Skip to main content

AWS CloudFormation CLI

Project description

AWS CloudFormation CLI

The missing CloudFormation CLI.

Official cfncli is not designed to manage stacks at this point.



awscfncli helps build and manage AWS CloudFormation stacks.


  • Manage stacks in different accounts and regions use single YAML config file.
  • Cross-stack parameter reference works cross-region and cross-account.
  • Organize stack using stages and blueprints.
  • Automatically package and upload template resources.
  • Push button SAM deployment using stack sync command.
  • Display and track stack events in the CLI.
  • List stack resources, outputs and exports in the CLI.


Install from pypi:

pip install --user --pre awscfncli2 

When install globally, use pipx is recommended:

pipx install awscfncli2 




To view a list of available subcommands, use:

cfn-cli COMMAND --help


  • -f, --file: Specify an alternate config file.
  • -s, --stack: Specify stacks to operate on, defined by STAGE_NAME.STACK_NAME, default value is *, which means all stacks in all stages.
  • --profile: Override AWS profile specified in the config or environment variable AWS_PROFILE.
  • --region: Override AWS region specified in the config.
  • --artifact-store: Override bucket used for template transform/packaging specified in the config.
  • --verbose: Be more verbose.

Options can also be specified using environment variables:

CFN_STACK=Default.Table1 cfn-cli stack deploy

By default, cfn-cli tries to locate cfn-cli.yml or cfn-cli.yaml file in current directory, override this use -f.

Stack Selector

Individual stack can be selected using full qualified name:

cfn-cli -s Default.Table2 status

Or, select stacks use Unix globs:

cfn-cli -s Default.Table* status
cfn-cli -s Def*.Table1 status

If . is missing from stack selector, cfn-cli will assume stage name * is specified.


Use --help to see help on a particular command.

  • generate - Generate sample configuration file.
  • status - Print stack status and resources.
  • validate - Validate template file.
  • stack - Stack operations.
    • sync -Apply changes using ChangeSets
    • deploy - Deploy new stacks.
    • update - Update existing stacks.
    • tail - Print stack events.
    • delete - Delete stacks.
    • cancel - Cancel stack update.
  • drift - Drift detection.
    • detect - Detect stack drifts.
    • diff - Show stack resource drifts.

Auto Completion

Auto completion is supported by click_completion, supported shells are: bash, zsh , fish and Powershell.

To install auto completion, run this in target shell:

> cfn-cli --install-completion
fish completion installed in /Users/Bob/.config/fish/completions/

Supported completion:

  • Commands and sub commands:

    > cfn-cli drift d<TAB><TAB> 
    detect  (Detect stack drifts.)  diff  (Show stack resource drifts.)
  • Options and parameters:

    > cfn-cli stack deploy --<TAB> <TAB>
    --disable-rollback  (Disable rollback if stack creation failed. You can specify ei…)
    --help                                                 (Show this message and exit.)
    --ignore-existing               (Don't exit with error if the stack already exists.)
    --no-wait                                (Exit immediately after deploy is started.)
    --on-failure  (Determines what action will be taken if stack creation fails. This …)
    --timeout-in-minutes  (The amount of time in minutes that can pass before the stac…)
  • Parameter choices:

    > cfn-cli stack deploy --on-failure <TAB> <TAB>
  • Dynamic complete for --profile by search profile name in awscli config:

    > cfn-cli -p <TAB><TAB>
  • Dynamic complete for --stack by search stack name in cfn-cli config:

    > cfn-cli -s <TAB><TAB>
    Develop.ApiBackend-Develop           (ApiBackend-Develop)
    Production.ApiBackend-Production  (ApiBackend-Production)
    Staging.ApiBackend-Staging           (ApiBackend-Staging)

Automatic Packaging

If a template contains property which requires a S3 url or text block, Set stack Package parameter to True tells cfn-cli to package the resource automatically and upload to a S3 artifact bucket, and S3 object location is inserted into the resource location.

This feature is particular useful when your property is a lambda source code, SQL statements or some kind of configuration.

By default, the artifact bucket is awscfncli-${AWS_ACCOUNT_ID}-${AWS_RERION}, and it will be created automatically on first run. Override the default bucket using ArtifactStore parameter.

The following resource property are supported by awscfncli and official aws cloudformation package command:

  • BodyS3Location property for the AWS::ApiGateway::RestApi resource
  • Code property for the AWS::Lambda::Function resource
  • CodeUri property for the AWS::Serverless::Function resource
  • ContentUri property for the AWS::Serverless::LayerVersion resource
  • DefinitionS3Location property for the AWS::AppSync::GraphQLSchema resource
  • RequestMappingTemplateS3Location property for the AWS::AppSync::Resolver resource
  • ResponseMappingTemplateS3Location property for the AWS::AppSync::Resolver resource
  • DefinitionUri property for the AWS::Serverless::Api resource
  • Location parameter for the AWS::Include transform
  • SourceBundle property for the AWS::ElasticBeanstalk::ApplicationVersion resource
  • TemplateURL property for the AWS::CloudFormation::Stack resource
  • Command.ScriptLocation property for the AWS::Glue::Job resource

To package a template build by awssamcli, point Template parameter to sam build output.


awscfncli uses a YAML config file to manage which stacks to deploy and how to deploy them. By default, it is cfn-cli.yml.


The config is composed of the following elements, Version, Stages and Blueprints.

  • Version (required): Version of cfn-cli config, support 2 and 3 now.
  • Stages (required): Definition of the stack to be deployed.
  • Blueprints (optional): Template of the stack.

The following is a simple example of a typical config:

Version: 3

      Template: DynamoDB_Table.yaml
      Region: us-east-1
        HashKeyElementName: id
      Template: DynamoDB_Secondary_Indexes.yaml
      Region: us-east-1
      StackPolicy: stack_policy.json
        - AWS::DynamoDB::Table
        ReadCapacityUnits: 10

A stage could have multiple stacks. In the above example, Stage Default have two stacks DDB and DDB2ndIdx. Stack name could be customized and should contain only alpha and numbers.

Each stack may have the following attributes.

  • Attributes introduced by awscfncli:
    • Profile: Profile name of your aws credential
    • Region: Eg. us-east-1
    • Package: Automatically package your template or not
    • ArtifactStore: Name of S3 bucket to store packaged files
    • Order: Deployment order of stacks
    • Extends: Extend a blueprint
  • Attributes introduced by boto3:

Blueprints and Inheritance

Blueprint serves as a template of a common stack. A stack could extends a stack and override its attributes with its own attributes.

  • Inheritance behaviors:

    • scalar value: replace
    • dict value: update
    • list value: extend
  • Special attributes:

    • Capabilities: replace

For example, please refer to Blueprints Example

Stages and Ordering

Stage and stacks could be deployed according to the order you specified. Order numbers are positive integers. cfn-cli will deploy stacks in stages with lower order first and in each stage stacks with lower order will be deployed first.

  • Stage Order
  • Stack Order
            Order: 1
                Order: 1
                Order: 2
            Order: 2

For examples, please refer to Order Example

Cross Stack Reference

In many cases, a stack's input parameter depends on output from other stacks during deployment. Cross stack reference allows stacks collect their inputs from outputs form other stacks, including stacks deployed to other region and account.

An stack parameter can reference ouputs of another stack in same configuration file by using the following syntax:

        VpcId: ${StageName.StackName.OutputName}

This feature make managing related cross-account and/or cross-region stacks much easier. See VPC peering and CodePipeline for example.

Note: Take care of the order of deployment so eferenced stack is deployed first.

Breaking Changes in 3.0

Generally only major version changes cli and config syntax, and support of last config version is gaunteered.


  • stack describe is depecated, use status instead.
  • sync now defaults to --confirm, use --no-confirm to overwrite this.

Breaking Changes in 2.1


  • cfn is renamed to cfn-cli to avoid conflict with troposphere.
  • template command is removed.
  • changeset command is removed, replaced by sync command.
  • Because config file supports multiple stages and stacks, stack selector must be specified when you want to operate a subset of stacks.


"Cross stack reference" feature requires version 3:

Version: 3

Parameter NotificationARNs, ResourceTypes, RollbackConfiguration are supported now but no changes is required if old config file is not using them.

Breaking Changes in 2.0

New configuration file supports multiple stages and stacks, to convert an 0.x configure file to current version, do following:

  1. Add following block to the head of conf file and indent the rest properly:
Version: 3
    << old config file >>
  1. Change any TemplateURL or TemplateBody parameter to Template:


  Region:               us-east-1
  StackName:            SampleIAMUsersGroupsAndPolicies
  Capabilities:         [CAPABILITY_IAM]


Version: 2
      Region:               us-east-1
      StackName:            SampleIAMUsersGroupsAndPolicies
      Capabilities:         [CAPABILITY_IAM]

Project details

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Source Distribution

awscfncli2-3.1.1.tar.gz (45.9 kB view hashes)

Uploaded source

Built Distribution

awscfncli2-3.1.1-py2.py3-none-any.whl (60.8 kB view hashes)

Uploaded py2 py3

Supported by

AWS AWS Cloud computing and Security Sponsor Datadog Datadog Monitoring Fastly Fastly CDN Google Google Download Analytics Microsoft Microsoft PSF Sponsor Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Sentry Sentry Error logging StatusPage StatusPage Status page