Knowledge Skill FAQ

The following frequently asked questions (FAQ) answer common questions about knowledge skills.

For general information about knowledge skills, see Steps to Create a Knowledge Skill and Knowledge Skill Overview.

Test skills

Q: How do I test my knowledge skill locally?

You should test your skill in the developer console before you distribute it. Before you test your skill, you must first add data to your skill. Then, at the top of the developer console, click the Test tab. You can test your skill by typing your query, or by pressing the microphone and asking your question. In either case, you don't need to invoke the skill by name. Simply type your question.

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

To test your knowledge skill on a device, you can distribute your skill to yourself by using skill beta testing. Later, after you fully test your skill, you can add additional users to the beta test or you can choose to distribute the test through Alexa for Business. For details about beta testing, see Skill Beta Testing for Alexa Skills.

Distribute skills

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

You can make your knowledge skill available in the following ways:

  • Skill beta testing – With skill beta testing, you select a limited number of users (up to 500), and provide the users access based on their email address. For details, see Skill Beta Testing.

  • Alexa for Business – With Alexa for Business, you make your skill available to Alexa devices that are enrolled in your Alexa for Business implementation. For details about how to enroll devices, see What is Alexa for Business, and how do I distribute my skill with it?.

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

Q: 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 details, see Alexa for Business.

First, set up the devices you want to use for your Alexa for Business implementation as described in Shared devices. Then, 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 then appears in the Alexa for Business console under the Skills tab.

Q: 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 input arn:aws:iam::123456789012:root in the developer console in the Availability tab under Distribution.

Q: 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. For details on how to submit a skill for certification by using the developer console, see Test and Submit Your Skill for Certification.

Q: 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

Q: How do users interact with my knowledge skill?

After you distribute your skill, either through Alexa for Business or through skill beta testing, users can simply ask Alexa questions relevant to your skill. Users don't need to invoke your skill by name.

Q: Who can use my knowledge skill?

After 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 salaries, particularly if the skills are available on devices in public areas.

Q: 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 the users on your skill beta testing email list. Your email should explain the purpose of the skill, provide the invocation name, and include some sample questions.

Q: Because users don't need to invoke knowledge skills, how do 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 that your knowledge skill provides. 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 Front Desk can help", so that when users ask questions like, "Alexa, how do I order more towels?", Alexa responds by saying, "The Front Desk can help: You can get towels from the Guest Services office on the second floor".

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

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

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

Alexa gives knowledge skills priority over other skills and Alexa features. Whenever your knowledge skill has an answer to a question, Alexa reads out loud 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 then bypasses your knowledge skill to answer.

Q: Why is my skill unable to answer certain questions?

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

Q: Do knowledge skills support health-related templates or content?

While Amazon's goal is to offer a broad and compelling selection of templates to Amazon's customers, knowledge skills don't support health-related use cases.