List Skills Overview

List skills enable users to view and update lists by voice or in the Alexa app. For example, a customer can ask Alexa to add items to the Alexa Shopping List at home, and then, at the store, view and update the items in the Alexa app. You can create custom skills that access the default Alexa shopping list and Alexa to-do list. Or, you can create your own custom lists. You can implement list management in your list skill and in your third-party app.

How list skills work

List skills enable users to view and update lists by voice or in the Alexa app. You can create a list skill without a customer voice interaction model, or you can create a custom skill and add list management features to your skill.

You can use the List Management REST API to view and manage customer lists, or you can subscribe to list events to receive notification when a list update occurs. For example, a third-party app can leverage access to Alexa lists. The list skill can use list change events to synchronize its customer lists in the app with the customer's lists on Alexa.

You can access the customer list in a skill session, or out-of-session from your skill or an associated app. In-session list management starts when a user invokes your skill with an utterance, such as "Alexa, add milk to my shopping list." In response, Alexa sends a request to your skill, along with a session object that uniquely identifies the skill session. Your skill accesses the customer lists by using the access token from the Alexa request.

You can also manage a customer's list outside of a skill session. For example, the customer might add milk to their Shopping List with voice (in-session), and then, at the store update the list in your app (out-of-session). These requests are called out-of-session requests and need a skill-specific access token. For more details, see Get access to Alexa lists.

Get Started

If your skill is a custom or multi-capability skill that doesn't use events, you can manage it through the Alexa developer console, and it isn't considered a list skill even if it interacts with lists. If you enable list and skill events to synchronize lists, you must manage your list skill through the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) Command Line Interface (CLI) and the skill is no longer be available to edit in the Alexa developer console.

To get started with custom skills that use lists, see Access the Alexa Shopping and To-Do Lists.

To get started with list skills, see Steps to Create a List Skill.