Table Of Contents


User Guide

First time using the AWS CLI? See the User Guide for help getting started.

[ aws . cloudformation ]



Returns the description for the specified stack; if no stack name was specified, then it returns the description for all the stacks created.


If the stack does not exist, an AmazonCloudFormationException is returned.

See also: AWS API Documentation

describe-stacks is a paginated operation. Multiple API calls may be issued in order to retrieve the entire data set of results. You can disable pagination by providing the --no-paginate argument. When using --output text and the --query argument on a paginated response, the --query argument must extract data from the results of the following query expressions: Stacks


[--stack-name <value>]
[--cli-input-json <value>]
[--starting-token <value>]
[--max-items <value>]
[--generate-cli-skeleton <value>]


--stack-name (string)

The name or the unique stack ID that is associated with the stack, which are not always interchangeable:

  • Running stacks: You can specify either the stack's name or its unique stack ID.
  • Deleted stacks: You must specify the unique stack ID.

Default: There is no default value.

--cli-input-json (string) Performs service operation based on the JSON string provided. The JSON string follows the format provided by --generate-cli-skeleton. If other arguments are provided on the command line, the CLI values will override the JSON-provided values.

--starting-token (string)

A token to specify where to start paginating. This is the next-token from a previously truncated response.

For usage examples, see Pagination in the AWS Command Line Interface User Guide .

--max-items (integer)

The total number of items to return in the command's output. If the total number of items available is more than the value specified, a next-token is provided in the command's output. To resume pagination, provide the next-token value in the starting-token argument of a subsequent command. Do not use the next-token response element directly outside of the AWS CLI.

For usage examples, see Pagination in the AWS Command Line Interface User Guide .

--generate-cli-skeleton (string) Prints a JSON skeleton to standard output without sending an API request. If provided with no value or the value input, prints a sample input JSON that can be used as an argument for --cli-input-json. If provided with the value output, it validates the command inputs and returns a sample output JSON for that command.


To describe AWS CloudFormation stacks

The following describe-stacks command shows summary information for the myteststack stack:

aws cloudformation describe-stacks --stack-name myteststack


    "Stacks":  [
            "StackId": "arn:aws:cloudformation:us-east-1:123456789012:stack/myteststack/466df9e0-0dff-08e3-8e2f-5088487c4896",
            "Description": "AWS CloudFormation Sample Template S3_Bucket: Sample template showing how to create a publicly accessible S3 bucket. **WARNING** This template creates an S3 bucket. You will be billed for the AWS resources used if you create a stack from this template.",
            "Tags": [],
            "Outputs": [
                    "Description": "Name of S3 bucket to hold website content",
                    "OutputKey": "BucketName",
                    "OutputValue": "myteststack-s3bucket-jssofi1zie2w"
            "StackStatusReason": null,
            "CreationTime": "2013-08-23T01:02:15.422Z",
            "Capabilities": [],
            "StackName": "myteststack",
            "StackStatus": "CREATE_COMPLETE",
            "DisableRollback": false

For more information, see Stacks in the AWS CloudFormation User Guide.


Stacks -> (list)

A list of stack structures.


The Stack data type.

StackId -> (string)

Unique identifier of the stack.

StackName -> (string)

The name associated with the stack.

ChangeSetId -> (string)

The unique ID of the change set.

Description -> (string)

A user-defined description associated with the stack.

Parameters -> (list)

A list of Parameter structures.


The Parameter data type.

ParameterKey -> (string)

The key associated with the parameter. If you don't specify a key and value for a particular parameter, AWS CloudFormation uses the default value that is specified in your template.

ParameterValue -> (string)

The value associated with the parameter.

UsePreviousValue -> (boolean)

During a stack update, use the existing parameter value that the stack is using for a given parameter key. If you specify true , do not specify a parameter value.

CreationTime -> (timestamp)

The time at which the stack was created.

LastUpdatedTime -> (timestamp)

The time the stack was last updated. This field will only be returned if the stack has been updated at least once.

StackStatus -> (string)

Current status of the stack.

StackStatusReason -> (string)

Success/failure message associated with the stack status.

DisableRollback -> (boolean)

Boolean to enable or disable rollback on stack creation failures:

  • true : disable rollback
  • false : enable rollback

NotificationARNs -> (list)

SNS topic ARNs to which stack related events are published.


TimeoutInMinutes -> (integer)

The amount of time within which stack creation should complete.

Capabilities -> (list)

The capabilities allowed in the stack.


Outputs -> (list)

A list of output structures.


The Output data type.

OutputKey -> (string)

The key associated with the output.

OutputValue -> (string)

The value associated with the output.

Description -> (string)

User defined description associated with the output.

ExportName -> (string)

The name of the export associated with the output.

RoleARN -> (string)

The Amazon Resource Name (ARN) of an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role that is associated with the stack. During a stack operation, AWS CloudFormation uses this role's credentials to make calls on your behalf.

Tags -> (list)

A list of Tag s that specify information about the stack.


The Tag type enables you to specify a key-value pair that can be used to store information about an AWS CloudFormation stack.

Key -> (string)

Required . A string used to identify this tag. You can specify a maximum of 128 characters for a tag key. Tags owned by Amazon Web Services (AWS) have the reserved prefix: aws: .

Value -> (string)

Required . A string containing the value for this tag. You can specify a maximum of 256 characters for a tag value.

NextToken -> (string)

If the output exceeds 1 MB in size, a string that identifies the next page of stacks. If no additional page exists, this value is null.