If you have a large playbook it may become useful to be able to run a specific part of the configuration without running the whole playbook.

Both plays and tasks support a “tags:” attribute for this reason. You can ONLY filter tasks based on tags from the command line with --tags or --skip-tags. Adding “tags:” in any part of a play (including roles) adds those tags to the contained tasks.



    - yum:
        name: "{{ item }}"
        state: installed
         - httpd
         - memcached
         - packages

    - template:
        src: templates/src.j2
        dest: /etc/foo.conf
         - configuration

If you wanted to just run the “configuration” and “packages” part of a very long playbook, you could do this:

ansible-playbook example.yml --tags "configuration,packages"

On the other hand, if you want to run a playbook without certain tasks, you could do this:

ansible-playbook example.yml --skip-tags "notification"

Tag Reuse

You can apply the same tag name to more than one task, in the same file or included files. This will run all tasks with that tag.


# file: roles/common/tasks/main.yml

- name: be sure ntp is installed
    name: ntp
    state: installed
  tags: ntp

- name: be sure ntp is configured
    src: ntp.conf.j2
    dest: /etc/ntp.conf
    - restart ntpd
  tags: ntp

- name: be sure ntpd is running and enabled
    name: ntpd
    state: started
    enabled: yes
  tags: ntp

Tag Inheritance

You can apply tags to more than tasks, but they ONLY affect the tasks themselves. Applying tags anywhere else is just a convenience so you don’t have to write it on every task:

- hosts: all
    - bar

- hosts: all
  tags: ['foo']

You may also apply tags to the tasks imported by roles:

  - role: webserver
      port: 5000
    tags: [ 'web', 'foo' ]

And import statements:

- import_tasks: foo.yml
  tags: [web,foo]

All of these apply the specified tags to EACH task inside the play, imported file, or role, so that these tasks can be selectively run when the playbook is invoked with the corresponding tags.

There is no way to ‘import only these tags’; you probably want to split into smaller roles/includes if you find yourself looking for such a feature.

The above information does not apply to include_tasks or other dynamic includes, as the attributes applied to an include, only affect the include itself.

Tags are inherited down the dependency chain. In order for tags to be applied to a role and all its dependencies, the tag should be applied to the role, not to all the tasks within a role.

You can see which tags are applied to tasks by running ansible-playbook with the --list-tasks option. You can display all tags using the --list-tags option.

Special Tags

There is a special always tag that will always run a task, unless specifically skipped (--skip-tags always)



    - debug:
        msg: "Always runs"
        - always

    - debug:
        msg: "runs when you use tag1"
        - tag1

New in version 2.5.

Another special tag is never, which will prevent a task from running unless a tag is specifically requested.


  - debug: msg='{{ showmevar}}'
    tags: [ 'never', 'debug' ]

In this example, the task will only run when the debug or never tag is explicitly requested.

There are another 3 special keywords for tags: tagged, untagged and all, which run only tagged, only untagged and all tasks respectively.

By default, Ansible runs as if --tags all had been specified.

See also

Working With Playbooks
An introduction to playbooks
Playbook organization by roles
User Mailing List
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#ansible IRC chat channel