Enhance your AWS-CLI experience with SAWS

In our last post, we were looking at the features of the AWS-CLI interface which is a great tool for managing and scripting tasks for your AWS infrastructure from the command line. However, in some cases it can be difficult to be at your most  productive level. This is because it is so hard to find a command that you need within 50+ commands and 1400+ sub-commands that are available and also with multiple command specific options.


To make it easier to work with the AWS CLI  – without having to constantly google for a command that you don’t remember – Donne Martin developed a wrapper for CLI – SAWS that is packed with multiple tools that are designed to make the Command line experience much better. The quality of this utility was recognized by the AWS team, and they invited Donne to come and work on the aws-shell tool. The aim is the same – to make day-to-day work with Amazon Web Services easier for users.

SAWS functionalities include:

  • Commands and options auto-completion


  • Syntax highlighting


  • AWS resources auto-completion like S3 Buckets and EC2 instances tags and Ids


  • Shortcuts support (all shortcuts are available in ~/.saws.shortcuts file)
  • Command history


  • Contextual help – you can type in this command:
aws s3api get-bucket-acl help

To get help page about selected command

Also, when you want to get info from aws online documentation about a command, instead of going to google and searching for what interests you – you can just type aws <command> <subcommand> docs in saws and it will open aws documentation page related to selected command-subcommand. For example, when you’ll type:

aws s3api get-bucket-acl

It will open this page.


SAWS is developed with python and to install it on your machine you can use python package manager – pip

pip install saws

Because SAWS is using AWS-CLI under the hood – if you already have it configured – there is no need to additionaly configure SAWS to start.

If you want to use other profile than default you can just use this command:

$ export AWS_DEFAULT_PROFILE=user1
$ saws

As you can see SAWS make it much more easy to work with your AWS. Of course, soon it might be replaced with aws-shell which will incorporate SAWS step-by-step but at the moment SAWS is your one stop shop for sleek command line experience with your AWS.

About CloudRanger

CloudRanger are specialists in automation and scheduling for your Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud resources. Easily schedule your AWS cloud servers to start, stop and manage snapshots automatically. We also offer a range of cloud consulting services that are focused on helping small and medium businesses move to Amazon Web Services to gain strategic advantage for their business through lower costs or scalability.

We offer a 14-day free trial, so you can try out our services for yourselves. This will help you get a feel for what we do, and how we can help.



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