User Guide

Welcome to the Ansible User Guide! This guide covers how to work with Ansible, including using the command line, working with inventory, interacting with data, writing tasks, plays, and playbooks; executing playbooks, and reference materials. This page outlines the most common situations and questions that bring readers to this section. If you prefer a traditional table of contents, you can find one at the bottom of the page.

Getting started

Writing tasks, plays, and playbooks

  • I’m writing my first playbook. What should I know before I begin?

  • I have a specific use case for a task or play:

    • Executing tasks with elevated privileges or as a different user with become

    • Repeating a task once for each item in a list with loops

    • Executing tasks on a different machine with delegation

    • Running tasks only when certain conditions apply with conditionals and evaluating conditions with tests

    • Grouping a set of tasks together with blocks

    • Running tasks only when something has changed with handlers

    • Changing the way Ansible handles failures

    • Setting remote environment values

  • I want to leverage the power of re-usable Ansible artifacts. How do I create re-usable files and roles?

  • I need to incorporate one file or playbook inside another. What is the difference between including and importing?

  • I want to run selected parts of my playbook. How do I add and use tags?

Working with inventory

  • I have a list of servers and devices I want to automate. How do I create inventory to track them?

  • I use cloud services and constantly have servers and devices starting and stopping. How do I track them using dynamic inventory?

  • I want to automate specific sub-sets of my inventory. How do I use patterns?

Interacting with data

  • I want to use a single playbook against multiple systems with different attributes. How do I use variables to handle the differences?

  • I want to retrieve data about my systems. How do I access Ansible facts?

  • I need to access sensitive data like passwords with Ansible. How can I protect that data with Ansible vault?

  • I want to change the data I have, so I can use it in a task. How do I use filters to transform my data?

  • I need to retrieve data from an external datastore. How do I use lookups to access databases and APIs?

  • I want to ask playbook users to supply data. How do I get user input with prompts?

  • I use certain modules frequently. How do I streamline my inventory and playbooks by setting default values for module parameters?

Executing playbooks

Once your playbook is ready to run, you may need to use these topics:

Advanced features and reference

Traditional Table of Contents

If you prefer to read the entire User Guide, here’s a list of the pages in order: