This story is part of Home TipsCNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
At this point, Alexa may feel like a member of the family. Amazon’s trusty voice assistant is always around when you need it, from streaming musicto setting reminders and telling funny jokes — and there are now more than 300 million devices connected to it. Whether you have an Echo Dotthe Echo Dot with Clock, the compact Echo Flex, the chunky Echo Studio or smart displays such as the Echo Show 10, Show 8, Show 5 or the Show 15Alexa can make your life easier by automating your day.
But have you ever wondered if you can personalize Alexa and tailor the functions to your exact needs? Customizing your Echo device is actually really easy — and well worth the extra effort.
From creating your own Alexa responses to setting up voice profiles so Alexa will recognize individual voices, there’s several ways to personalize your Echo. Read on for five ways to customize your Amazon Echo for the best Alexa experience possible. (You can also check out how much it would cost you to set up an Amazon Alexa smart home.)
1. Speed Alexa up (or slow it down)
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Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend everything Alexa is saying when it keeps going on and on. Fortunately, if you need the voice assistant to slow down, just say “Alexa, speak slower.” Or maybe you need Alexa to talk a bit faster. If that’s the case, say “Alexa, speak faster.” Alexa has seven talking speeds — four faster, two slower and the default speed.
Read more: Alexa Commands Don’t Meet Your Needs? Just Make Your Own
2. Make custom Alexa responses on your Echo
Alexa may not always respond the way you’d like it to — for example, it won’t cuss if you ask it — but you can make your own customized Alexa responses for your Amazon Echo.
To create your personal replies, head to the Amazon Blueprints page and select Custom Q&Athen click Create Your Own.
Now Alexa will say whatever you want it to — and your friends will be wondering why their Amazon Echo doesn’t have the same responses.
3. Create a voice profile on your Echo device
To give yourself and others in your household a more personalized experience with Alexa, create a voice profile for everyone. It’ll help Alexa to get to know your voice and will give you more personalized responses.
To get Alexa to learn your voice, open the Alexa app on your phone and go to Settings > Account Settings > Recognized Voices > Create a voice profile and follow the onscreen prompts and read four phrases aloud.
To make sure your voice profile has been correctly set up, simply ask “Alexa, who am I?” and it’ll tell you who’s speaking. If the others in your household want to set up a voice profile, they’ll need to repeat the same process on their phones.
4. Choose a new Alexa wake word
When you first unbox your Echo, the default wake word it answers to is Alexa. However, you can change the wake word at any time. Amazon’s other traditional options to call your voice assistant are Computer, Amazon and Echo, but there are also several newer wake word additions you can use like Ziggy and Hey, Disney. Unfortunately, you can’t give it a unique name, so you have to pick from the above options.
If you want to change the name, just say “Alexa, change the wake word” and choose another option. Or if you’re not near your Echo speaker, you can open the Alexa app and navigate to Settings. Then, select Device Settings and choose your device (for example, Katie’s Echo Dot). Scroll down and tap Wake Wordthen select what you’d like to call your voice assistant.
5. Create routines to take you through your day
If you already use your Echo to turn on the lights, listen to the news and start the coffee pot every morning, then why not group all those commands together? You can set up Alexa routines to help you get through your morning or any other part of your day.
When you create a routine, you’re able to string multiple commands into one. For example, you can say “Alexa, start my day” to turn on the lights, start the coffee maker and play music at the same time.
To get started, open the Alexa app menu and tap Routines. You’ll then click the plus sign icon and build your routines.
Now that your Echo speaker is more personalized, here are 50 useful Alexa skills you need to try today, six Alexa settings you’ll want to change immediately and five essential tips for your new Amazon Echo.