Frequently asked questions
What are Alexa Skill Blueprints?
Alexa Skill Blueprints are a new way for you to customize your Alexa experience by adding personalized Alexa skills and responses. Personalized skills and responses make Alexa even more knowledgeable, delivering a delightful experience that is unique to you and your family.
How do I create a skill using Alexa Skill Blueprints?
You can create your own Alexa skills and responses in minutes with easy to use templates - just fill in the blanks. Choose from the different blueprints to see what kind of skill you'd like to make. Browse the various blueprints to see which one you'd like to customize to fit your household.
What's the difference between a Skill Blueprint and a regular Alexa skill?
Alexa skills are like apps for Alexa. You can already choose from thousands of skills, from ordering a pizza to requesting a ride. Skill Blueprints are templates that you can use to create skills of your own and customize to fit your lifestyle.
How many skills can I make?
There's no limit to the number of skills you can make, so create as many as you like.
Who has access to the personalized content I create?
Your personalized skills and responses are only available on Alexa devices associated with your account.
Can I use an Alexa Developer account to use Skill Blueprints?
Yes, you can log in with any Amazon account, including developer accounts, to use Skill Blueprints. You will be able to see the skills you've made using blueprints, but you cannot edit them in the developer portal.
How do I know which account my device is using?
Just ask, "Alexa, which account is this?" and your Alexa-enabled device will tell you which account is currently logged in.
My Alexa device is registered to a different account than the one I used to log in to Skill Blueprints. Can I still access the skills I've made from my devices?
You should use the same account for Skill Blueprints that you used to register your Alexa devices, otherwise you'll have to switch accounts. If you have multiple accounts in your household and you want to switch to the account that you used to make your skill, just tell Alexa which account you want to switch to. For example, “Alexa, switch to Jeff’s account.”
If you do not have multiple accounts listed in your household, you will need to switch accounts using the Alexa app.
- Go to the Alexa app and select Settings.
- Select the device you want to use and choose Deregister.
- At the bottom of the Settings page, select Sign Out
- Log back in to the app with the account you used to make your skills. You will need to make sure you're signed into the account you wish to link your device to.
- From Settings, select Set Up A New Device to link your Alexa-enabled device.
Can I use Skill Blueprints on my mobile device?
Yes you can create skills using blueprints on your desktop or mobile device, but the website is optimized for desktop.
Why can't I open my skill?
If you recently made or edited your skill, it may take a couple minutes to process. To see if your skill is ready, go to the Skills You've Made page and make sure the status is set to Ready to use.
Secondly, make sure the language for your device is set to English (United States). To change the language for your device:
- In the Alexa app, open Settings.
- Select the device to modify its settings.
- Select Language.
- Select English (United States).
If your skill is ready to use and your language is set to English (United States), then you will need to check to make sure you're using the right skill name. You'll need to restart your skill by saying, "Alexa, open..." Or, "Alexa, start..." For example, "Alexa, open My Family Trivia."
Alexa is still learning new words and names, so your skill name might be a little too difficult to understand. You can always change the skill name on the Skills You've Made page to something simple and unique. Check out the section on naming your skill for best practices.
I can't find the skill I made. Where did it go?
Your skill may have a different name than what you remember or you may have made it under a different account. You can find all of your skills for your account in the Skills You've Made page. You can also ask your Alexa device which account is currently logged in.
If you disabled a skill that you want to use, you will need to enable it again. Go to the Alexa app and select Skills then choose Your Skills. Select the skill and choose Enable skill.
Why can't I use certain names for my skill?
Alexa is still learning new words and names, so your skill name might be too difficult for Alexa to understand or may be too similar to another skill name you've made. If the skill doesn't open reliably with the skill name you've chosen, you may have to rename your skill with a simple, unique name that is between two and three syllables long. Check out the Make your skill page to learn more about naming your skill.
Can I change my skill name after I create my skill?
Yes, you can edit the name of your skill if you don't like it or if it's too complicated to remember. Check out the Make your skill page for more details about naming your skill.
How long before my skill is ready to use?
After you create a skill, it will be ready to use in a few minutes. To see if your skill is ready to use, check out the Skills You've Made page and select the skill to see more details.
The skill doesn't respond like I want it to. How can I fix it?
Alexa is still learning new phrases and may not always understand that certain words refer to the same idea. For Q&A especially, you’ll need to prompt Alexa using the exact same questions that you customized for your skill. If you find that you’re asking your questions differently, you may want to update your skill to reflect the specific language you’re using. You can view what you've said to Alexa in the Alexa app by going to Settings and choosing History.
You can edit the content in your skill anytime. Go to the Skills You've Made page, choose your skill, and select Edit.
Can Alexa understand special characters?
Alexa can interpret alpha-numeric characters and certain special characters including: question marks ( ? ), exclamation points ( ! ), colons ( : ), periods ( . ), apostrophes ( ' ), dashes ( - ), and commas ( , ). When you're creating your skill, if you add in a special character that is not supported, you'll see an error message.
Can I delete my skill?
Yes, but you may want to disable your skill in the Alexa App instead. Disabling a skill allows you to keep it from being used, but you can enable it later if you change your mind. Deleting a skill will remove it from your account and you will not be able to use that skill name again.
To disable your skill, go to the Alexa app and select Skills then choose Your Skills. Select the skill and choose Disable skill.
If you wish to delete your skill, go to the Skills You've Made page, select the skill and choose Delete.
How many people can I share my skill with?
There's no limit to the number of people you can share your Blueprints skill with. Just keep in mind that once you share your skill, anyone can share that link outside of your network as well.
Can someone edit my skill after I've shared it with them?
No, as the skill creator only you have the ability to edit your skill or revoke access to your skill for everyone.
Why can't I share a skill using WhatsApp or text from my computer?
Even if your computer supports texting apps, sharing via text or WhatsApp is only available when logged into Skill Blueprints from a mobile device.
Can I revoke access to my skill for individual people?
No, at this time you cannot selectively remove access for specific people currently using your skill. If you set the access on your skill back to Just me, you will remove access for everyone.
How do I change the name of my skill once I've shared it?
To edit the name, you'll need to revoke access to your skill first.
- Go to the Skills You've Made page and select a skill.
- Under Access, select the option to Revoke. The status of your skill will change back to Just me.
- Choose edit icon next to the name of your skill.
- After editing the name, go back to Skill Actions and select Share With Others.
- When prompted, share the new link to your skill with recipients via email, text, or as a post over social media.
Will recipients still be able to use my skill if I revoke access, then re-share it with the same name?
No, the old link and access to the skill will be disabled for everyone. A new link will be generated for your skill that you'll need to share for anyone to use your skill.
How do I know if someone has shared a Blueprints skill with me?
You will receive an email, text, or notification on your social media account telling you about the skill, who sent it, and a link to enable the skill for yourself. After opening the link, you'll need to log in to your Amazon account to view the skill page. Once you've logged in, select the Enable button if you want to use that skill. Once you see a confirmation message, the skill is ready to use on any Alexa-enabled device registered to the Amazon account where you enabled the skill.
How do I find a skill once it's been shared with me?
In the Alexa App, go to Skills > Your Skill > Personal Skill. You'll have the option to view details or enable the skill by selecting the Enable Skill button. You won't be able to access shared skills in Skill Blueprints portal, only the skills you've made.
Why can't I use a skill that was shared with me?
The creator of the skill may have deleted the skill, changed the skill's name or revoked access to it.
What happens if two skills share the same name?
Always pick a unique name for your skill to make sure it’s memorable and to avoid name sharing between skills. Due to how skills are invoked, if there are two skills that have identical names, Alexa might start either skill.
Someone shared a skill with me that has offensive or inappropriate language. What should I do?
Please report any skills shared with you that contain hateful or offensive language. Skills that violate Amazon's policies will be disabled from shared accounts.
What's the difference between sharing and publishing a skill?
A shared skill is only available to people who have access to the shared skill link you’ve distributed. When you publish a skill, your skill is available for anyone to find, use, and review on the Alexa Skills Store. Your skill can be reviewed and given a star rating, just like any other skill in the Alexa Skills Store today.
I have shared my personal skill with my friends. Will my skill still be accessible to them after it is published?
No. You will need to revoke shared access to your skill before you can publish it. After you publish your skill, you can view your skill on the Alexa Skills Store and use the share option to send a link to your skill in the store via email, text, or over social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also copy this link and post it on your website to promote your skill to your followers.
How long will the publishing process take?
Reviewing and publishing a skill can take 1 to 2 business days due to the rigorous testing standards Amazon has in place for adding new skills to the Alexa Skills Store. You will get an email letting you know if your skill did or did not pass the review process. If your skill did not pass, the email will outline steps you can take to fix the skill and resubmit it.
How will I know if my skill was successfully published?
When the review process is completed you will see a notification on the Skill detail page letting you know if your skill was Approved or Rejected. In addition, you will receive an email that will contain the results of the review process. Once your skill is live, you will receive a notification on the Blueprints skill page.
Can I withdraw my publishing request?
Yes, if you've submitted a skill and it's still in the review phase, then select the Withdraw Submission button. If you haven't completed the publishing process yet and your skill is not in review, then you can choose the option to Cancel Publishing and your publishing information that you've filled out will be deleted. You can always come back and submit your skill at a later date.
Will I be able to change the opening phrase for my skill after it is live?
No. Once your skill is live in the Alexa Skills Store, you can no longer change the opening phrase.
How do I set a brand name as my opening phrase?
A one‐word opening phrase is allowed if you own a brand or have approval from a brand to use it. When you're editing your opening phrase, you'll need to provide documentation that justifies that you are the owner or that you have the right to use the brand.
How should I submit brand and intellectual property rights documentation?
When using a brand name in your Opening phrase, Alexa Skills Store name, or in the Created by field, you’ll need to provide documentation demonstrating that you have the right to use that brand. You can either submit a signed confirmation letter from the intellectual property rights holder or a copy of the applicable license agreement. You can upload your documentation to a file sharing service such as Dropbox, S3 etc. and provide a sharable link to your documents in the text below the Opening Phrase, Alexa Skills Store Name, and Created by fields. If you do not have a sharable link to your documentation or have previously provided documentation to Amazon, you can e-mail your proof of intellectual property rights as an attachment to email@example.com. You'll need to include the name of your skill in the subject line.
Note, please wait for a confirmation by email that your documentation has been accepted before resubmitting your skill for review.
Will I be able to change my skill after it is published?
You can't change your opening phrase after publication but you can edit other skill details and resubmit it for review.
Why was my skill removed from the Alexa Skills Store?
Amazon regularly reviews skills that are live in the Alexa Skills Store. If the content of your skill does not adhere to the content guidelines, Amazon reserves the right to remove your skill from the Alexa Skills Store. You will receive an email outlining the issue(s) and how to fix them so you can resubmit your skill for publication.
How can I use Blog Blueprint?
WordPress Bloggers who have installed the Amazon Polly plugin can use the Blog Blueprint to launch their blog posts as a podcast by providing the RSS feed generated by the Polly plugin. The Amazon Polly plugin for WordPress converts text-based blog posts into speech by leveraging the Text-to-Speech capabilities from Amazon Polly, generating an audio (RSS) feed for text-based blog content. Learn more about the Amazon Polly plugin.
What is an RSS feed?
An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed delivers updated content you’ve published on your site in an easy format for other sites to share so your audience can get custom tailored content in one place. For blueprints that use RSS feeds, you can share your content through your Alexa skill by setting up your RSS feed so your skill can automatically play new content you’ve added to your site.
What are the requirements for the Flash Briefing RSS feed?
If you plan to use your existing RSS feed for your flash briefing skill, your feed needs to adhere to the following requirements:
- The audio content should be hosted as https
- The audio content should be 256kbps mono or stereo MP3
- Content should not exceed 10 minutes in length
- Program loudness for Alexa should average -14 dB LUFS/LKFS
- The true-peak value should not exceed –2 dBFS
What are the requirements for using a radio livestream?
Only .m3u and .pls file formats are supported at this time.