Alexa may be your go-to assistant for smart home control, but you can do much more with it than that. Using Blueprints, you can create a skill of your own, like having Alexa count the days to an event.
You might be counting down to the start of your vacation, your wedding day, or that milestone birthday. You don’t have to scour the Skills Store and install a third-party tool. Just select the blueprint for How Many Days, customize it, and let Alexa tell you the number of days remaining.
Locate the How Many Days Blueprint
Open the Alexa app on your Android device, iPhone, or iPad. Tap “More” on the bottom bar and you’ll see a list of options like Reminders, Routines, and so on. Tap the “See More” option to expand this list, and then select “Blueprints.”
Now, you’ll need to locate the How Many Days blueprint. You might find it on the Featured tab, but if not, tap either the Home or the All tab. When you spot it, select it.
On the details screen, you can tap the Play icon at the top to hear a sample, review the steps to create the skill, read how to use it, and see other helpful tips.
When you’re ready to begin, tap “Make Your Own” at the bottom.
Create and Customize How Many Days
The first step is to create the event by entering its name. Then, tap the date field, pick a date from the calendar, and tap “OK.”
Optionally, you can check the box for “This is an Annual Event” for things like birthdays and anniversaries.
You can set up the skill to include more than one event if you like. This is convenient if you want to enter the birthdays of various family members, for instance. Tap “Add Event” and follow the same steps.
After you finish adding events, tap “Next: Experience” at the top. You’ll then be able to customize the skill.
Customize the Skill
First, you can customize Alexa’s opening and closing messages. So, you can have Alexa say something like: “Great news! Lucy’s birthday is 15 days away. You must be excited!” In this example, “Great news!” is the opening, and “You must be excited!” is the closing.
You’ll see several openings and closings already set up for you. Tap the text to edit one, the “X” to remove one, or “Add Opening/Closing Message” to create a new one. This offers you a terrific way to personalize the experience!
Next, you can include a closing sound, and if you have an Echo Show or Echo Spot, you can add a background image.
Tap “Add Closing Sound,” and then tap the drop-down list to select a category. From animals to the office to transportation, you can find a sound that fits the event. Pick the one that you want and tap “Update Sound.”
If you’re able to use a background image with your device, simply select the color that you want.
Once you finish customizing the skill, tap “Next: Name” at the top. Tap the text field and enter whatever name you want to use.
Tap “Next: Create Skill” at the top. You’ll see a brief message as your new skill is being saved with your personalizations.
You should then see your skill details screen with some ways to ask Alexa for help.
So now, when you’re near your smart speaker, say things like “Alexa, how many days until Lucy’s birthday?”, “Alexa, when is Bailey’s birthday?”, or “Alexa, open Dog Birthdays (name of your skill).”
You also have actions at the bottom of the skill screen. Tap to Edit, Delete, Share, or Publish your skill. If you’re finished, tap the “X” in the top-right corner to close the creation screen.
Reopen the Skill in Alexa
To revisit your How Many Days skill, head back to the Blueprints section in the Alexa app with More > See More > Blueprints. At the top, select “Your Skills.” You can then tap one to take one of the actions above on the details screen.
Tools like Alexa with smart speakers in our homes can be fun as well as useful. Sure, you can connect your smart plugs and use Alexa to adjust your smart thermostat. But why not try something new? Whether the How Many Days blueprint is something that the whole family can enjoy or simply motivates you to get through another workday, give it a try!