Rishab Kumar
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Rishab in Cloud

AWS CLI Cheat Sheet: Quick Reference Guide for Cloud Developers

AWS CLI Cheat Sheet: Quick Reference Guide for Cloud Developers

Quick reference guide to AWS CLI for EC2, S3 and IAM

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Rishab Kumar
·Mar 10, 2023·

6 min read

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With cloud computing becoming more popular and AWS being one of the leading cloud providers, it's essential for developers to understand how to use the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI).

The command line interface (CLI) is a powerful tool that allows developers to manage AWS resources and services from the command line, and it can greatly improve your workflow. However, with so many commands and options available, getting started can be overwhelming for beginners. This is where my AWS CLI Cheat Sheet comes into play. It provides you with a concise yet comprehensive reference guide covering the most commonly used AWS CLI commands for services like EC2, IAM and S3 in this blog. Whether you're new to AWS or an experienced developer looking to improve your workflow, this cheat sheet will help.


First, you will need to install the AWS CLI on your machine. You can find the instructions on how to install the latest version of AWS CLI:



curl "https://awscli.amazonaws.com/awscli-exe-linux-x86_64.zip" -o "awscliv2.zip"
unzip awscliv2.zip
sudo ./aws/install

Linux Arm

curl "https://awscli.amazonaws.com/awscli-exe-linux-aarch64.zip" -o "awscliv2.zip"
unzip awscliv2.zip
sudo ./aws/install


curl "https://awscli.amazonaws.com/AWSCLIV2.pkg" -o "AWSCLIV2.pkg"
sudo installer -pkg AWSCLIV2.pkg -target /


Download and run the AWS CLI MSI installer for Windows (64-bit)


Alternatively, you can run the msiexec command to run the MSI installer.

msiexec.exe /i https://awscli.amazonaws.com/AWSCLIV2.msi

Now that we have the AWS CLI installed, let's cover the important command to configure it with our AWS Account.

Configuring AWS CLI

In order to authenticate to our AWS account, you will need to generate an Access key and secret access key for an IAM user.

You can refer to the documentation from AWS on how to create Access keys for IAM users - Create an AWS access key (amazon.com).

The AWS CLI stores our information in a profile named default in the credentials file. By default, the information in this profile is used when you run an AWS CLI command that doesn't explicitly specify a profile to use.

The following example shows how you can configure the AWS CLI. Replace them with your own values:

$ aws configure
AWS Secret Access Key [None]: wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY
Default region name [None]: ca-central-1
Default output format [None]: json

We have the AWS CLI configured now to work with out AWS account. Let's go over the commands now to interact with AWS EC2, IAM and S3 services.



list all keypairs:

aws ec2 describe-key-pairs

create a keypair:

aws ec2 create-key-pair --key-name --output text

create a new local private/public keypair, using RSA 4096-bit:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096

import an existing keypair:

aws ec2 import-key-pair --key-name keyname_test --public-key-material file:///home/rkumar/id_rsa.pub

delete a keypair:

aws ec2 delete-key-pair --key-name


list all private AMI's, ImageId and Name tags:

aws ec2 describe-images --filter "Name=is-public,Values=false" --query 'Images[].[ImageId, Name]' --output text

delete an AMI, by ImageId:

aws ec2 deregister-image --image-id ami-00000000


list all instances (running, and not running):

aws ec2 describe-instances

list all instances running:

aws ec2 describe-instances --filters Name=instance-state-name,Values=running

create a new instance:

aws ec2 run-instances --image-id ami-a0b1234 --instance-type t2.micro --security-group-ids sg-00000000 --dry-run

stop an instance:

aws ec2 terminate-instances --instance-ids <instance_id>

list status of all instances:

aws ec2 describe-instance-status

list status of a specific instance:

aws ec2 describe-instance-status --instance-ids <instance_id>

list all running instance, Name tag and Public IP Address:

aws ec2 describe-instances --filters Name=instance-state-name,Values=running --query 'Reservations[].Instances[].[PublicIpAddress, Tags[?Key==Name].Value | [0] ]' --output text

Security Groups

list all security groups:

aws ec2 describe-security-groups

create a security group:

aws ec2 create-security-group --vpc-id vpc-1a2b3c4d --group-name web-access --description "web access"

list details about a securty group:

aws ec2 describe-security-groups --group-id sg-0000000

open port 80, for everyone:

aws ec2 authorize-security-group-ingress --group-id sg-0000000 --protocol tcp --port 80 --cidr

get my public ip:

my_ipaddress=$(dig +short myip.opendns.com @resolver1.opendns.com); echo $my_ipaddress

open port 22, just for my ip:

aws ec2 authorize-security-group-ingress --group-id sg-0000000 --protocol tcp --port 80 --cidr $my_ipaddress/24

remove a firewall rule from a group:

aws ec2 revoke-security-group-ingress --group-id sg-0000000 --protocol tcp --port 80 --cidr

delete a security group:

aws ec2 delete-security-group --group-id sg-00000000



list all user's info:

aws iam list-users

list all user's usernames:

aws iam list-users --output text | cut -f 6

list current user's info:

aws iam get-user

list current user's access keys:

aws iam list-access-keys

crate new user:

aws iam create-user --user-name UserName

create multiple new users, from a file:

allUsers=$(cat ./user-names.txt) for userName in $allUsers; do aws iam create-user --user-name $userName done

list all users:

aws iam list-users --no-paginate

get a specific user's info:

aws iam get-user --user-name UserName

delete one user:

aws iam delete-user --user-name UserName

delete all users:

allUsers=$(aws iam list-users --output text | cut -f 6);
allUsers=$(cat ./user-names.txt) for userName in $allUsers; do aws iam delete-user 
--user-name $userName done

Access Keys

list all access keys:

aws iam list-access-keys

list access keys of a specific user:

aws iam list-access-keys --user-name UserName

create a new access key:

aws iam create-access-key --user-name UserName --output text | tee UserName.txt

list last access time of an access key:

aws iam get-access-key-last-used --access-key-id AKSZZRR7RKZY4EXAMPLE

deactivate an access key:

aws iam update-access-key --access-key-id AKIZNAA7RKZY4EXAMPLE --status Inactive --user-name UserName

delete an access key:

aws iam delete-access-key --access-key-id AKIZNAA7RKZY4EXAMPLE --user-name UserName

Group and Policies

list all groups:

aws iam list-groups

create a group:

aws iam create-group --group-name GroupName

delete a group:

aws iam delete-group --group-name GroupName

list all policies:

aws iam list-policies

get a specific policy:

aws iam get-policy --policy-arn

list all users, groups, and roles, for a given policy:

aws iam list-entities-for-policy --policy-arn

list policies, for a given group:

aws iam list-attached-group-policies --group-name GroupName

add a policy to a group:

aws iam attach-group-policy --group-name GroupName --policy-arn arn:aws:iam::aws:policy/AdministratorAccess

add a user to a group:

aws iam add-user-to-group --group-name GroupName --user-name UserName

list users, for a given group:

aws iam get-group --group-name GroupName

list groups, for a given user:

aws iam list-groups-for-user --user-name UserName

remove a user from a group:

aws iam remove-user-from-group --group-name GroupName --user-name UserName

remove a policy from a group:

aws iam detach-group-policy --group-name GroupName --policy-arn arn:aws:iam::aws:policy/AdministratorAccess

delete a group:

aws iam delete-group --group-name GroupName


list buckets:

aws s3 ls

list bucket content:

aws s3 ls s3://<bucketName>

make bucket:

aws s3 mb s3://<bucketName>

remove empty bucket:

aws s3 rb s3://<bucketName>

copy to bucket:

aws s3 cp <object> s3://<bucketName>

copy from bucket:

aws s3 cp s3://<bucketName>/<object> <destination>

move object:

aws s3 mv s3://<bucketName>/<object> <destination>

sync objects:

aws s3 sync <local> s3://<bucketName>

removed objects:

aws s3 rm s3://<bucketName>/<object>

You can download the PDF verision of the AWS CLI cheat-sheets here:

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Happy Coding!

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