Ansible CLI cheatsheet

This page shows one or more examples of each Ansible command line utility with some common flags added and a link to the full documentation for the command. This page offers a quick reminder of some common use cases only - it may be out of date or incomplete or both. For canonical documentation, follow the links to the CLI pages.


ansible-playbook -i /path/to/my_inventory_file -u my_connection_user -k -f 3 -T 30 -t my_tag -M /path/to/my_modules -b -K my_playbook.yml
Loads my_playbook.yml from the current working directory and:
  • -i - uses my_inventory_file in the path provided for inventory to match the pattern.

  • -u - connects over SSH as my_connection_user.

  • -k - asks for password which is then provided to SSH authentication.

  • -f - allocates 3 forks.

  • -T - sets a 30-second timeout.

  • -t - runs only tasks marked with the tag my_tag.

  • -M - loads local modules from /path/to/my/modules.

  • -b - executes with elevated privileges (uses become).

  • -K - prompts the user for the become password.

See ansible-playbook for detailed documentation.


Installing collections

  • Install a single collection:

ansible-galaxy collection install mynamespace.mycollection

Downloads mynamespace.mycollection from the configured Galaxy server ( by default).

  • Install a list of collections:

ansible-galaxy collection install -r requirements.yml

Downloads the list of collections specified in the requirements.yml file.

  • List all installed collections:

ansible-galaxy collection list

Installing roles

  • Install a role named example.role:

ansible-galaxy role install example.role

- extracting example.role to /home/user/.ansible/roles/example.role
- example.role was installed successfully
  • List all installed roles:

ansible-galaxy role list

See ansible-galaxy for detailed documentation.


Running ad-hoc commands

  • Install a package

ansible localhost -m ansible.builtin.apt -a "name=apache2 state=present" -b -K

Runs ansible localhost- on your local system. - name=apache2 state=present - installs the apache2 package on a Debian-based system. - -b - uses become to execute with elevated privileges. - -m - specifies a module name. - -K - prompts for the privilege escalation password.

localhost | SUCCESS => {
"cache_update_time": 1709959287,
"cache_updated": false,
"changed": false


  • Show plugin names and their source files:

ansible-doc -F
  • Show available plugins:

ansible-doc -t module -l