Get started with Azure CLI

Welcome to the Azure Command-Line Interface (CLI)! This article introduces the CLI and helps you complete common tasks.

Install or run in Azure Cloud Shell

The easiest way to learn how to use the Azure CLI is by running a Bash environment in Azure Cloud Shell through your browser. To learn about Cloud Shell, see Quickstart for Bash in Azure Cloud Shell.

When you're ready to install the Azure CLI, see the installation instructions for Windows, Linux, macOS, and Docker container. If you're using the Azure classic deployment model, install the Azure classic CLI.

Check your version by running az --version. Azure Cloud Shell always has the latest version of the Azure CLI preinstalled.

az version

Sign into the Azure CLI

Before using any Azure CLI commands with a local install, you need to sign in with az login.

  1. Run the az login command.

    az login

    If the Azure CLI can open your default browser, it initiates authorization code flow and opens the default browser to load an Azure sign-in page.

    Otherwise, it initiates the device code flow and instructs you to open a browser page at Then, enter the code displayed in your terminal.

    If no web browser is available or the web browser fails to open, you may force device code flow with az login --use-device-code.

  2. Sign in with your account credentials in the browser.

After logging in, you receive a list of subscriptions associated with your Azure account. The subscription information with isDefault: true is the currently activated subscription after logging in. To select another subscription, use the az account set command with the subscription ID of the desired account. For more information about subscription selection, see Manage Azure subscriptions.

There are ways to sign in non-interactively, which are covered in detail in Sign in with Azure CLI.

Find commands

Azure CLI commands are organized as command groups. Each group represents an area of an Azure service. There are two options to find command groups:

  • Use the az find command. For example, to search for command names containing vm, use the following command:

    az find vm
  • Use the --help argument to get a complete list of subgroups within a reference group. This example returns all the subgroups for virtual machines:

    az vm --help

    Here is example output with lines omitted for brevity:

      application            : Manage applications for VM.
      availability-set       : Group resources into availability sets.
      boot-diagnostics       : Troubleshoot the startup of an Azure Virtual Machine.

    Here's another example that finds the Azure CLI commands for grouping virtual machines into availability sets, a subgroup of az vm:

    az vm availability-set --help

    Also use --help to get parameter lists and command examples for a reference command.

    az vm create --help

    Here is example output with lines omitted for brevity:

        --name  [Required] : Name of the virtual machine.
    Authentication Arguments
        --admin-password   : Password for the VM if authentication type is 'Password'.
        --admin-username   : Username for the VM...
    Managed Service Identity Arguments
        Create a VM from a custom managed image.
          az vm create -g MyResourceGroup -n MyVm --image MyImage
  • Use the A to Z reference index that lists all command groups alphabetically.

Find published samples and articles

If you prefer to learn Azure CLI syntax by seeing tested published examples, there are two indexes of article content:

Use tab completion

The CLI has full tab completion for commands in a Bash environment. To enable tab completion in a PowerShell environment, see Enable tab completion in PowerShell.

Be aware of globally available arguments

There are some arguments that are available for most commands.

  • --help prints CLI reference information about commands and their arguments and lists available subgroups and commands.

  • --output changes the output format. The available output formats are json, jsonc (colorized JSON), tsv (Tab-Separated Values), table (human-readable ASCII tables), and yaml. By default the CLI outputs json. To learn more about the available output formats, see Output formats for Azure CLI.

  • --query uses the JMESPath query language to filter the output returned from Azure services. To learn more about queries, see Query command results with Azure CLI and the JMESPath tutorial.

  • --verbose prints information about resources created in Azure during an operation, and other useful information.

  • --debug prints even more information about CLI operations, used for debugging purposes. If you find a bug, provide output generated with the --debug flag on when submitting a bug report. It can be used, for example, to identify the REST API that the command executed is invoking underneath, and the response received from the service.

  • --subscription is the name or ID of a subscription. For more information about setting your default subscription, see Manage Azure subscriptions with the Azure CLI.

  • --only-show-errors suppresses warnings in command output and only shows errors.

Use interactive mode

The CLI offers an interactive mode that automatically displays help information and makes it easier to select subcommands. You enter interactive mode with the az interactive command.

az interactive

For more information on interactive mode, see Run the Azure CLI in Interactive Mode.

There's also a Visual Studio Code plugin that offers an interactive experience, including autocomplete and mouse-over documentation.

Learn Azure CLI basics with quickstarts and tutorials

To learn how to use the Azure CLI, try our onboarding tutorial that teaches you the following skills while working with Azure Storage:


In scripts and on the Microsoft documentation site, Azure CLI examples are written for the Bash shell. Most one-line examples will run on any platform. Longer examples which include line continuations (\), variable assignment, or quotes need to be modified to work in other shells, including PowerShell. For more information on syntax differences between environments, see Learn syntax differences between Bash, PowerShell, and Cmd.

Give feedback

We welcome your feedback for the CLI to help us make improvements and resolve bugs. You can file an issue on GitHub or use the built-in features of the CLI to leave general feedback with the az feedback command.

az feedback

See also