AWS Command Line Interface
User Guide

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Command Completion

On Unix-like systems, the AWS CLI includes a command-completion feature that enables you to use the Tab key to complete a partially typed command. On most systems, this feature isn't automatically installed, so you need to configure it manually.

To configure command completion, you must have two pieces of information: the name of the shell you're using and the location of the aws_completer script.

Amazon Linux

Command completion is automatically configured and enabled by default on Amazon EC2 instances that run Amazon Linux.

Identify Your Shell

If you're not sure which shell you're using, you can identify it with one of the following commands:

echo $SHELL – Show the shell's program file name. This usually matches the name of the in-use shell, unless you launched a different shell after logging in.

$ echo $SHELL /bin/bash

ps – Show the processes running for the current user. The shell will be one of them.

$ ps PID TTY TIME CMD 2148 pts/1 00:00:00 bash 8756 pts/1 00:00:00 ps

Locate the AWS Completer

The location of the AWS completer can vary depending on the installation method used.

Package Manager – Programs such as pip, yum, brew, and apt-get typically install the AWS completer (or a symlink to it) to a standard path location. In this case, the which command can locate the completer for you.

If you used pip without the --user command, you might see the following path.

$ which aws_completer /usr/local/aws/bin/aws_completer

If you used the --user parameter on the pip install command, then the completer is typically found in the local/bin folder under your $HOME folder.

$ which aws_completer /home/username/.local/bin/aws_completer

Bundled Installer – If you used the bundled installer per the instructions in the previous section, the AWS completer is located in the bin subfolder of the installation directory.

$ ls /usr/local/aws/bin activate activate.csh aws aws.cmd aws_completer ...

If all else fails, you can use find to search your entire file system for the AWS completer.

$ find / -name aws_completer /usr/local/aws/bin/aws_completer

Add the Completer's Folder to Your Path

For the AWS completer to work successfully, you must first add it to your computer's path.

  1. Find your shell's profile script in your user folder. If you're not sure which shell you have, run echo $SHELL.

    $ ls -a ~ . .. .bash_logout .bash_profile .bashrc Desktop Documents Downloads
    • Bash.bash_profile, .profile, or .bash_login

    • Zsh.zshrc

    • Tcsh.tcshrc, .cshrc, or .login

  2. Add an export command at the end of your profile script that's similar to the following example. Replace /usr/local/aws/bin with the folder that you discovered in the previous section.

    export PATH=/usr/local/aws/bin:$PATH
  3. Reload the profile into the current session to put those changes into effect. Replace .bash_profile with the name of the shell script you discovered in the first section.

    $ source ~/.bash_profile

Enable Command Completion

Run a command to enable command completion. The command that you use to enable completion depends on the shell that you're using. You can add the command to your shell's RC file to run it each time you open a new shell. In each command, replace the path /usr/local/aws/bin with the one found on your system in the previous section.

  • bash – Use the built-in command complete.

    $ complete -C '/usr/local/aws/bin/aws_completer' aws

    Add the command to ~/.bashrc to run it each time you open a new shell. Your ~/.bash_profile should source ~/.bashrc to ensure that the command is run in login shells as well.

  • tcsh – Complete for tcsh takes a word type and pattern to define the completion behavior.

    > complete aws 'p/*/`aws_completer`/'

    Add the command to ~/.tschrc to run it each time you open a new shell.

  • zsh – source bin/

    % source /usr/local/aws/bin/

    The AWS CLI uses bash compatibility autocompletion (bashcompinit) for zsh support. For more details, see the top of

    Add the command to ~/.zshrc to run it each time you open a new shell.

Test Command Completion

After enabling command completion, enter a partial command and press Tab to see the available commands.

$ aws sTAB s3 ses sqs sts swf s3api sns storagegateway support