Getting started with Amazon Python AWS CLI tool

The new Amazon AWS CLI tool coded in Python is far superior to the old Java implementation. The official docs can be found at but here’s a quick run down of how I install and configure:


or if you’re not using a virtual environment

You can also use easy_install in the same way if you prefer

Configure Environment Variables

Add the following to your .bash_profile, .bashrc, or .profile:

The key ID and secret key are required, the default region means you do not need to specify the region for every command, and the default output, changes the output type; it is set to JSON by default, which is fine for scripting, but not the best for reading in a terminal.

You can also just specify an environment variable to point to a config file and add the credentials and options there (see the github wiki)

Enable auto-complete

Add the following line to your .bash_profile, .bashrc or .profile

Finishing and test

To apply the changes to your environment and test, run the following:

The first command will apply the environment changes, the second should display all instances in the default region, using your default output type ( I prefer text). The final line should prompt to display all options, and then list all available AWS sub-commands.

About Matt

Cloud Systems Engineer at Reed Elsevier; cloud computing advocate, rock climber, swing dancer, amateur photographer, professional idiot....
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *