How To Create Custom Voice Commands With Tasker And AutoVoice

Voice actions are one of the fastest, most useful ways to use your phone. Google Now already has a lot built in, but you can create a voice command for just about anything you can imagine with Tasker, turning your phone into a Star Trek-calibre personal assistant.

Photo mixed from Vivaporius.

For this guide, we’re going to be using Tasker and AutoVoice primarily, focusing on the new UI. If you don’t already have either of these apps, they’re certainly worth the few bucks.

What is AutoVoice?

Put simply, AutoVoice is a much-improved version of the included Get Voice function already included in Tasker. It allows you to create custom voice commands that trigger any set of Tasker commands with a single word or phrase. It even includes a continuous listening mode so your phone can passively monitor for those key phrases without any physical input on your part.

Set Up an AutoVoice Trigger

So, how do you set it up? Well, that depends on the method you want to use. You’ll need to trigger AutoVoice one of two ways: manually or continuously. Since the continuous mode will drain battery (and has big scary beta warnings all over), we’ll start with Manual mode.

If you’re using a device that runs Jelly Bean or higher, we’ll start by hijacking the Google Now command (since you can still get to the same functions from the Google search box). However, you can modify the following instructions to trigger AutoVoice with any Tasker state:

Note: If you want to use the Google Now-style launcher I’m using, install Assistant Event for Tasker from the Play Store (this allows you to commandeer the normal Google Now gesture). Otherwise, you can alter the instructions below to create your own unique trigger.

Create the AutoVoice listening trigger profile:

  1. In Tasker, under Profiles tap the plus sign to create a new profile.

  2. Select “State”.

  3. Select “Plugin”.

  4. Select “Assistant Event for Tasker”.

  5. Tap the “Edit” button next to “Configuration”. (This will automatically “configure” the plugin, you won’t need to actually edit anything.)

  6. Tap the back arrow at the top left to get to the main page of the app, where you’ll be prompted to create a new task.

Create the AutoVoice trigger task:

  1. Name it “Listen for Commands”.

  2. Tap the plus sign to add a new Action.

  3. Tap “Plugin”.

  4. Select “AutoVoice Recognize”.

  5. Tap “Edit” next to “Configuration” and tap the checkmark (no changes needed here).

  6. Tap the back arrow at the top left to get back to the main page of the app.

With this in place, you’re ready to start creating custom commands. Now, if this is how you’d like to trigger your custom commands, skip ahead to the sections below for actually doing cool stuff. However, if you want your phone to continuously listen for voice commands without action (and get all Kirk with your Android), follow these instructions instead:

  1. Create the AutoVoice continuous listening trigger:

  1. Under Profiles tap the plus sign to create a new profile.

  2. Select “State”.

  3. Select “Display”.

  4. Select “Display State”.

  5. Set “Is” to “On”.

  6. Continue actions for creating the AutoVoice trigger task in step 3 above.

This particular implementation will result in your phone only listening for commands when your display is on. You can instruct it to listen when the display is off, I would not advise trying this option, since always listening is already a huge battery drain as it is.

Create Custom Hotwords For Your Commands

Once you have AutoVoice set up to listen for commands however you choose, you can start creating custom commands. Each voice command can be used to trigger any regular Tasker task, many of which are already insanely powerful. To get started, you’ll need to create a profile for each command:

  1. Under Profiles, tap the plus sign to create a new profile.

  2. Tap “State”.

  3. Tap “Plugin”.

  4. Select “AutoVoice Recognized”. (Note: this is distinct from “AutoVoice Recognize” mentioned in the previous section.)

  5. Tap “Edit” next to Configuration.

  6. On this screen, you can choose what your command is and how it behaves. Tap “Command filter” to type the word you want Tasker to recognise, or “Speak Filter” if you want to say it aloud (both perform the same function in different ways).

  7. Select a word to activate your command and tap the checkmark.

  8. Note: Some tasks may require you to check “Event Behavior” on this screen which will cause the actions to only be run temporarily. However, for things like altering settings, leaving it unchecked will be necessary.

Tie Your Commands to the Immense Power of Tasker

From here, you’ll be prompted either to create a new task or choose from an existing one. A world of possibilities is open to you at this point, and it would be outside the scope of this article (or entire sites) to fully explore. However, there are still plenty of examples to get you started.

Send a canned text message to a contact.

  1. Create a new task under Tasks.

  2. Give your task a name (i.e. Text NAME)

  3. Tap plus sign to add a new action.

  4. Tap “Phone”.

  5. Select “Send SMS”.

  6. Enter a phone number and a pre-set message.

  7. Optional: Check “Store in messaging app” if you’d like to keep a record of sent messages.

  8. Tap the back button at the top left.

Change multiple settings in a single set.

  1. Create a new task under Tasks.

  2. Name it (i.e. Home Settings)

  3. Tap plus sign to add a new action.

  4. Tap “Net” and select WiFi.

  5. Choose “On” under “Set”.

  6. Tap “Net” and select “Bluetooth”.

  7. Choose “Off” under “Set”.

  8. Tap “Misc” and select “GPS”.

  9. Choose “Off” under “Set”.

  10. Tap the back button at the top left.

  11. Under the AutoVoice profile settings detailed in the, make sure “Event Behavior” is unchecked as mentioned above.

These are extremely basic examples, but part of the beauty of Tasker is that it can be extended to a huge number of tasks. If you have a home automation system, Tasker and AutoVoice can be used to create an impressive set of voice commands to control your entire home entertainment system. Tasker can be daunting, but this should at least help you get started with voice commands.

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