AWS CLI skeletons and input files - AWS Command Line Interface

AWS CLI skeletons and input files

Most of the AWS CLI commands accept all parameter inputs from a file. These templates can be generated using the generate-cli-skeleton option.

About AWS CLI skeletons and input files

Most of the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) commands support the ability to accept all parameter inputs from a file using the --cli-input-json and --cli-input-yaml parameters.

Those same commands helpfully provide the --generate-cli-skeleton parameter to generate a file in either JSON or YAML format with all of the parameters that you can edit and fill in. Then you can run the command with the relevant --cli-input-json or --cli-input-yaml parameter and point to the filled-in file.


Several AWS CLI commands don't map directly to individual AWS API operations, such as the aws s3 commands. Such commands don't support either the --generate-cli-skeleton or --cli-input-json and --cli-input-yaml parameters described in this topic. If you don't know whether a specific command supports these parameters, run the following command, replacing the service and command names with the ones you're interested in.

$ aws service command help

The output includes a Synopsis section that shows the parameters that the specified command supports.

$ aws iam list-users help ... SYNOPSIS list-users ... [--cli-input-json | --cli-input-yaml] ... [--generate-cli-skeleton <value>] ...

The --generate-cli-skeleton parameter causes the command not to run, but instead to generate and display a parameter template that you can customize and use as input on a later command. The generated template includes all of the parameters that the command supports.

The --generate-cli-skeleton parameter accepts one of the following values:

  • input – The generated template includes all input parameters formatted as JSON. This is the default value.

  • yaml-input – The generated template includes all input parameters formatted as YAML.

  • output – The generated template includes all output parameters formatted as JSON. You can't currently request the output parameters as YAML.

Because the AWS CLI is essentially a "wrapper" around the service's API, the skeleton file expects you to reference all parameters by their underlying API parameter names. This is likely different from the AWS CLI parameter name. For example, an AWS CLI parameter named user-name might map to the AWS service's API parameter named UserName (notice the altered capitalization and missing dash). We recommend that you use the --generate-cli-skeleton option to generate the template with the "correct" parameter names to avoid errors. You can also reference the API Reference Guide for the service to see the expected parameter names. You can delete any parameters from the template that are not required and for which you don't want to supply a value.

For example, if you run the following command, it generates the parameter template for the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) command run-instances.


The following example shows how to generate a template formatted in JSON by using the default value (input) for the --generate-cli-skeleton parameter.

$ aws ec2 run-instances --generate-cli-skeleton
{ "DryRun": true, "ImageId": "", "MinCount": 0, "MaxCount": 0, "KeyName": "", "SecurityGroups": [ "" ], "SecurityGroupIds": [ "" ], "UserData": "", "InstanceType": "", "Placement": { "AvailabilityZone": "", "GroupName": "", "Tenancy": "" }, "KernelId": "", "RamdiskId": "", "BlockDeviceMappings": [ { "VirtualName": "", "DeviceName": "", "Ebs": { "SnapshotId": "", "VolumeSize": 0, "DeleteOnTermination": true, "VolumeType": "", "Iops": 0, "Encrypted": true }, "NoDevice": "" } ], "Monitoring": { "Enabled": true }, "SubnetId": "", "DisableApiTermination": true, "InstanceInitiatedShutdownBehavior": "", "PrivateIpAddress": "", "ClientToken": "", "AdditionalInfo": "", "NetworkInterfaces": [ { "NetworkInterfaceId": "", "DeviceIndex": 0, "SubnetId": "", "Description": "", "PrivateIpAddress": "", "Groups": [ "" ], "DeleteOnTermination": true, "PrivateIpAddresses": [ { "PrivateIpAddress": "", "Primary": true } ], "SecondaryPrivateIpAddressCount": 0, "AssociatePublicIpAddress": true } ], "IamInstanceProfile": { "Arn": "", "Name": "" }, "EbsOptimized": true }

The following example shows how to generate a template formatted in YAML by using the value yaml-input for the --generate-cli-skeleton parameter.

$ aws ec2 run-instances --generate-cli-skeleton yaml-input
BlockDeviceMappings: # The block device mapping entries. - DeviceName: '' # The device name (for example, /dev/sdh or xvdh). VirtualName: '' # The virtual device name (ephemeralN). Ebs: # Parameters used to automatically set up Amazon EBS volumes when the instance is launched. DeleteOnTermination: true # Indicates whether the EBS volume is deleted on instance termination. Iops: 0 # The number of I/O operations per second (IOPS) that the volume supports. SnapshotId: '' # The ID of the snapshot. VolumeSize: 0 # The size of the volume, in GiB. VolumeType: st1 # The volume type. Valid values are: standard, io1, gp2, sc1, st1. Encrypted: true # Indicates whether the encryption state of an EBS volume is changed while being restored from a backing snapshot. KmsKeyId: '' # Identifier (key ID, key alias, ID ARN, or alias ARN) for a customer managed KMS key under which the EBS volume is encrypted. NoDevice: '' # Suppresses the specified device included in the block device mapping of the AMI. ImageId: '' # The ID of the AMI. InstanceType: c4.4xlarge # The instance type. Valid values are: t1.micro, t2.nano, t2.micro, t2.small, t2.medium, t2.large, t2.xlarge, t2.2xlarge, t3.nano, t3.micro, t3.small, t3.medium, t3.large, t3.xlarge, t3.2xlarge, t3a.nano, t3a.micro, t3a.small, t3a.medium, t3a.large, t3a.xlarge, t3a.2xlarge, m1.small, m1.medium, m1.large, m1.xlarge, m3.medium, m3.large, m3.xlarge, m3.2xlarge, m4.large, m4.xlarge, m4.2xlarge, m4.4xlarge, m4.10xlarge, m4.16xlarge, m2.xlarge, m2.2xlarge, m2.4xlarge, cr1.8xlarge, r3.large, r3.xlarge, r3.2xlarge, r3.4xlarge, r3.8xlarge, r4.large, r4.xlarge, r4.2xlarge, r4.4xlarge, r4.8xlarge, r4.16xlarge, r5.large, r5.xlarge, r5.2xlarge, r5.4xlarge, r5.8xlarge, r5.12xlarge, r5.16xlarge, r5.24xlarge, r5.metal, r5a.large, r5a.xlarge, r5a.2xlarge, r5a.4xlarge, r5a.8xlarge, r5a.12xlarge, r5a.16xlarge, r5a.24xlarge, r5d.large, r5d.xlarge, r5d.2xlarge, r5d.4xlarge, r5d.8xlarge, r5d.12xlarge, r5d.16xlarge, r5d.24xlarge, r5d.metal, r5ad.large, r5ad.xlarge, r5ad.2xlarge, r5ad.4xlarge, r5ad.8xlarge, r5ad.12xlarge, r5ad.16xlarge, r5ad.24xlarge, x1.16xlarge, x1.32xlarge, x1e.xlarge, x1e.2xlarge, x1e.4xlarge, x1e.8xlarge, x1e.16xlarge, x1e.32xlarge, i2.xlarge, i2.2xlarge, i2.4xlarge, i2.8xlarge, i3.large, i3.xlarge, i3.2xlarge, i3.4xlarge, i3.8xlarge, i3.16xlarge, i3.metal, i3en.large, i3en.xlarge, i3en.2xlarge, i3en.3xlarge, i3en.6xlarge, i3en.12xlarge, i3en.24xlarge, i3en.metal, hi1.4xlarge, hs1.8xlarge, c1.medium, c1.xlarge, c3.large, c3.xlarge, c3.2xlarge, c3.4xlarge, c3.8xlarge, c4.large, c4.xlarge, c4.2xlarge, c4.4xlarge, c4.8xlarge, c5.large, c5.xlarge, c5.2xlarge, c5.4xlarge, c5.9xlarge, c5.12xlarge, c5.18xlarge, c5.24xlarge, c5.metal, c5d.large, c5d.xlarge, c5d.2xlarge, c5d.4xlarge, c5d.9xlarge, c5d.18xlarge, c5n.large, c5n.xlarge, c5n.2xlarge, c5n.4xlarge, c5n.9xlarge, c5n.18xlarge, cc1.4xlarge, cc2.8xlarge, g2.2xlarge, g2.8xlarge, g3.4xlarge, g3.8xlarge, g3.16xlarge, g3s.xlarge, g4dn.xlarge, g4dn.2xlarge, g4dn.4xlarge, g4dn.8xlarge, g4dn.12xlarge, g4dn.16xlarge, cg1.4xlarge, p2.xlarge, p2.8xlarge, p2.16xlarge, p3.2xlarge, p3.8xlarge, p3.16xlarge, p3dn.24xlarge, d2.xlarge, d2.2xlarge, d2.4xlarge, d2.8xlarge, f1.2xlarge, f1.4xlarge, f1.16xlarge, m5.large, m5.xlarge, m5.2xlarge, m5.4xlarge, m5.8xlarge, m5.12xlarge, m5.16xlarge, m5.24xlarge, m5.metal, m5a.large, m5a.xlarge, m5a.2xlarge, m5a.4xlarge, m5a.8xlarge, m5a.12xlarge, m5a.16xlarge, m5a.24xlarge, m5d.large, m5d.xlarge, m5d.2xlarge, m5d.4xlarge, m5d.8xlarge, m5d.12xlarge, m5d.16xlarge, m5d.24xlarge, m5d.metal, m5ad.large, m5ad.xlarge, m5ad.2xlarge, m5ad.4xlarge, m5ad.8xlarge, m5ad.12xlarge, m5ad.16xlarge, m5ad.24xlarge, h1.2xlarge, h1.4xlarge, h1.8xlarge, h1.16xlarge, z1d.large, z1d.xlarge, z1d.2xlarge, z1d.3xlarge, z1d.6xlarge, z1d.12xlarge, z1d.metal, u-6tb1.metal, u-9tb1.metal, u-12tb1.metal, u-18tb1.metal, u-24tb1.metal, a1.medium, a1.large, a1.xlarge, a1.2xlarge, a1.4xlarge, a1.metal, m5dn.large, m5dn.xlarge, m5dn.2xlarge, m5dn.4xlarge, m5dn.8xlarge, m5dn.12xlarge, m5dn.16xlarge, m5dn.24xlarge, m5n.large, m5n.xlarge, m5n.2xlarge, m5n.4xlarge, m5n.8xlarge, m5n.12xlarge, m5n.16xlarge, m5n.24xlarge, r5dn.large, r5dn.xlarge, r5dn.2xlarge, r5dn.4xlarge, r5dn.8xlarge, r5dn.12xlarge, r5dn.16xlarge, r5dn.24xlarge, r5n.large, r5n.xlarge, r5n.2xlarge, r5n.4xlarge, r5n.8xlarge, r5n.12xlarge, r5n.16xlarge, r5n.24xlarge. Ipv6AddressCount: 0 # [EC2-VPC] The number of IPv6 addresses to associate with the primary network interface. Ipv6Addresses: # [EC2-VPC] The IPv6 addresses from the range of the subnet to associate with the primary network interface. - Ipv6Address: '' # The IPv6 address. KernelId: '' # The ID of the kernel. KeyName: '' # The name of the key pair. MaxCount: 0 # [REQUIRED] The maximum number of instances to launch. MinCount: 0 # [REQUIRED] The minimum number of instances to launch. Monitoring: # Specifies whether detailed monitoring is enabled for the instance. Enabled: true # [REQUIRED] Indicates whether detailed monitoring is enabled. Placement: # The placement for the instance. AvailabilityZone: '' # The Availability Zone of the instance. Affinity: '' # The affinity setting for the instance on the Dedicated Host. GroupName: '' # The name of the placement group the instance is in. PartitionNumber: 0 # The number of the partition the instance is in. HostId: '' # The ID of the Dedicated Host on which the instance resides. Tenancy: dedicated # The tenancy of the instance (if the instance is running in a VPC). Valid values are: default, dedicated, host. SpreadDomain: '' # Reserved for future use. RamdiskId: '' # The ID of the RAM disk to select. SecurityGroupIds: # The IDs of the security groups. - '' SecurityGroups: # [default VPC] The names of the security groups. - '' SubnetId: '' # [EC2-VPC] The ID of the subnet to launch the instance into. UserData: '' # The user data to make available to the instance. AdditionalInfo: '' # Reserved. ClientToken: '' # Unique, case-sensitive identifier you provide to ensure the idempotency of the request. DisableApiTermination: true # If you set this parameter to true, you can't terminate the instance using the Amazon EC2 console, CLI, or API; otherwise, you can. DryRun: true # Checks whether you have the required permissions for the action, without actually making the request, and provides an error response. EbsOptimized: true # Indicates whether the instance is optimized for Amazon EBS I/O. IamInstanceProfile: # The IAM instance profile. Arn: '' # The Amazon Resource Name (ARN) of the instance profile. Name: '' # The name of the instance profile. InstanceInitiatedShutdownBehavior: stop # Indicates whether an instance stops or terminates when you initiate shutdown from the instance (using the operating system command for system shutdown). Valid values are: stop, terminate. NetworkInterfaces: # The network interfaces to associate with the instance. - AssociatePublicIpAddress: true # Indicates whether to assign a public IPv4 address to an instance you launch in a VPC. DeleteOnTermination: true # If set to true, the interface is deleted when the instance is terminated. Description: '' # The description of the network interface. DeviceIndex: 0 # The position of the network interface in the attachment order. Groups: # The IDs of the security groups for the network interface. - '' Ipv6AddressCount: 0 # A number of IPv6 addresses to assign to the network interface. Ipv6Addresses: # One or more IPv6 addresses to assign to the network interface. - Ipv6Address: '' # The IPv6 address. NetworkInterfaceId: '' # The ID of the network interface. PrivateIpAddress: '' # The private IPv4 address of the network interface. PrivateIpAddresses: # One or more private IPv4 addresses to assign to the network interface. - Primary: true # Indicates whether the private IPv4 address is the primary private IPv4 address. PrivateIpAddress: '' # The private IPv4 addresses. SecondaryPrivateIpAddressCount: 0 # The number of secondary private IPv4 addresses. SubnetId: '' # The ID of the subnet associated with the network interface. InterfaceType: '' # The type of network interface. PrivateIpAddress: '' # [EC2-VPC] The primary IPv4 address. ElasticGpuSpecification: # An elastic GPU to associate with the instance. - Type: '' # [REQUIRED] The type of Elastic Graphics accelerator. ElasticInferenceAccelerators: # An elastic inference accelerator to associate with the instance. - Type: '' # [REQUIRED] The type of elastic inference accelerator. TagSpecifications: # The tags to apply to the resources during launch. - ResourceType: network-interface # The type of resource to tag. Valid values are: client-vpn-endpoint, customer-gateway, dedicated-host, dhcp-options, elastic-ip, fleet, fpga-image, host-reservation, image, instance, internet-gateway, launch-template, natgateway, network-acl, network-interface, reserved-instances, route-table, security-group, snapshot, spot-instances-request, subnet, traffic-mirror-filter, traffic-mirror-session, traffic-mirror-target, transit-gateway, transit-gateway-attachment, transit-gateway-route-table, volume, vpc, vpc-peering-connection, vpn-connection, vpn-gateway. Tags: # The tags to apply to the resource. - Key: '' # The key of the tag. Value: '' # The value of the tag. LaunchTemplate: # The launch template to use to launch the instances. LaunchTemplateId: '' # The ID of the launch template. LaunchTemplateName: '' # The name of the launch template. Version: '' # The version number of the launch template. InstanceMarketOptions: # The market (purchasing) option for the instances. MarketType: spot # The market type. Valid values are: spot. SpotOptions: # The options for Spot Instances. MaxPrice: '' # The maximum hourly price you're willing to pay for the Spot Instances. SpotInstanceType: one-time # The Spot Instance request type. Valid values are: one-time, persistent. BlockDurationMinutes: 0 # The required duration for the Spot Instances (also known as Spot blocks), in minutes. ValidUntil: 1970-01-01 00:00:00 # The end date of the request. InstanceInterruptionBehavior: terminate # The behavior when a Spot Instance is interrupted. Valid values are: hibernate, stop, terminate. CreditSpecification: # The credit option for CPU usage of the T2 or T3 instance. CpuCredits: '' # [REQUIRED] The credit option for CPU usage of a T2 or T3 instance. CpuOptions: # The CPU options for the instance. CoreCount: 0 # The number of CPU cores for the instance. ThreadsPerCore: 0 # The number of threads per CPU core. CapacityReservationSpecification: # Information about the Capacity Reservation targeting option. CapacityReservationPreference: none # Indicates the instance's Capacity Reservation preferences. Valid values are: open, none. CapacityReservationTarget: # Information about the target Capacity Reservation. CapacityReservationId: '' # The ID of the Capacity Reservation. HibernationOptions: # Indicates whether an instance is enabled for hibernation. Configured: true # If you set this parameter to true, your instance is enabled for hibernation. LicenseSpecifications: # The license configurations. - LicenseConfigurationArn: '' # The Amazon Resource Name (ARN) of the license configuration.

Generating a command skeleton

To generate and use a parameter skeleton file
  1. Run the command with the --generate-cli-skeleton parameter to produce either JSON or YAML and direct the output to a file to save it.

    $ aws ec2 run-instances --generate-cli-skeleton input > ec2runinst.json
    $ aws ec2 run-instances --generate-cli-skeleton yaml-input > ec2runinst.yaml
  2. Open the parameter skeleton file in your text editor and remove any of the parameters that you don't need. For example, you might strip the template down to the following. Be sure that the file is still valid JSON or YAML after you remove the elements you don't need.

    { "DryRun": true, "ImageId": "", "KeyName": "", "SecurityGroups": [ "" ], "InstanceType": "", "Monitoring": { "Enabled": true } }
    DryRun: true ImageId: '' KeyName: '' SecurityGroups: - '' InstanceType: Monitoring: Enabled: true

    In this example, we leave the DryRun parameter set to true to use the Amazon EC2 dry run feature. This feature lets you safely test the command without actually creating or modifying any resources.

  3. Fill in the remaining values with values appropriate for your scenario. In this example, we provide the instance type, key name, security group, and identifier of the Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to use. This example assumes the default AWS Region. The AMI ami-dfc39aef is a 64-bit Amazon Linux image hosted in the us-west-2 Region. If you use a different Region, you must find the correct AMI ID to use.

    { "DryRun": true, "ImageId": "ami-dfc39aef", "KeyName": "mykey", "SecurityGroups": [ "my-sg" ], "InstanceType": "t2.micro", "Monitoring": { "Enabled": true } }
    DryRun: true ImageId: 'ami-dfc39aef' KeyName: 'mykey' SecurityGroups: - 'my-sg' InstanceType: 't2.micro' Monitoring: Enabled: true
  4. Run the command with the completed parameters by passing the completed template file to either the --cli-input-json or --cli-input-yaml parameter by using the file:// prefix. The AWS CLI interprets the path to be relative to your current working directory, so in the following example that displays only the file name with no path, it looks for the file directly in the current working directory.

    $ aws ec2 run-instances --cli-input-json file://ec2runinst.json
    A client error (DryRunOperation) occurred when calling the RunInstances operation: Request would have succeeded, but DryRun flag is set.
    $ aws ec2 run-instances --cli-input-yaml file://ec2runinst.yaml
    A client error (DryRunOperation) occurred when calling the RunInstances operation: Request would have succeeded, but DryRun flag is set.

    The dry run error indicates that the JSON or YAML is formed correctly and that the parameter values are valid. If other issues are reported in the output, fix them and repeat the previous step until the "Request would have succeeded" message is displayed.

  5. Now you can set the DryRun parameter to false to disable dry run.

    { "DryRun": false, "ImageId": "ami-dfc39aef", "KeyName": "mykey", "SecurityGroups": [ "my-sg" ], "InstanceType": "t2.micro", "Monitoring": { "Enabled": true } }
    DryRun: false ImageId: 'ami-dfc39aef' KeyName: 'mykey' SecurityGroups: - 'my-sg' InstanceType: 't2.micro' Monitoring: Enabled: true
  6. Run the command, and run-instances actually launches an Amazon EC2 instance and displays the details generated by the successful launch. The format of the output is controlled by the --output parameter, separately from the format of your input parameter template.

    $ aws ec2 run-instances --cli-input-json file://ec2runinst.json --output json
    { "OwnerId": "123456789012", "ReservationId": "r-d94a2b1", "Groups": [], "Instances": [ ...
    $ aws ec2 run-instances --cli-input-yaml file://ec2runinst.yaml --output yaml
    OwnerId: '123456789012' ReservationId: 'r-d94a2b1', Groups": - '' Instances: ...