Overview: Azure CLI reference types and status

The Azure CLI has different reference types, which are sometimes described interchangeably with reference status. This article explains the difference between an Azure CLI type and a status, and provides information for working with both.

Azure CLI syntax components

The Azure CLI syntax is a combination of references, commands, and parameters. Often the full reference command is referred to as command.

Azure Service Reference Reference subservice Command Full reference command Parameter Examples
Azure CLI az configure az configure --defaults, --list-default, --scope
Azure Network az network application-gateway create az network application-gateway create --name, --resource-group, --capacity
Azure DevOps Server az pipelines agent list az pipelines agent list --pool-id, --agent-name, --demands

Reference types

A reference type tells you if the reference command is part of the primary Azure CLI service, or if it is an optional add-on. There are two types of Azure CLI reference commands: core and extension.

Core Extension
References Are part of the primary Azure CLI service Are optional reference commands that must be installed
Install Jointly with the MSI installer Individually with az extension add
Released On a schedule As new features or updates become available
Status Can be GA (Generally Available), preview or experimental Also can be GA, preview or experimental

All Azure CLI references can be run in Windows, macOS, Linux, Docker, and Azure Cloud Shell.


Azure CLI references that have been published as a permanent part of the CLI are called core references. All core references install with the Azure CLI and you cannot choose a subset of references. If you run the CLI through Azure Cloud Shell, core references are always up to date. See Core reference list for the Azure CLI for a complete list of core reference commands.


Extensions aren't shipped as part of the CLI but run as CLI commands. Some extensions are a permanent part of the Azure CLI, but often, an extension will give you access to private preview and experimental commands. A single reference, such as az iot hub, can have both core and extension commands. Here are a four examples:

Full reference command Is Core Is Extension
az iot hub list yes
az iot hub query yes
az iot hub certificate create yes
az iot hub device identify create yes


You must install an extension prior to use by running the az extension add command.

You can learn more about extension references including installation and updating in Use extensions with the Azure CLI. See Available extensions for the Azure CLI for a complete list of extension reference commands.

Reference status

Regardless of type, Azure CLI references fall into three status categories: GA (Generally Available), public preview or experimental. It is the reference command status, not type, that determines stability and support level.

GA Public preview Experimental
Stability Permanent Can change in response to customer feedback. Is subject to the terms of Microsoft Azure Previews. Can change in response to customer feedback. Will often migrate to public preview. Can be removed.
Support level Full Partial None

Although most commands and parameters for a single reference have a single status, this is not always the case. A GA reference that is being built out to offer more commands can have GA, preview, and experimental reference commands. As new parameters are added to increase functionality, a single command can also have parameters that fall under different status categories. Here are example references that have different statuses:

Full reference command Parameters Type GA Public preview Experimental
az network dns zone list All Core yes
az network dns zone create --name, --resource-group, --if-none-match, --parent-name Core yes
--newFutureParameter1 Core yes
--newFutureParameter2 Core yes
az network vhub list All Extension yes
az network vhub create --address-prefix, --name, --resource-group, -vwan, --location, --sku Extension yes
--newFutureParameter1 Extension yes
--newFutureParameter2 Extension yes
az network firewall create All Extension yes


Warnings indicating public preview or experimental are part of the Azure CLI command output and should be expected.

See also