How to Set up and Use the Alexa Stopwatch

Time anything with this highly functional skill

Need to time something, but don't have a stopwatch handy? Alexa has a skill you can activate so that all Amazon Echo devices on your account offer a stopwatch function. With it, you can use several Alexa stopwatch functions:

  • Start
  • Cancel
  • Pause
  • Resume
  • Check status

A stopwatch is a special watch used to start, stop, and zero time. From the virtual assistant perspective, Alexa uses the stopwatch skill to start, monitor, and report elapsed time.

Echo next to stopwatch
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How to Set up and Enable the Alexa Stopwatch Skill

This skill is free to enable. The easiest way to do this is to give Alexa the command, "Alexa, enable stopwatch." If you prefer to do it manually, you can go to the stopwatch skill on Amazon instead and select Enable under Get This Skill.

Either way, the stopwatch will become immediately available on all your connected Echo devices. Once enabled, the skill is pretty easy to use. However, there are some tricks to the commands that you should know; the skill is not terribly intuitive and can be a little bit picky if you don't apply them exactly as Alexa expects.

The commands below have been tested to help you use the stopwatch in the easiest possible way.

How to Start the Stopwatch

To start the stopwatch, you have three command options:

  • "Alexa, start stopwatch."
  • "Alexa, open stopwatch."
  • "Alexa, ask stopwatch."

Use one of these and the stopwatch will launch. You'll know it's running because Alexa will advise you that she is starting a new stopwatch and that you can launch it anytime to get the status.

Starting the skill when no watch is running will automatically launch a new stopwatch. If a stopwatch is already running, the start request will just return the timed status.

When you use the start command, listen carefully to Alexa. If she tells you that the stopwatch has been running for a certain amount of time, that's because the original stopwatch is still running. You'll need to cancel it before you can start another one or you'll need to wait 24 hours for it to automatically reset.

If Alexa asks you, 'Alarm for what time?' she didn't understand the stopwatch command. If she responds with a question, answer her question or tell her to cancel. She'll confirm the cancellation of the misunderstood request and the timer will continue without interruption.

How to Cancel the Stopwatch

Closing the stopwatch function or stopping a timer you've set is not intuitive at all. If you simply tell her to cancel or delete the stopwatch, she will tell you there are no notifications to delete, that she can't understand you, or some other frustrating response.

Instead, use this specific command: "Alexa, ask the stopwatch to delete."

She should respond with an answer like 'Stopwatch ended at 5 minutes, 15 seconds.' The specific time will depend upon how long your stopwatch has been running.

Once she tells you the stopwatch has ended, you can launch a new one.

How to Check the Stopwatch While It's Running

If you want to check the time on a running stopwatch, you just open the stopwatch using one of the three starting command options:

  • "Alexa, start stopwatch."
  • "Alexa, open stopwatch."
  • "Alexa, ask stopwatch."

She will respond with an answer based on the length of time your stopwatch has been running, such as, 'Stopwatch is running at 2 minutes, 14 seconds.'

If you try to ask her a more conversational question, such as 'Alexa, how much time is on the stopwatch?' she'll tell you that you don't have any notifications or provide another nonsensical response.

How to Pause the Stopwatch

If you need to pause the stopwatch, you can give the command "Alexa, ask stopwatch to pause."

She will remain in the paused state indefinitely or until 24 hours has elapsed, when she will reset the stopwatch to zero.

How to Resume the Stopwatch

If you have paused the stopwatch, you can resume it with the command, "Alexa, ask stopwatch to resume."