Alexa - a short guide on using your Out of Milk Alexa assistant!

Now that you have Alexa and Out of Milk talking to one another, you're probably going to want to use Alexa to edit your lists!

Here is a short list of the actions you might like to take, each followed by a list of the types of things you can say in order to get them to work (there are more options as well, but for brevity's sake, we've listed just a few for each.)

1. Getting into the Skill
If you are not already in the skill, just say "Alexa, ask Out of Milk," to get there. 

2. Introduce yourself!
You can say hi, or hello, if you want! This prepares Alexa to accept input from you.

3. Find out where you are
Since Out of Milk doesn't open a default list but rather the last list you were in, it's also good to just ask "Which list am I in? (Quick caveat: Out of Milk in Alexa only works with shopping lists. You cannot edit your pantry or to do lists with this skill). You can also ask this in other ways:

Which list am I on
Where am I
Which list is this
Name list

There are many other options as well - so no need to memorize them all. Most of the ideas that will occur to you will work.

4. Finding out which lists you have
Maybe you find out you are in the wrong list - but you don't remember the name of this list you'd like to switch to. Just ask Alexa to tell you the names of all your lists by saying any of the following:

Which lists do I have
What are my lists
Read all my lists
What lists do I have

5. Switching to the list you want to edit
If you are not in the list you want to edit, you have to use one of the following commands to get to the correct list (here, let's assume you want to get to a list that is called "Super Fresh Shopping"):

Use my "Super Fresh Shopping"
Change to "Super Fresh Shopping"
Switch to "Super Fresh Shopping"

6. Adding items
Now for the real fun - adding things to your list! We'll use "oranges" as our example. There are 99 different ways to do this (literally!), the simplest way being 

Put oranges on my list.

But if you don't want to be simple, you can try the feature that lets you add up to three items at one time (say, apples, oranges, and pears), by saying 

Put apples, oranges, and pears on my list.

You can structure this statement in many different ways, such as: 

I need more oranges on my list
Can I get some apples, oranges, and pears on my list
More apples and oranges on my list
Give me oranges
Give me more oranges
I'm out of oranges
I ran out of oranges, pears, and apples
Throw pears on my list
Jot down oranges

Note that Out of Milk can only add items that are in the skill's database - this includes only English language items, and while it includes many entries, there could, of course, always be something missing. 

7. Add items with quantities
Although there is a feature to allow you to add a specific number of something to the list, this feature is unfortunately still a bit inconsistent - we are working on it! You can try, for instance, saying "I need 5 oranges". You cannot add units (for instance, "I need 5 kilos of oranges" will still just leave your list with the item "oranges" and the number 5 beside it, but no unit name like kilo or kg.) 

8. Removing items
To delete items from your list (again, we'll use oranges as an example, you can just say "Delete oranges". Unlike the add items feature, you cannot delete amounts of an item (for instance you cannot use the skill to delete one of the 5 oranges you just put on the list). You can, however, delete more than one item at a time. There are also some more poetic ways to tell Out of Milk to delete an item, including 

Kill apples, pears, and oranges from my list
Nix the oranges
Ax the oranges
Remove all oranges
I never want oranges again

You can also delete all the items on a list at one time by saying "Remove all items", "Delete permanently", "Clear my list", "Kill my list", "Crumple up this list", and so on. 

9. What's on my list?
If you aren't sure what is on the list right now, you can get Out of Milk to list all current items by saying any number of variations on "What is on my list", including "Run down my list", "Tell me my list" and "Can you go over my list". 

10. Please repeat that?
If things where you are get a bit loud, and you don't hear what Out of Milk is trying to tell you, you can repeat the last statement by just saying "Please repeat that", "Again", "What", "What was that", or "Repeat" (among others).

11. Help
In addition to simply saying "help", you can also verbally abuse Out of Milk and it will still respond as if you have just said "help." For example, "What good are you", "I hate you", "You're no good", and "Is this a game we're playing" all have the same effect on the skill as the simple word "Help" or a more elaborate "I'm confused". We know that sometimes, it's frustrating to use technology.

12. To turn the skill off...
Just tell it to "Take a hike", "Stop", "Shut up", or for the more polite among our users, "Thank you", "Thanks", "Goodbye" or even "This meeting is over." There are more options as well - as usual, no need to memorize. 

13. A phrase to avoid: "All Items"
Ok, we know we said that the way to delete all the items on a list is to say "Delete all items." The problem is, this phrase "all items" is a current bug in the skill - the minute the app hears the words "all items", it deletes everything on the list - whether or not you have said the word "delete". One might, for example, think of saying "List all items". This would delete all the items on the list, and with (currently), no confirmation step, this is really quite annoying. We are currently working on fixing this bug, but no exact date is available yet for a fix.

14. Delete list/Create list - not possible
Out of Milk can only work with lists that already exist - it cannot create or delete a list. While it tells you this in very polite terms, and this is definitely not a malfunction, one further microbe in the skill (kind of like a bug but smaller) is that the skill also signs off when you ask it to do this - and you are no longer in the skill. To get back in, you have to ask Alexa to ask Out of Milk again.

So, that's the way Out of Milk's Alexa skill works - if you have any specific problems or questions, please don't hesitate to be in touch at! We hope this little guide allows you to enjoy using Alexa with Out of Milk.


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