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Welcome to the Ansible User Guide! This guide covers how to work with Ansible, including using the command line, working with inventory, interacting with data, writing tasks, plays, and playbooks; executing playbooks, and reference materials. This page outlines the most common situations and questions that bring readers to this section. If you prefer a traditional table of contents, you can find one at the bottom of the page.

Getting started

Writing tasks, plays, and playbooks

  • I’m writing my first playbook. What should I know before I begin?
  • I have a specific use case for a task or play:

    • Executing tasks with elevated privileges or as a different user with become
    • Repeating a task once for each item in a list with loops
    • Executing tasks on a different machine with delegation
    • Running tasks only when certain conditions apply with conditionals and evaluating conditions with tests
    • Grouping a set of tasks together with blocks
    • Running tasks only when something has changed with handlers
    • Changing the way Ansible handles failures
    • Setting remote environment values
  • I want to leverage the power of re-usable Ansible artifacts. How do I create re-usable files and roles?
  • I need to incorporate one file or playbook inside another. What is the difference between including and importing?
  • I want to run selected parts of my playbook. How do I add and use tags?

Working with inventory

  • I have a list of servers and devices I want to automate. How do I create inventory to track them?
  • I use cloud services and constantly have servers and devices starting and stopping. How do I track them using dynamic inventory?
  • I want to automate specific sub-sets of my inventory. How do I use patterns?

Interacting with data

  • I want to use a single playbook against multiple systems with different attributes. How do I use variables to handle the differences?
  • I want to retrieve data about my systems. How do I access Ansible facts?
  • I need to access sensitive data like passwords with Ansible. How can I protect that data with Ansible vault?
  • I want to change the data I have, so I can use it in a task. How do I use filters to transform my data?
  • I need to retrieve data from an external datastore. How do I use lookups to access databases and APIs?
  • I want to ask playbook users to supply data. How do I get user input with prompts?
  • I use certain modules frequently. How do I streamline my inventory and playbooks by setting default values for module parameters?

Executing playbooks

Once your playbook is ready to run, you may need to use these topics:

Advanced features and reference

Traditional Table of Contents

If you prefer to read the entire User Guide, here’s a list of the pages in order: