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Quickly Configuring the AWS CLI

For general use, the aws configure command is the fastest way to set up your AWS CLI installation. The following example shows sample values. Replace them with your own values as described in the following sections.

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

When you enter this command, the AWS CLI prompts you for four pieces of information:

The AWS CLI stores this information in a profile (a collection of settings) named ‘default’. The information in the ‘default’ profile is used any time you run an AWS CLI command that doesn’t explicitly specify a profile to use.

Access Key and Secret Access Key

The AWS Access Key ID and AWS Secret Access Key are your AWS credentials. They are associated with an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) user or role that determines what permissions you have. Access keys consist of an access key ID and secret access key, which are used to sign programmatic requests that you make to AWS.


The Default region name identifies the AWS Region whose servers you want to send your requests to by default. This is typically the Region closest to you, but it can be any Region.

List of Available Regions

You must specify an AWS Region when using the AWS CLI, either explicitly or by setting a default Region. For a list of the available Regions:

Output Format

The ‘Default output format’ specifies how the results are formatted. The value can be any of the values in the following list. If you don’t specify an output format, ‘json’ is used as the default.


The output is formatted as multiple lines of tab-separated string values. This can be useful to pass the output to a text processor, like grep, sed, or awk.


The output is formatted as a table using the characters ‘+|-’ to form the cell borders. It typically presents the information in a "human-friendly" format that is much easier to read than the others, but not as programmatically useful.

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