you can also say “and” between each product, letting Alexa know you’re adding a second, third, fourth, etc. item to the queue. After issuing your order, Alexa should repeat, “I’ve added cheese, sushi, and waffles to your shopping list.” To confirm, open the Alexa app and bring up the shopping list. If everything went well, you will see that all three items have been successfully added.
Also, don’t worry if you don’t see all three items listed at the top of the list. By default, Alexa will attempt to filter items (especially food entries) into sub-categories (drinks, canned food, etc.), so chances are your entry has simply been sorted into its appropriate category.
Although the Alexa app includes a default shopping list, you can create separate shopping lists for easier organization. If you have multiple lists and want to add multiple items to one of them with a single voice command, just be sure to indicate which list at the end of your voice command.
For example, suppose you want to add a hammer, nails, and drywall anchors to your home repair shopping list. When talking to your Echo speaker, just say, “Alexa, add a hammer…nails…and drywall anchors to my home repair shopping list.” To confirm everything was added correctly, visit the Alexa app, open the shopping list shown, and scroll to find the items.