What is the Azure CLI?

The Azure CLI is a cross-platform command-line tool to connect to Azure and execute administrative commands on Azure resources. It allows the execution of commands through a terminal using interactive command-line prompts or a script.

For interactive use, you first launch a shell such as cmd.exe on Windows, or Bash on Linux or macOS, and then issue a command at the shell prompt. To automate repetitive tasks, you assemble the CLI commands into a shell script using the script syntax of your chosen shell, and then you execute the script.

You can install the Azure CLI locally on Linux, Mac, or Windows computers. It can also be used from a browser through the Azure Cloud Shell or run from inside a Docker container.

Current Version

The current version of the Azure CLI is 2.25.0. For information about the latest release, see the release notes. To find your installed version and see if you need to update, run az version.

Prepare your environment

Before running Azure CLI commands, you need to setup your environment.

  • Use Azure Cloud Shell using the bash environment.

    Launch Cloud Shell in a new window

  • If you prefer, install the Azure CLI to run CLI reference commands.

    • If you're using a local install, sign in with Azure CLI by using the az login command. To finish the authentication process, follow the steps displayed in your terminal. See Sign in with Azure CLI for additional sign-in options.
    • When you're prompted, install Azure CLI extensions on first use. For more information about extensions, see Use extensions with Azure CLI.
    • Run az version to find the version and dependent libraries that are installed. To upgrade to the latest version, run az upgrade.

Subscription syntax example

The Azure CLI syntax follows a simple reference name - command - parameter - parameter value pattern. For example, switching between subscriptions is often a common task. Here is the syntax.

az account set --subscription "my subscription name"

Now, how easy was that?! See Manage subscriptions with Azure CLI to learn more about using the Azure CLI to work with subscriptions and create management groups.

Role assignment syntax example

Another common use of the Azure CLI is managing role assignments.

az role assignment create --assignee servicePrincipalName --role Reader
az role assignment delete --assignee userSign-inName --role Contributor

See Create an Azure service principal with the Azure CLI for an in-depth turorial on managing service principals and role assignments.

PowerShell syntax comparison

Choose the right command-line tool explains the difference between tools and environments with an emphasis on the Azure CLI and Azure PowerShell. It also gives many side-by-side command comparisons. Here are two examples:

Command Azure CLI Azure PowerShell
Create Resource Group az group create --name <ResourceGroupName> --location eastus New-AzResourceGroup -Name <ResourceGroupName> -Location eastus
Create Azure Storage Account az storage account create --name <StorageAccountName> --resource-group <ResourceGroupName> --location eastus --sku Standard_LRS --kind StorageV2 New-AzStorageAccount -Name <StorageAccountName> -ResourceGroupName <ResourceGroupName> -Location eastus -SkuName Standard_LRS -Kind StorageV2

See Also