Last updated December 28th, 2018

What you'll learn

  • What the Speak block does
  • How to make Alexa speak
  • How to use different Alexa voices
  • How to use variables within the Speak block
  • How to make Alexa play random/different things

Video tutorial:

What the Speak does

The Speak block allows you to control Alexa's speech and audio for the user. With the Speak block, you can have Alexa talk to the user in a variety of voices, as well as play audio files.

How to make Alexa speak

To make Alexa speak, drag in a speak block and click on it. On the far left panel, you'll see a text box where you can enter text for Alexa to speak to the user.

You can type anything you like in here that you want Alexa to say.

Make Alexa speak in different voices

With the Speak block, you may use several different voices - categorized by accent region. When you drag in and click on a Speak block, you can type in the text you would like Alexa to say, and then choose the voice you would like to be used.

Multiple voices in one Speak block

Within one Speak block you can have Alexa say many things in different voices. Below, you can see we have Alexa say two sentences - each in a different voice by adding another section. 

Using variables in the Speak block

You can use variables within your speak blocks to better personalize the skill experience, or convey dynamic information such as the answer to a calculation, or an API response.

To use a variable in the Speak block, press the right facing curly braces button { which will pop the drop-down list for available variables to use in your speak block. 

You can use multiple variables in a single Speak block.

Have Alexa play audio files

Using the Speak block you can have Alexa play short audio files for the user. To do this, within the Speak block hit "add audio".

When you do this, you'll create a new section for an Audio file which will be played in order with your Speak block sequence, or at random if you have that option toggled. 

Here, you can upload an audio file to be hosted on Voiceflow, or, you can link to a file you are hosting on your location. Files for the Speak block can only be up to 240 seconds, and will be played at a reduced sound quality due to Alexa technical restrictions.

Once you have added a file you will see the length of the file, and be able to preview the sound.

Make Alexa output random answers

You can have Alexa output a random 'section' from within your speak block. For example, if you were to have two different greetings, or two different sound effects, you can have Alexa choose a random one to play, rather than play all the sections in sequence as a normal Speak block does.

To do this, turn the option to 'Output random entry' to on. 

When you do this, you'll see the numbers normally beside the Section number are replaced by a 'random' indicator.

Now, when this block is activated Alexa will randomly choose one of the sections within it.

Change the way Alexa speaks with SSML tags

To make Alexa speak differently, you may use SSML tags within you Speak block. SSML is a special format created to modify how voice assistants talk.

We have an in-depth tutorial on using SSML tags with Alexa here.

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