Creating profiles for your AWS credentials - AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio

Creating profiles for your AWS credentials

Configuring access credentials for Toolkit for Visual Studio involves obtaining access keys and adding those keys to a set of credentials called a profile. You can store multiple profiles in shared AWS credentials files or in the SDK Store.

You've several options for adding profiles to your AWS credentials:

  • Using the AWS Explorer interface available in the Toolkit for Visual Studio

  • Editing the credentials file with a text editor

  • Creating a profile with the aws configure command

Obtaining access keys for your profile

Toolkit for Visual Studio allows you to interact with a wide range of AWS services, so you should ensure that the IAM entity that's used has the necessary permissions to interact with those services. You can allow Toolkit for Visual Studio to access your AWS services by manually creating your own set of credentials called a profile. Profiles feature long-term credentials called access keys, which you can obtain from the IAM console.


The following procedure shows how you can use the IAM console to create access keys. You can also manage access keys using AWS CLI commands and AWS API operations. For more information, see Managing access keys for IAM users in the IAM User Guide.

To obtain access keys for a profile
  1. To get your access keys (consisting of an access key ID and secret access key), go to the IAM console at

  2. Choose Users from the navigation bar and then choose your AWS user name (not the check box).

  3. Choose the Security credentials tab, and then choose Create access key.


    If you already have an access key but you can't access your secret key, make the old key inactive and create a new one.

  4. In the dialog box that shows your access key ID and secret access key, choose Download .csv file to store this information in a secure location.

After you've stored your access keys securely, you can then add them to the set of credentials defined by a profile.

Using AWS Explorer to add a profile to the SDK Store or the shared AWS credentials files

To add a profile to the SDK Credential Store or the shared AWS credentials file:

  1. To open AWS Explorer in Visual Studio, choose View, AWS Explorer.

  2. Choose the New Account Profile icon to the right of the Credentials: list.

    The New Account Profile dialog box opens.

  3. To create a credential profile, enter the following data into the dialog box and then choose OK.


    When you create an account in the AWS Management Console, or when you create an IAM user and set up credentials for the user, you are given the opportunity to download and save the generated credentials as a .csv file. (This is NOT the shared AWS credentials file.)

    If you have downloaded this file, you can choose Import from csv file... to browse for the file and automatically import the access key ID and secret access key into the dialog box.

    Profile Name

    (Required) The profile's display name.

    Storage Location

    (Required) Choose whether to use the SDK Credential Store or the shared AWS credentials file.

    Access Key ID

    (Required) The access key ID.

    Secret Access Key

    (Required) The secret access key.


    (Required) The default AWS Region that you want to associate this profile with.

    If the Regions that you're working with are not shown (for example, if you're working with GovCloud or a China-based Region), choose Show more regions. You can then choose a Partition, which changes the list of available Regions to choose from.

After you add the first profile, you can also do the following:

  • To add another profile, repeat the procedure.

  • To delete a profile, choose it in Credentials:, and then choose the Delete Profile icon.

  • To edit a profile, choose it in Credentials:, and then choose the Edit Profile icon to open the Edit Profile dialog box.

    For example, if you have rotated an IAM user's credentials—a recommended practice—you can edit the profile to update the user's credentials in the SDK Store or shared AWS credentials file. For more information, see IAM Credential Rotation.


    You can't edit a profile that supports advanced access features such as IAM Identity Center or MFA in the Edit Profile dialog box. For these types of profile, use your preferred text editor.

Adding a profile by editing the shared AWS credentials file

Instead of managing profiles with the Toolkit for Visual Studio interface, you can update credentials information by editing the shared AWS credentials file using your preferred text editor. On Windows systems, this file is called C:\Users\USERNAME\.aws\credentials.

This file should contain lines in the following format:

[default] aws_access_key_id = YOUR_ACCESS_KEY_ID aws_secret_access_key = YOUR_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY

You can use a role by creating a profile for the role. The following example shows a role profile named assumed-role that is assumed by the default profile.

[assume-role-test] role_arn = arn:aws:iam::123456789012:role/assumed-role source_profile = default

In this case, the default profile is an IAM user with credentials and permission to assume a role named assumed-role. To access the role, you create a named profile, in this case assume-role-test. Instead of configuring this profile with credentials, you specify the ARN of the role and the name of the profile that has access to it.

For an EC2 instance, specify an IAM role and then give your EC2 instance access to that role. See IAM Roles for Amazon EC2 in the Amazon EC2 User Guide for Linux Instances for a detailed discussion about how this works.

Using aws configure to create a profile

You can also use the AWS CLI command aws configure to create a profile named default in the credentials file.

When you enter aws configure at the command line, you're asked for four pieces of information:

  • Access key ID

  • Secret access key

  • AWS Region

  • Output format

The following example shows sample values:

$ aws configure AWS Access Key ID [None]: AKIAIOSFODNN7EXAMPLE AWS Secret Access Key [None]: wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY Default region name [None]: us-west-2 Default output format [None]: json

Toolkit for Visual Studio also supports the following configuration properties:

aws_access_key_id aws_secret_access_key aws_session_token credential_process credential_source external_id mfa_serial role_arn role_session_name source_profile sso_account_id sso_region sso_role_name sso_start_url

For more information, see Configuring the AWS CLI in the AWS Command Line Interface User Guide.