Understand How Users Invoke Custom Skills

Users can invoke Alexa custom skills in two ways:

  • Use a phrase supported by the Alexa service in combination with the invocation name for a custom skill to request information, ask a question, or tell Alexa to do something ("Alexa, ask Daily Horoscopes for the horoscope for Gemini").

  • Indirectly invoke an Alexa custom skill through a name-free interaction. In this case, the user asks Alexa to perform a task, without naming the skill that should fulfill the request. ("Alexa, what is my horoscope?"). Alexa then makes the choice of which skill should fulfill that request, provided the candidate skills have been set up to support the CanFulfillIntentRequest SPI (Service Provider Interface).

Invoke a Skill by Name

If invoking a skill by name, there are generally two main ways users begin this interaction:

  • Invoking the skill and making a specific request at the same time ("intent").
  • Invoking the skill with no specific request ("no intent").

Invoking a Skill with a Specific Request (Intent)

Users can combine your invocation name with an action, command or question. This sends the service for your skill an IntentRequest with the specific intent that corresponds to the user's request. The action, command, or question included in the phrase comes from the sample utterances you define and map to intents.

There are several ways users can combine your invocation name with the request:

  • Request followed by the invocation name, with a supported connecting word in between – this can make the phrase flow more naturally: "Alexa, get today's Taurus report from Daily Horoscopes".
  • Invocation name and request provided in a supported phrase with "ask", "tell", and other phrases: "Alexa, Ask Daily Horoscopes about Taurus".

In addition, users can optionally include additional words around the utterance:

  • "the" can be included before the invocation name: "Alexa, give me my Taurus horoscope from the Daily Horoscopes" (in this example, the invocation name is just "Daily Horoscopes" and the user added in the word "the").
  • Certain phrases can be included before the entire phrase:
    • "Can you…"
    • "Let's…"
    • "I want to…" / "I wanna…"

      For example: "Alexa, can you give me my Taurus horoscope from Daily Horoscopes". "Alexa, I want to order a car from Car Fu."

  • Users can include "please" at the end of the utterance:
    • "Ask Daily Horoscopes to give me the horoscope for Taurus, please".

The following table summarizes the set of supported phrases for invoking your skill with an intent. In these examples, the request portion (a sample utterance) is shown in italics, while words defined by Alexa are shown in bold.

Invocation Phrase Examples

<some action> <connecting word> <invocation name>

where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

by, from, in, using, with

give me my Taurus horoscope using Daily Horoscopes.

tell me the horoscope for Taurus from Daily Horoscopes.

order a car from Car Fu.

Ask <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

to, about, for, if, whether

Ask Daily Horoscopes to give me the horoscope for Taurus.

Ask Daily Horoscopes about Taurus

Ask Daily Horoscopes for Taurus

Ask my ski reporter if there is snow at my favorite resort today

Ask my ski reporter whether there is snow at my favorite resort today

Ask <invocation name> <some action>

(note that there is no connecting word between “ask” and the command or question in this variation).

Ask Daily Horoscopes the Taurus report today

Ask <invocation name> <question beginning with a supported question word such as ‘what’, ‘how’, etc.>

(in this variation, the question word must be part of the sample utterance)

Ask recipes how do I make an omelet?

Ask Daily Horoscopes what’s the horoscope for Taurus

Tell <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

Where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

to, that

Tell scorekeeper to give ten points to Stephen

Tell scorekeeper that Stephen has ten points.

Tell <invocation name> <some action>

(note that there is no connecting word between “tell” and the command or question in this variation).

Tell Daily Horoscopes I want my Taurus horoscope today

Search <invocation name> for <some action>

Search Daily Horoscopes for Taurus

Open <invocation name> for <some action>

Open Daily Horoscopes for Taurus

Additional invocation phrases combined with “and”:

  • Talk to <invocation name> and <some action>
  • Open <invocation name> and <some action>
  • Launch <invocation name> and <some action>
  • Start <invocation name> and <some action>
  • Resume <invocation name> and <some action>
  • Run <invocation name> and <some action>
  • Load <invocation name> and <some action>
  • Begin <invocation name> and <some action>

Talk to Daily Horoscopes and give me the horoscope for Taurus

Open Daily Horoscopes and give me the horoscope for Taurus

Launch Daily Horoscopes and give me the horoscope for Taurus

Start Daily Horoscopes and give me the horoscope for Taurus

Resume Daily Horoscopes and give me the horoscope for Taurus

Run Daily Horoscopes and give me the horoscope for Taurus

Load Daily Horoscopes and give me the horoscope for Taurus

Begin Daily Horoscopes and give me the horoscope for Taurus

Use <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

Where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

and, to

Use Daily Horoscopes and get the horoscope for Taurus

Use Daily Horoscopes to get the horoscope for Taurus

Users can combine your invocation name with an action, command or question. This sends the service for your skill an IntentRequest with the specific intent that corresponds to the user's request. The action, command, or question included in the phrase comes from the sample utterances you define and map to intents.

There are several ways users can combine your invocation name with the request:

  • Request followed by the invocation name, with a supported connecting word in between – this can make the phrase flow more naturally: "Alexa, demande l'horoscope des verseaux à "signe astrologique".
  • Invocation name and request provided in a supported phrase with "demande", "lance", and other phrases: "Alexa, Demande à signe astrologique les verseaux".

In addition, users can optionally include additional words around the utterance:

  • "le/la/l'/à" can be included before the invocation name: "Alexa, demande l'horoscope des verseaux à signe astrologique" (in this example, the invocation name is just "signe astrologique" and the user added in the word "à").
  • Certain phrases can be included before the entire phrase:
    • "Peux-tu…"
    • "Pourrais-tu…" / "est-ce que tu peux"
    • "Je voudrais…" / "Je veux…"

      For example: "Alexa, peux-tu ouvrir signe astrologique pour les verseaux?". "Alexa, je voudrais commander un taxi avec Mon Taxi"

  • Users can include "s'il-te-plait" ou "s'il-vous-plait" at the end of the utterance:
    • "Demande à signe astrologique l'horoscope des verseaux s-il-te-plait".

The following table summarizes the set of supported phrases for invoking your skill with an intent. In these examples, the request portion (a sample utterance) is shown in italics, while words defined by Alexa are shown in bold.

Invocation Phrase Examples

<some action> <connecting word> <invocation name>

where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

et, pour, avec

donne moi l'horoscope des verseaux avec signe astrologique.

ouvre signe astrologique et donne moi l'horoscope des verseaux

lance Mes Taxis pour commander une voiture.

Ouvre <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

et, pour

Ouvre signe astrologique pour me donner l'horoscope des verseaux.

Ouvre signe astrologique et dis moi l'horoscope du verseau

Demande à <invocation name> <some action>

(note that there is no connecting word between "Demande à" and the command or question in this variation).

Demande à signe astrologique l'horoscope des verseaux

Demande à <invocation name> <question beginning with a supported question word such as ‘quel’, ‘comment’, etc.>

(in this variation, the question word must be part of the sample utterance)

Demandes à mes recettes comment faire une sauce carbonara?

Demande à signe astrologique quel est l'horoscope des verseaux

Lance <invocation name> (et | pour) <some action>

Lance Mon Taxi pour commander une voiture

Ouvre <invocation name> (et | pour) <some action>

Ouvre Horsocope du jour pour Verseaux

Additional invocation phrases combined with “dans”, "sur", "au", "à", "à la":

  • pourrais-tu aller dans <invocation name> (et | pour) <some action>
  • Peux-tu aller dans <invocation name> pour <some action>
  • Va à <invocation name> et <some action>
  • Va dans <invocation name> et <some action>
  • Pourrais-tu aller dans <invocation name> et <some action>
  • Est-ce que tu peux aller sur <invocation name> pour <some action>
  • Lance <invocation name> et <some action>
  • Commence <invocation name> et <some action>

Va sur signe astrologique et donne-moi l'horoscope des verseaux

Ouvre signe astrologique et donne moi l'horoscope des verseaux

Lance signe astrologique et donne moi l'horoscope des verseaux

Va sur signe astrologique et donne moi l'horoscope des verseaux

Pourrais-tu aller dans signe astrologique et donne moi l'horoscope des verseaux

Est-ce que tu peux aller sur signe astrologique et donne moi l'horoscope des verseaux

Va dans signe astrologique et donne moi l'horoscope des verseaux

Va à signe astrologique et donne moi l'horoscope des verseaux

Démarre <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

Where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

et, pour

Démarre signe astrologique et donne moi l'horoscope des verseaux

Démarre signe astrologique pour gme donner l'horoscope des verseaux

Users can combine your invocation name with an action, command or question. This sends the service for your skill an IntentRequest with the specific intent that corresponds to the user's request. The action, command, or question included in the phrase comes from the sample utterances you define and map to intents.

Users can combine your invocation name with the request in the following way:

  • Invocation name and request provided in a supported phrase with "chiedi", "domanda", and other phrases: "Alexa, Domanda Oroscopo del Giorno se può darmi l'oroscopo del toro".

In addition, users can optionally include additional words around the utterance:

  • Users can include "per favore" at the beginning or end of the utterance:
    • "Domanda Oroscopo del Giorno se può darmi l'oroscopo del toro, per favore".
    • "Per favore domanda Oroscopo del Giorno se può darmi l'oroscopo del toro".

The following table summarizes the set of supported phrases for invoking your skill with an intent. In these examples, the request portion (a sample utterance) is shown in italics, while words defined by Alexa are shown in bold.

Invocation Phrase Examples

Domanda <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

se può, se potrebbe

Domanda oroscopo del giorno se può darmi l'oroscopo del toro.

Domanda oroscopo del giorno se potrebbe darmi l'oroscopo del toro

Domanda <invocation name> <some action>

(note that there is no connecting word between “domanda” and the command or question in this variation).

Domanda oroscopo del giorno l'oroscopo del toro oggi

Chiedi <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

se può, se potrebbe

Chiedi oroscopo del giorno se può darmi l'oroscopo del toro.

Chiedi oroscopo del giorno se potrebbe darmi l'oroscopo del toro

Chiedi <invocation name> <some action>

(note that there is no connecting word between “chiedi” and the command or question in this variation).

Chiedi oroscopo del giorno l'oroscopo del toro oggi

Avvia <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

e, per

Avvia oroscopo del giorno e dammi l'oroscopo del toro

Avvia oroscopo del giorno per ottenere l'oroscopo del toro

Apri <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

e, per

Apri oroscopo del giorno e dammi l'oroscopo del toro

Apri oroscopo del giorno per ottenere l'oroscopo del toro

Lancia <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

e, per

Lancia oroscopo del giorno e dammi l'oroscopo del toro

Lancia oroscopo del giorno per ottenere l'oroscopo del toro

Users can combine your invocation name with an action, command or question. This sends the service for your skill an IntentRequest with the specific intent that corresponds to the user's request. The action, command, or question included in the phrase comes from the sample utterances you define and map to intents.

There are several ways users can combine your invocation name with the request:

  • Request followed by the invocation name, with a supported connecting word in between – this can make the phrase flow more naturally: "Alexa, obténme el reportaje de Géminis de Horóscopo Diario".
  • Invocation name and request provided in a supported phrase with "pregúntale a", "dile a", and other phrases: "Alexa, pregúntale a Horóscopo Diario sobre Géminis".

In addition, users can optionally include additional words around the utterance:

  • "el", "la", "los", "las" can be included before the invocation name: "Alexa, dame mi horóscopo de Géminis el Horóscopo Diario" (in this example, the invocation name is just "Horóscopo Diario" and the user added in the word "el").
  • Certain phrases can be included before the entire phrase:
    • "Puedes…"
    • "Podemos…"
    • "Yo quiero…" / "Quiero…"

      For example: "Alexa, puedes darme mi horóscopo de Géminis de Horóscopo Diario". "Alexa, quiero pedir un coche Coche Fu."

  • Users can include "por favor", "porfa", and "porfis" at the end of the utterance:
    • "Pregúntale a Horóscopo Diario que me de el horóscopo de Géminis, porfa".

The following table summarizes the set of supported phrases for invoking your skill with an intent. In these examples, the request portion (a sample utterance) is shown in italics, while words defined by Alexa are shown in bold.

Invocation Phrase Examples

<some action> <connecting word> <invocation name>

where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

de, en, desde, usando, con

dame mi horóscopo de géminis usando Horóscopo Diario.

dime el horóscopo de géminis de Horóscopo Diario.

pide un coche desde Coche Fu.

Pregúntale a <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

a, sobre, para, si, que

Pregúntale a Horóscopo Diario que me dé el horóscopo de géminis.

Pregúntale a Horóscopo Diario sobre géminis

Pregúntale a Horóscopo Diario por géminis

Pregúntale a mi reportero de nieve si si hay nieve en el valle hoy

Pregúntale a <invocation name> <some action>

(note that there is no connecting word between “Pregúntale a” and the command or question in this variation).

Pregúntale a Horóscopo Diario el signo de géminis hoy

Pregúntale a <invocation name> <question beginning with a supported question word such as ‘qué’, ‘cuál’ ‘cómo’, etc.>

(in this variation, the question word must be part of the sample utterance)

Pregúntale a recetas cómo hago una tortilla francesa?

Pregúntale a Horóscopo Diario cuál es el horóscopo de géminis

Dile a <invocation name> <connecting word> <some action>

Where the <connecting word> is one of the following:

a, que

Dile a marcador que le dé diez puntos a marco

Dile a <invocation name> <some action>

(note that there is no connecting word between “Dile” and the command or question in this variation).

Dile a Horóscopo Diario quiero mi horóscopo hoy

Busca <invocation name> por <some action>

Busca Horóscopo Diario por géminis

Abre <invocation name> por <some action>

Abre Horóscopo Diario por géminis

Additional invocation phrases combined with “y”:

  • Dile a <invocation name> y <some action>
  • Abre <invocation name> y <some action>
  • Lanza <invocation name> y <some action>
  • Empieza <invocation name> y <some action>
  • Corre <invocation name> y <some action>
  • Resume <invocation name> y <some action>
  • Comienza <invocation name> y <some action>

Dile a Horóscopo Diario y dame el horóscopo de géminis

Abre Horóscopo Diario y dame el horóscopo de géminis

Lanza Horóscopo Diario y dame el horóscopo de géminis

Empieza Horóscopo Diario y dame el horóscopo de géminis

Resume Horóscopo Diario y dame el horóscopo de géminis

Corre Horóscopo Diario y dame el horóscopo de géminis

Comienza Horóscopo Diario y dame el horóscopo de géminis

Ensuring that the Sample Utterances Support the Invocation Phrases

All of the phrases described in this document are available for all skills. You do not need to enable the specific phrases. However, you do need to write sample utterances that flow naturally with these phrases.

For example, if all of your sample utterances are phrased as questions ("what is the horoscope for Taurus"), then phrases that work with noun or verb utterances won't flow naturally. Users are unlikely to say something like "tell Daily Horoscopes what is the horoscope for Taurus," as this is not a natural way to ask this question. This reduces the number of useful invocation phrases.

For a better user experience, provide a large variety of sample utterances written in different forms:

  • Noun utterances ("the horoscope for…")
  • Verb utterances ("give me the horoscope for…")
  • Question utterances ("what is the horoscope for…")

Test how your utterances sound when combined with the invocation phrases shown in the table above. Write utterances that work with as many of the invocation phrases as possible.

All of the phrases described in this document are available for all skills. You do not need to enable the specific phrases. However, you do need to write sample utterances that flow naturally with these phrases.

For example, if all of your sample utterances are phrased as questions ("quel est l'horoscope des verseaux"), then phrases that work with noun or verb utterances won't flow naturally. Users are unlikely to say something like "ouvre signe astrologique quel est l'horoscope des verseaux." as this is not a natural way to ask this question. This reduces the number of useful invocation phrases.

For a better user experience, provide a large variety of sample utterances written in different forms:

  • Noun utterances ("l'horoscope des…")
  • Verb utterances ("donne-moi l'horoscope des…")
  • Question utterances ("quel est l'horoscope des…")

Test how your utterances sound when combined with the invocation phrases shown in the table above. Write utterances that work with as many of the invocation phrases as possible.

All of the phrases described in this document are available for all skills. You do not need to enable the specific phrases. However, you do need to write sample utterances that flow naturally with these phrases.

For example, if all of your sample utterances are phrased as questions ("qual è l'oroscopo del toro"), then phrases that work with noun or verb utterances won't flow naturally. Users are unlikely to say something like "apri Oroscopo del Giorno qual è l'oroscopo del toro," as this is not a natural way to ask this question. This reduces the number of useful invocation phrases.

For a better user experience, provide a large variety of sample utterances written in different forms:

  • Noun utterances ("l'oroscopo di…")
  • Verb utterances ("dammi l'oroscopo di…")
  • Question utterances ("qual è l'oroscopo di…")

Test how your utterances sound when combined with the invocation phrases shown in the table above. Write utterances that work with as many of the invocation phrases as possible.

All of the phrases described in this document are available for all skills. You do not need to enable the specific phrases. However, you do need to write sample utterances that flow naturally with these phrases.

For example, if all of your sample utterances are phrased as questions ("cuál es el horóscopo para géminis"), then phrases that work with noun or verb utterances won't flow naturally. Users are unlikely to say something like "dile a Horóscopo Diario cuál es el horóscopo de géminis," as this is not a natural way to ask this question. This reduces the number of useful invocation phrases.

For a better user experience, provide a large variety of sample utterances written in different forms:

  • Noun utterances ("el horóscopo para…")
  • Verb utterances ("dame el horóscopo para…")
  • Question utterances ("cuále es el horóscopo para…")

Test how your utterances sound when combined with the invocation phrases shown in the table above. Write utterances that work with as many of the invocation phrases as possible.

Invoking a Skill with No Specific Request (No Intent)

Users can begin interacting with your skill without providing a specific question, request, or command. This sends the service for your skill a LaunchRequest.

At a minimum, users can just say the wake word ("Alexa") and your skill's invocation name. For example, "Alexa, Daily Horoscopes" would invoke the skill with the invocation name "Daily Horoscopes."

Ways to start a skill with no intent:

Starting Phrase Example
<invocation name> Alexa, Daily Horoscopes
Ask <invocation name> Alexa, Ask Daily Horoscopes
Begin <invocation name> Alexa, Begin Trivia Master
Launch <invocation name> Alexa, Launch Car Fu
Load <invocation name> Alexa, Load Daily Horoscopes
Open <invocation name> Alexa, Open Daily Horoscopes
Play <invocation name> Alexa, Play Trivia Master
Play the game <invocation name> Alexa, Play the game Trivia Master
Resume <invocation name> Alexa, Resume Trivia Master
Run <invocation name> Alexa, Run Daily Horoscopes
Start <invocation name> Alexa, Start Daily Horoscopes
Start playing the game <invocation name> Alexa, Start playing the game Trivia Master
Tell <invocation name> Alexa, Tell Daily Horoscopes
Use <invocation name> Alexa, Use Daily Horoscopes

Users can begin interacting with your skill without providing a specific question, request, or command. This sends the service for your skill a LaunchRequest.

At a minimum, users can just say the wake word ("Alexa") and your skill's invocation name. For example, "Alexa, signe astrologique" would invoke the skill with the invocation name "signe astrologique."

Ways to start a skill with no intent:

Starting Phrase Example
<invocation name> Alexa, signe astrologiques
Ouvre <invocation name> Alexa, Ouvre signe astrologique
Démarre <invocation name> Alexa, Démarre signe astrologique
Commence <invocation name> Alexa, Commence signe astrologique
Lance <invocation name> Alexa, Lance signe astrologique
Allume <invocation name> Alexa, Allume signe astrologique
Joue <invocation name> Alexa, Joue Mes Podcasts

Users can begin interacting with your skill without providing a specific question, request, or command. This sends the service for your skill a LaunchRequest.

At a minimum, users can just say the wake word ("Alexa") and your skill's invocation name. For example, "Alexa, Oroscopo del Giorno" would invoke the skill with the invocation name "oroscopo del giorno."

Ways to start a skill with no intent:

Starting Phrase Example
<invocation name> Alexa, Oroscopo del Giorno
Apri <invocation name> Alexa, Apri Oroscopo del Giorno
Avvia <invocation name> Alexa, Avvia Oroscopo del Giorno
Lancia <invocation name> Alexa, Lancia Oroscopo del Giorno

Users can begin interacting with your skill without providing a specific question, request, or command. This sends the service for your skill a LaunchRequest.

At a minimum, users can just say the wake word ("Alexa") and your skill's invocation name. For example, "Alexa, Horóscopo Diario" would invoke the skill with the invocation name "Horóscopo Diario."

Ways to start a skill with no intent:

Starting Phrase Example
<invocation name> Alexa, Horóscopo Diario
Pregúntale a <invocation name> Alexa, Pregúntale a Horóscopo Diario
Empieza <invocation name> Alexa, Empieza Sabelotodo
Lanza <invocation name> Alexa, Lanza Coches Para Siempre
Abrir <invocation name> Alexa, Abrir Horóscopo Diario
Jugar <invocation name> Alexa, Jugar Sabelotodo
Jugar el juego <invocation name> Alexa, Jugar el juego Sabelotodo
Reanudar <invocation name> Alexa, Reanudar Sabelotodo
Empezar <invocation name> Alexa, Empezar Horóscopo Diario
Empieza jugando el juego <invocation name> Alexa, Empieza jugando el juego Sabelotodo
Decirle a <invocation name> Alexa, Decirle a Horóscopo Diario

Indirectly Invoke a Skill With Name-free Interaction

This feature is currently supported for the en-US locale only.

If a user makes a request to Alexa without indicating what skill should fulfill the request, then Alexa can seamlessly select a skill that can fulfill the user's request.

To set up your skill so that it can be considered to fulfill name-free interaction requests, see Understand Name-free Interaction for Custom Skills.