ansible.builtin.lineinfile module – Manage lines in text files

Note

This module is part of ansible-core and included in all Ansible installations. In most cases, you can use the short module name lineinfile even without specifying the collections: keyword. However, we recommend you use the FQCN for easy linking to the module documentation and to avoid conflicting with other collections that may have the same module name.

New in Ansible 0.7

Synopsis

  • This module ensures a particular line is in a file, or replace an existing line using a back-referenced regular expression.

  • This is primarily useful when you want to change a single line in a file only.

  • See the ansible.builtin.replace module if you want to change multiple, similar lines or check ansible.builtin.blockinfile if you want to insert/update/remove a block of lines in a file. For other cases, see the ansible.builtin.copy or ansible.builtin.template modules.

Parameters

Parameter

Comments

attributes

aliases: attr

string

added in Ansible 2.3

The attributes the resulting filesystem object should have.

To get supported flags look at the man page for chattr on the target system.

This string should contain the attributes in the same order as the one displayed by lsattr.

The = operator is assumed as default, otherwise + or - operators need to be included in the string.

backrefs

boolean

added in Ansible 1.1

Used with state=present.

If set, line can contain backreferences (both positional and named) that will get populated if the regexp matches.

This parameter changes the operation of the module slightly; insertbefore and insertafter will be ignored, and if the regexp does not match anywhere in the file, the file will be left unchanged.

If the regexp does match, the last matching line will be replaced by the expanded line parameter.

Mutually exclusive with search_string.

Choices:

  • false ← (default)

  • true

backup

boolean

Create a backup file including the timestamp information so you can get the original file back if you somehow clobbered it incorrectly.

Choices:

  • false ← (default)

  • true

create

boolean

Used with state=present.

If specified, the file will be created if it does not already exist.

By default it will fail if the file is missing.

Choices:

  • false ← (default)

  • true

firstmatch

boolean

added in Ansible 2.5

Used with insertafter or insertbefore.

If set, insertafter and insertbefore will work with the first line that matches the given regular expression.

Choices:

  • false ← (default)

  • true

group

string

Name of the group that should own the filesystem object, as would be fed to chown.

When left unspecified, it uses the current group of the current user unless you are root, in which case it can preserve the previous ownership.

insertafter

string

Used with state=present.

If specified, the line will be inserted after the last match of specified regular expression.

If the first match is required, use(firstmatch=yes).

A special value is available; EOF for inserting the line at the end of the file.

If specified regular expression has no matches, EOF will be used instead.

If insertbefore is set, default value EOF will be ignored.

If regular expressions are passed to both regexp and insertafter, insertafter is only honored if no match for regexp is found.

May not be used with backrefs or insertbefore.

Choices:

  • "EOF" ← (default)

  • "*regex*"

insertbefore

string

added in Ansible 1.1

Used with state=present.

If specified, the line will be inserted before the last match of specified regular expression.

If the first match is required, use firstmatch=yes.

A value is available; BOF for inserting the line at the beginning of the file.

If specified regular expression has no matches, the line will be inserted at the end of the file.

If regular expressions are passed to both regexp and insertbefore, insertbefore is only honored if no match for regexp is found.

May not be used with backrefs or insertafter.

Choices:

  • "BOF"

  • "*regex*"

line

aliases: value

string

The line to insert/replace into the file.

Required for state=present.

If backrefs is set, may contain backreferences that will get expanded with the regexp capture groups if the regexp matches.

mode

any

The permissions the resulting filesystem object should have.

For those used to /usr/bin/chmod remember that modes are actually octal numbers. You must either add a leading zero so that Ansible’s YAML parser knows it is an octal number (like 0644 or 01777) or quote it (like '644' or '1777') so Ansible receives a string and can do its own conversion from string into number.

Giving Ansible a number without following one of these rules will end up with a decimal number which will have unexpected results.

As of Ansible 1.8, the mode may be specified as a symbolic mode (for example, u+rwx or u=rw,g=r,o=r).

If mode is not specified and the destination filesystem object does not exist, the default umask on the system will be used when setting the mode for the newly created filesystem object.

If mode is not specified and the destination filesystem object does exist, the mode of the existing filesystem object will be used.

Specifying mode is the best way to ensure filesystem objects are created with the correct permissions. See CVE-2020-1736 for further details.

others

string

All arguments accepted by the ansible.builtin.file module also work here.

owner

string

Name of the user that should own the filesystem object, as would be fed to chown.

When left unspecified, it uses the current user unless you are root, in which case it can preserve the previous ownership.

path

aliases: dest, destfile, name

path / required

The file to modify.

Before Ansible 2.3 this option was only usable as dest, destfile and name.

regexp

aliases: regex

string

added in Ansible 1.7

The regular expression to look for in every line of the file.

For state=present, the pattern to replace if found. Only the last line found will be replaced.

For state=absent, the pattern of the line(s) to remove.

If the regular expression is not matched, the line will be added to the file in keeping with insertbefore or insertafter settings.

When modifying a line the regexp should typically match both the initial state of the line as well as its state after replacement by line to ensure idempotence.

Uses Python regular expressions. See https://docs.python.org/3/library/re.html.

search_string

string

added in ansible-core 2.11

The literal string to look for in every line of the file. This does not have to match the entire line.

For state=present, the line to replace if the string is found in the file. Only the last line found will be replaced.

For state=absent, the line(s) to remove if the string is in the line.

If the literal expression is not matched, the line will be added to the file in keeping with insertbefore or insertafter settings.

Mutually exclusive with backrefs and regexp.

selevel

string

The level part of the SELinux filesystem object context.

This is the MLS/MCS attribute, sometimes known as the range.

When set to _default, it will use the level portion of the policy if available.

serole

string

The role part of the SELinux filesystem object context.

When set to _default, it will use the role portion of the policy if available.

setype

string

The type part of the SELinux filesystem object context.

When set to _default, it will use the type portion of the policy if available.

seuser

string

The user part of the SELinux filesystem object context.

By default it uses the system policy, where applicable.

When set to _default, it will use the user portion of the policy if available.

state

string

Whether the line should be there or not.

Choices:

  • "absent"

  • "present" ← (default)

unsafe_writes

boolean

added in Ansible 2.2

Influence when to use atomic operation to prevent data corruption or inconsistent reads from the target filesystem object.

By default this module uses atomic operations to prevent data corruption or inconsistent reads from the target filesystem objects, but sometimes systems are configured or just broken in ways that prevent this. One example is docker mounted filesystem objects, which cannot be updated atomically from inside the container and can only be written in an unsafe manner.

This option allows Ansible to fall back to unsafe methods of updating filesystem objects when atomic operations fail (however, it doesn’t force Ansible to perform unsafe writes).

IMPORTANT! Unsafe writes are subject to race conditions and can lead to data corruption.

Choices:

  • false ← (default)

  • true

validate

string

The validation command to run before copying the updated file into the final destination.

A temporary file path is used to validate, passed in through ‘%s’ which must be present as in the examples below.

Also, the command is passed securely so shell features such as expansion and pipes will not work.

For an example on how to handle more complex validation than what this option provides, see Complex configuration validation.

Attributes

Attribute

Support

Description

check_mode

Support: full

Can run in check_mode and return changed status prediction without modifying target

diff_mode

Support: full

Will return details on what has changed (or possibly needs changing in check_mode), when in diff mode

platform

Platform: posix

Target OS/families that can be operated against

safe_file_operations

Support: full

Uses Ansible’s strict file operation functions to ensure proper permissions and avoid data corruption

vault

Support: none

Can automatically decrypt Ansible vaulted files

Notes

Note

  • As of Ansible 2.3, the dest option has been changed to path as default, but dest still works as well.

See Also

See also

ansible.builtin.blockinfile

The official documentation on the ansible.builtin.blockinfile module.

ansible.builtin.copy

The official documentation on the ansible.builtin.copy module.

ansible.builtin.file

The official documentation on the ansible.builtin.file module.

ansible.builtin.replace

The official documentation on the ansible.builtin.replace module.

ansible.builtin.template

The official documentation on the ansible.builtin.template module.

community.windows.win_lineinfile

The official documentation on the community.windows.win_lineinfile module.

Examples

# NOTE: Before 2.3, option 'dest', 'destfile' or 'name' was used instead of 'path'
- name: Ensure SELinux is set to enforcing mode
  ansible.builtin.lineinfile:
    path: /etc/selinux/config
    regexp: '^SELINUX='
    line: SELINUX=enforcing

- name: Make sure group wheel is not in the sudoers configuration
  ansible.builtin.lineinfile:
    path: /etc/sudoers
    state: absent
    regexp: '^%wheel'

- name: Replace a localhost entry with our own
  ansible.builtin.lineinfile:
    path: /etc/hosts
    regexp: '^127\.0\.0\.1'
    line: 127.0.0.1 localhost
    owner: root
    group: root
    mode: '0644'

- name: Replace a localhost entry searching for a literal string to avoid escaping
  ansible.builtin.lineinfile:
    path: /etc/hosts
    search_string: '127.0.0.1'
    line: 127.0.0.1 localhost
    owner: root
    group: root
    mode: '0644'

- name: Ensure the default Apache port is 8080
  ansible.builtin.lineinfile:
    path: /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
    regexp: '^Listen '
    insertafter: '^#Listen '
    line: Listen 8080

- name: Ensure php extension matches new pattern
  ansible.builtin.lineinfile:
    path: /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
    search_string: '<FilesMatch ".php[45]?$">'
    insertafter: '^\t<Location \/>\n'
    line: '        <FilesMatch ".php[34]?$">'

- name: Ensure we have our own comment added to /etc/services
  ansible.builtin.lineinfile:
    path: /etc/services
    regexp: '^# port for http'
    insertbefore: '^www.*80/tcp'
    line: '# port for http by default'

- name: Add a line to a file if the file does not exist, without passing regexp
  ansible.builtin.lineinfile:
    path: /tmp/testfile
    line: 192.168.1.99 foo.lab.net foo
    create: yes

# NOTE: Yaml requires escaping backslashes in double quotes but not in single quotes
- name: Ensure the JBoss memory settings are exactly as needed
  ansible.builtin.lineinfile:
    path: /opt/jboss-as/bin/standalone.conf
    regexp: '^(.*)Xms(\d+)m(.*)$'
    line: '\1Xms${xms}m\3'
    backrefs: yes

# NOTE: Fully quoted because of the ': ' on the line. See the Gotchas in the YAML docs.
- name: Validate the sudoers file before saving
  ansible.builtin.lineinfile:
    path: /etc/sudoers
    state: present
    regexp: '^%ADMIN ALL='
    line: '%ADMIN ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL'
    validate: /usr/sbin/visudo -cf %s

# See https://docs.python.org/3/library/re.html for further details on syntax
- name: Use backrefs with alternative group syntax to avoid conflicts with variable values
  ansible.builtin.lineinfile:
    path: /tmp/config
    regexp: ^(host=).*
    line: \g<1>{{ hostname }}
    backrefs: yes

Authors

  • Daniel Hokka Zakrissoni (@dhozac)

  • Ahti Kitsik (@ahtik)

  • Jose Angel Munoz (@imjoseangel)