Smart Home

How to make a to-do list with Alexa

Alexa's to-do list capabilities just got a lot smarter. You can now sync and add tasks to Any.do or Todoist using Alexa. Here's how.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET
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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Among Alexa's growing list of features is one that lets you make and manage to-do and shopping lists.

Adding tasks or items is very straightforward. Tell her what you need to do or buy and she'll add it the correct list. But that's not all there is to Alexa's to-do list capabilities. Here's everything you need to know about task management with Alexa.

Adding to-dos and shopping list items

There are a few of ways to add items to your to-do and shopping lists.

You can say, "Alexa, create a new to-do." She will then ask you what the to-do is. Whatever you say after that will be added as a line item to the list. You can also be more direct and say, "Alexa, I need to make an appointment with the dentist" or "Alexa, add 'go to the gym' to my to-do list."

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Screenshot by Taylor Martin/CNET

For the shopping list, you can say something like, "Alexa, add bread to my shopping list" or "Alexa, I need to buy deodorant."

Alexa is fairly clever about to-do and shopping list commands. You can be far more general with your requests and she will try to fill in the blanks. For instance, when you say "add [noun]," Alexa understands you want that item added to your shopping list. If you say "Alexa, go to the gym," Alexa will add "go to the gym" to your to-do list.

The problem with letting Alexa manage your to-do list is the lack of features, organization and accessibility of the list itself.

The only way to access your to-do list is within the Amazon Alexa app on Android or iOS or by going to alexa.amazon.com in your web browser. Click on Shopping & To-do Lists to view the lists. From there, you can add an item manually, check off, edit and delete items or move them between the two lists. You can also view completed tasks or print out the existing to-do or shopping list. That's it.

Any.do and Todoist

Fortunately, official integration with both Any.do and Todoist was announced earlier today, bringing two-way sync and extended to-do list functionality to Alexa. You can expect other popular task managers to be added to the mix in the future, as well.

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Screenshot by Taylor Martin/CNET

To connect an Any.do or Todoist account to your Alexa account:

  • Open the Alexa mobile app or alexa.amazon.com in a web browser and click Settings.
  • Scroll down and click Lists under the Account section.
  • Click Link to the right of either Any.do or Todoist.
  • Click Continue to be taken to the log-in page.
  • Enter your Amazon account log-in credentials and click Sign in.
  • Click Okay to be taken to another log-in page.
  • Enter your Todoist or Any.do account credentials and click Log in.

After doing this, your to-do and shopping lists will be synced between your Alexa account and your connected Any.do or Todoist account. To-dos created via Alexa will be visible in Any.do or Todoist and vice versa.

You can also ask, "Alexa, what's on my to-do list?" and all pending tasks for that day will be read to you.

The Todoist integration will also make use of its natural language task input, so you can add due dates and recurring tasks via voice. For instance, you can say, "Alexa, add 'Car payment' every 4th of the month to my to-do list." The task "Car payment" will be added to your Todoist account, but will not show up in the Alexa to-do list until the day it's due -- the 4th of every month.

More to-dos with IFTTT

If you use a service other than Any.do or Todoist, you can enable one-way sync using IFTTT.

All you need is a recipe that uses the Amazon Alexa channel and Item added to your To Do List as the trigger and your task manager of choice as the action channel. You can also have items added to your shopping list added to an external to-do list using a similar recipe.

The Publish Alexa ToDo to Trello recipe is a perfect example, but there are several supported to-do list and task manager services on IFTTT.

  • Beeminder
  • Evernote
  • FollowUp.cc
  • Google Calendar
  • iOS Reminders
  • Kyber
  • MeisterTask
  • Office 365 Calendar
  • OneNote
  • Todoist
  • Toodledo
  • Trello

Once the recipe is added to your account, tasks added via Alexa will also be added to your separate task manager account. However, items added to your to-do list elsewhere will not be synced with your Alexa to-do or shopping lists.

Disclosure: Taylor Martin (a CNET freelance contributor) writes and produces videos for the Todoist blog.