Basic CLI Features
Hands-on: Try the Terraform: Get Started tutorials.
The command line interface to Terraform is the
terraform command, which
accepts a variety of subcommands such as
terraform init or
We refer to the
terraform command line tool as "Terraform CLI" elsewhere
in the documentation. This terminology is often used to distinguish it from
other components you might use in the Terraform product family, such as
Terraform Cloud or
the various Terraform providers, which
are developed and released separately from Terraform CLI.
To view a list of the commands available in your current Terraform version,
terraform with no additional arguments:
Usage: terraform [global options] <subcommand> [args] The available commands for execution are listed below. The primary workflow commands are given first, followed by less common or more advanced commands. Main commands: init Prepare your working directory for other commands validate Check whether the configuration is valid plan Show changes required by the current configuration apply Create or update infrastructure destroy Destroy previously-created infrastructure All other commands: console Try Terraform expressions at an interactive command prompt fmt Reformat your configuration in the standard style force-unlock Release a stuck lock on the current workspace get Install or upgrade remote Terraform modules graph Generate a Graphviz graph of the steps in an operation import Associate existing infrastructure with a Terraform resource login Obtain and save credentials for a remote host logout Remove locally-stored credentials for a remote host metadata Metadata related commands output Show output values from your root module providers Show the providers required for this configuration refresh Update the state to match remote systems show Show the current state or a saved plan state Advanced state management taint Mark a resource instance as not fully functional untaint Remove the 'tainted' state from a resource instance version Show the current Terraform version workspace Workspace management Global options (use these before the subcommand, if any): -chdir=DIR Switch to a different working directory before executing the given subcommand. -help Show this help output, or the help for a specified subcommand. -version An alias for the "version" subcommand.
(The output from your current Terraform version may be different than the above example.)
To get specific help for any specific command, use the
-help option with the
relevant subcommand. For example, to see help about the "validate" subcommand
you can run
terraform validate -help.
The inline help built in to Terraform CLI describes the most important characteristics of each command. For more detailed information, refer to each command's page for details.
Switching working directory with
The usual way to run Terraform is to first switch to the directory containing
.tf files for your root module (for example, using the
cd command), so
that Terraform will find those files automatically without any extra arguments.
In some cases though — particularly when wrapping Terraform in automation
scripts — it can be convenient to run Terraform from a different directory than
the root module directory. To allow that, Terraform supports a global option
-chdir=... which you can include before the name of the subcommand you intend
terraform -chdir=environments/production apply
chdir option instructs Terraform to change its working directory to the
given directory before running the given subcommand. This means that any files
that Terraform would normally read or write in the current working directory
will be read or written in the given directory instead.
There are two exceptions where Terraform will use the original working directory
even when you specify
Settings in the CLI Configuration are not for a specific subcommand and Terraform processes them before acting on the
In case you need to use files from the original working directory as part of your configuration, a reference to
path.cwdin the configuration will produce the original working directory instead of the overridden working directory. Use
path.rootto get the root module directory.
If you use either
zsh as your command shell, Terraform can provide
tab-completion support for all command names and some command arguments.
To add the necessary commands to your shell profile, run the following command:
After installation, it is necessary to restart your shell or to re-read its profile script before completion will be activated.
To uninstall the completion hook, assuming that it has not been modified manually in the shell profile, run the following command:
Upgrade and Security Bulletin Checks
The Terraform CLI commands interact with the HashiCorp service Checkpoint to check for the availability of new versions and for critical security bulletins about the current version.
One place where the effect of this can be seen is in
terraform version, where
it is used by default to indicate in the output when a newer version is
Only anonymous information, which cannot be used to identify the user or host, is sent to Checkpoint. An anonymous ID is sent which helps de-duplicate warning messages. Both the anonymous id and the use of checkpoint itself are completely optional and can be disabled.
Checkpoint itself can be entirely disabled for all HashiCorp products by
setting the environment variable
CHECKPOINT_DISABLE to any non-empty value.
Alternatively, settings in the CLI configuration file can be used to disable checkpoint features. The following checkpoint-related settings are supported in this file:
disable_checkpoint- set to
trueto disable checkpoint calls entirely. This is similar to the
CHECKPOINT_DISABLEenvironment variable described above.
disable_checkpoint_signature- set to
trueto disable the use of an anonymous signature in checkpoint requests. This allows Terraform to check for security bulletins but does not send the anonymous signature in these requests.
The Checkpoint client code used by Terraform is available for review by any interested party.