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Basic CLI Features

The command line interface to OpenTofu is the tofu command, which accepts a variety of subcommands such as tofu init or tofu plan.

To view a list of the commands available in your current OpenTofu version, run tofu with no additional arguments:

Code Block
Usage: tofu [global options] <subcommand> [args]

The available commands for execution are listed below.
The primary workflow commands are given first, followed by
less common or more advanced commands.

Main commands:
init Prepare your working directory for other commands
validate Check whether the configuration is valid
plan Show changes required by the current configuration
apply Create or update infrastructure
destroy Destroy previously-created infrastructure

All other commands:
console Try OpenTofu expressions at an interactive command prompt
fmt Reformat your configuration in the standard style
force-unlock Release a stuck lock on the current workspace
get Install or upgrade remote OpenTofu modules
graph Generate a Graphviz graph of the steps in an operation
import Associate existing infrastructure with a OpenTofu resource
login Obtain and save credentials for a remote host
logout Remove locally-stored credentials for a remote host
metadata Metadata related commands
output Show output values from your root module
providers Show the providers required for this configuration
refresh Update the state to match remote systems
show Show the current state or a saved plan
state Advanced state management
taint Mark a resource instance as not fully functional
untaint Remove the 'tainted' state from a resource instance
version Show the current OpenTofu version
workspace Workspace management

Global options (use these before the subcommand, if any):
-chdir=DIR Switch to a different working directory before executing the
given subcommand.
-help Show this help output, or the help for a specified subcommand.
-version An alias for the "version" subcommand.

(The output from your current OpenTofu version may be different than the above example.)

To get specific help for any specific command, use the -help option with the relevant subcommand. For example, to see help about the "validate" subcommand you can run tofu validate -help.

The inline help built in to OpenTofu CLI describes the most important characteristics of each command. For more detailed information, refer to each command's page for details.

Switching working directory with -chdir

The usual way to run OpenTofu is to first switch to the directory containing the .tf files for your root module (for example, using the cd command), so that OpenTofu will find those files automatically without any extra arguments.

In some cases though — particularly when wrapping OpenTofu in automation scripts — it can be convenient to run OpenTofu from a different directory than the root module directory. To allow that, OpenTofu supports a global option -chdir=... which you can include before the name of the subcommand you intend to run:

Code Block
tofu -chdir=environments/production apply

The chdir option instructs OpenTofu to change its working directory to the given directory before running the given subcommand. This means that any files that OpenTofu would normally read or write in the current working directory will be read or written in the given directory instead.

There are two exceptions where OpenTofu will use the original working directory even when you specify -chdir=...:

  • Settings in the CLI Configuration are not for a specific subcommand and OpenTofu processes them before acting on the -chdir option.

  • In case you need to use files from the original working directory as part of your configuration, a reference to path.cwd in the configuration will produce the original working directory instead of the overridden working directory. Use path.root to get the root module directory.

Shell Tab-completion

If you use either bash or zsh as your command shell, OpenTofu can provide tab-completion support for all command names and some command arguments.

To add the necessary commands to your shell profile, run the following command:

Code Block
tofu -install-autocomplete

After installation, it is necessary to restart your shell or to re-read its profile script before completion will be activated.

To uninstall the completion hook, assuming that it has not been modified manually in the shell profile, run the following command:

Code Block
tofu -uninstall-autocomplete