Get started with Azure CLI

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


In scripts and on the Microsoft documentation site, Azure CLI examples are written for the bash shell. One-line examples will run on any platform. Longer examples which include line continuations (\) or variable assignment need to be modified to work on other shells, including PowerShell.

Install or run in Azure Cloud Shell

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

When you're ready to install the CLI, see the installation instructions.

After installing the CLI for the first time, check that it's installed and you've got the correct version by running az --version.


If you're using the Azure classic deployment model, install the Azure classic CLI.

How to 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 see 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 to switch to. For more information about subscription selection, see Use multiple Azure subscriptions.

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

Common Azure CLI commands

This table lists some common commands used in the CLI and links to their reference documentation.

Resource type Azure CLI command group
Resource group az group
Virtual machines az vm
Storage accounts az storage account
Key Vault az keyvault
Web applications az webapp
SQL databases az sql server
CosmosDB az cosmosdb

Finding commands

Azure CLI commands are organized as commands of groups. Each group represents an Azure service, and commands operate on that service.

To search for commands, use az find. For example, to search for command names containing secret, use the following command:

az find secret

Use the --help argument to get a complete list of commands and subgroups of a group. For example, to find the CLI commands for working with Network Security Groups (NSGs):

az network nsg --help

The CLI has full tab completion for commands under the bash shell.

Globally available arguments

There are some arguments that are available for every command.

  • --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.

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 Azure CLI Interactive Mode.

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

Learn CLI basics with quickstarts and tutorials

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

There are also Quickstarts for other popular services.

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