Knowledge Skill FAQ

This topic contains frequently asked questions about knowledge skills. For more information about knowledge skills, see Steps to Create a Knowledge Skill and Knowledge Skill Overview.

Test skills

How do I test my knowledge skill locally?

You should test your skill in the developer console before you distribute it. To do this, upload your data and then click the Test tab at the top of the developer console. You can test your skill by typing your query, or by pressing the microphone and asking your question. In either case, you do not need to invoke the skill by name. Simply type your question.

How do I test my knowledge skill on my own Alexa device?

To test your knowledge on a device, you can distribute your skill via skill beta testing to yourself. Later, when you have fully tested your skill, you can add additional users to the beta test, or you can choose to distribute the test through Alexa for Business.

Begin by preparing your skill for distribution by entering the required Privacy and Compliance information on the Distribution tab.

Then, to use skill beta testing, select Availability on the left of the Distribution page. Expand Beta Test. If your skill does not meet the required criteria, the issues will be listed, and you can fix those, and return to this section. When your skill is ready for beta testing, follow the steps as listed, and use the email address to which your Alexa device is registered. That address will then receive an email prompting the user to enable the knowledge skill you have created for this device's account. If you want to add additional users, return to the same form and add their email addresses.

Distribute skills

How do I make my knowledge skill available to other users?

You can make your knowledge skill available in two ways:

  • Skill beta testing: With skill beta testing, you select a limited number of users (up to 500), and provide them access based on their email address. After you complete the Privacy and Compliance section of the Distribution tab, you can enable your skill for skill beta testing. For more information on setup, see Skill Beta Testing.

  • Alexa for Business: With Alexa for Business, you make your skill available to Alexa devices that have been specifically enrolled in your Alexa for Business implementation, as described in the following answer.

  • Alexa for Hospitality or Alexa for Residential – With Alexa for Hospitality and Alexa for Residential, you make your skill available to Alexa devices in properties such as hotels, resorts, vacation rental communities, hospitals, and senior living communities as well as residential buildings and communities. Alexa for Hospitality and Alexa for Residential provide APIs for device fleet management for properties, which enable property owners and managers to administer Alexa devices on their properties.

What is Alexa for Business, and how do I distribute my skill with it?

Alexa for Business (A4B) is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) service that includes tools and controls for administrators to deploy and manage shared Alexa devices, skills, and users at scale. For more information, see Alexa for Business.

First, set up the devices you want to use for your Alexa for Business implementation as described in Shared devices.

To make your skill deployable through Alexa for Business, click the Distribution tab in the developer console. In the Availability section, for "Who should have access to this skill?", select Alexa for Business Organizations.

Your skill will then appear in the Alexa for Business console under the Skills tab.

How do I find the Amazon Resource Number (ARN) for Alexa for Business?

The owner of the AWS account for your organization should be able to provide the AWS account ID. From there, the Alexa for Business ARN is formatted as arn:aws:iam::<account ID>root. For example, if your AWS account ID is 123456789012, you would input arn:aws:iam::123456789012:root in the developer console in the Availability tab under Distribution.

Why is my skill unavailable to deploy for Alexa for Business?

The option to enable the skill for your Alexa for Business account becomes visible after your skill is certified. To submit a skill for certification by using the developer console, go to the Certification tab, run the validation tests under Validation, and then submit your skill for certification under Submission. Certification takes 5-20 minutes. After your skill is certified, you should be able to add your AWS ARN in the Distribution tab of the "Live" version of your skill.

Can I enable multiple knowledge skills on an Alexa device?

Currently, Alexa devices can have up to 20 knowledge skills enabled. Each skill can have one or more templates enabled to answer questions.

Interact with knowledge skills

How do users interact with my knowledge skill?

When you have distributed your skill, either through Alexa for Business or through skill beta testing, a user can simply ask questions relevant to your skill. They do not need to invoke your skill by name.

Who can use my knowledge skill?

Once you create, publish, and enable your knowledge skill on your chosen Alexa devices, any person with access to that Alexa device can query your skill. Use caution when you deploy skills that contain sensitive information, such as demographics or salary, particularly if the skills will be available on devices in public areas.

How can I inform users what they can ask my knowledge skill?

For knowledge skills available on Alexa devices enabled for Alexa for Business, you can place a small tent card, with the invocation name and some example questions, near each device.

For skill beta testing, you can send an additional email to all of the users on your skill beta testing email list that explains the purpose of the skill, and which provides the invocation name and some sample questions.

Since users don't need to invoke knowledge skills, how will they know when a knowledge skill is answering their question?

You can add an optional answer-attribution phrase. Alexa then uses this phrase to preface answers provided by your knowledge skill. This phrase can help users understand that Alexa is sourcing answers from your knowledge skill, and not from some other source, such as a third-party skill. For example, you can add an attribution phrase such as, "The Hospital can help," so that when users ask questions like, "Alexa, what supplies do I need for a laceration repair?", Alexa will respond by saying, "The Hospital can help: a laceration repair requires…".

How do utterances work when I have multiple knowledge skills enabled on a device?

Utterances are simultaneously queried against all of the knowledge skills enabled on your device. Often, only one knowledge skill will have an answer, and Alexa will read that answer out. When multiple knowledge skills have an answer, Alexa will read the answer from the knowledge skill that was most recently modified.

How are knowledge skill answers prioritized over responses from other Alexa features?

Your knowledge skills are given priority over other skills and Alexa features. Whenever your knowledge skill has an answer to a question, Alexa will read out your answer. If your knowledge skill can't answer a question or command (for example, "Alexa, play music," "Alexa, what's the Yankees score," "Alexa, what song is playing"), Alexa will then bypass your knowledge skill to answer.

Why is my skill unable to answer certain questions?

For possible resolutions for common issues, see Troubleshooting Knowledge Skills.