Using quotation marks with strings in the Amazon CLI - Amazon Command Line Interface
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Using quotation marks with strings in the Amazon CLI

There are primarily two ways single and double quotes are used in the Amazon CLI.

Using quotation marks around strings that contain white spaces

Parameter names and their values are separated by spaces on the command line. If a string value contains an embedded space, then you must surround the entire string with quotation marks to prevent the Amazon CLI from misinterpreting the space as a divider between the value and the next parameter name. Which type of quotation mark you use depends on the operating system you are running the Amazon CLI on.

Linux and macOS

Use single quotation marks ' '

$ aws ec2 create-key-pair --key-name 'my key pair'

For more information on using quotes, see the user documentation for your preferred shell.

PowerShell

Single quotations (recommended)

Single quotation marks ' ' are called verbatim strings. The string is passed to the command exactly as you type it, which means PowerShell variables will not pass through.

PS C:\> aws ec2 create-key-pair --key-name 'my key pair'

Double quotations

Double quotation marks " " are called expandable string. Variables can be passed in expandable strings.

PS C:\> aws ec2 create-key-pair --key-name "my key pair"

For more information on using quotes, see About Quoting Rules in the Microsoft PowerShell Docs.

Windows command prompt

Use double quotation marks " " .

C:\> aws ec2 create-key-pair --key-name "my key pair"

Optionally, you can separate the parameter name from the value with an equals sign = instead of a space. This is typically necessary only if the value of the parameter starts with a hyphen.

$ aws ec2 delete-key-pair --key-name=-mykey

Using quotation marks inside strings

Strings might contain quotation marks, and your shell might require escaping quotations for them to work properly. One of the common parameter value types is a JSON string. This is complex since it includes spaces and double quotation marks " " around each element name and value in the JSON structure. The way you enter JSON-formatted parameters on the command line differs depending on your operating system.

For more advanced JSON usage in the command line, consider using a command line JSON processor, like jq, to create JSON strings. For more information on jq, see the jq repository on GitHub.

Linux and macOS

For Linux and macOS to interpret strings literally use single quotation marks ' ' to enclose the JSON data structure, as in the following example. You do not need to escape double quotation marks embedded in the JSON string, as they are being treated literally. Since the JSON is enclosed in single quotation marks, any single quotation marks in the string will need to be escaped, this is usually accomplished using a backslash before the single quote \'.

$ aws ec2 run-instances \ --image-id ami-12345678 \ --block-device-mappings '[{"DeviceName":"/dev/sdb","Ebs":{"VolumeSize":20,"DeleteOnTermination":false,"VolumeType":"standard"}}]'

For more information on using quotes, see the user documentation for your preferred shell.

PowerShell

Use single quotation marks ' ' or double quotation marks " ".

Single quotations (recommended)

Single quotation marks ' ' are called verbatim strings. The string is passed to the command exactly as you type it, which means PowerShell variables will not pass through.

Since JSON data structures include double quotes, we suggest single quotation marks ' ' to enclose it. If you use single quotation marks, you do not need to escape double quotation marks embedded in the JSON string. However, you need to escape each single quotation mark with a backtick ` within the JSON structure.

PS C:\> aws ec2 run-instances ` --image-id ami-12345678 ` --block-device-mappings '[{"DeviceName":"/dev/sdb","Ebs":{"VolumeSize":20,"DeleteOnTermination":false,"VolumeType":"standard"}}]'

Double quotations

Double quotation marks " " are called expandable strings. Variables can be passed in expandable strings.

If you use double quotation marks, you do not need to escape single quotation marks embedded in the JSON string. However, you need to escape each double quotation mark with a backtick ` within the JSON structure, as with the following example.

PS C:\> aws ec2 run-instances ` --image-id ami-12345678 ` --block-device-mappings "[{`"DeviceName`":`"/dev/sdb`",`"Ebs`":{`"VolumeSize`":20,`"DeleteOnTermination`":false,`"VolumeType`":`"standard`"}}]"

For more information on using quotes, see About Quoting Rules in the Microsoft PowerShell Docs.

Warning

Before PowerShell sends a command to the Amazon CLI, it determines if your command is interpreted using typical PowerShell or CommandLineToArgvW quoting rules. When PowerShell processes using CommandLineToArgvW, you must escape characters with a backslash \.

For more information on CommandLineToArgvW in PowerShell, see What's up with the strange treatment of quotation marks and backslashes by CommandLineToArgvW in the Microsoft DevBlogs, Everyone quotes command line arguments the wrong way in the Microsoft Docs Blog, and CommandLineToArgvW function in the Microsoft Docs.

Single quotations

Single quotation marks ' ' are called verbatim strings. The string is passed to the command exactly as you type it, which means PowerShell variables will not pass through. Escape characters with a backslash \.

PS C:\> aws ec2 run-instances ` --image-id ami-12345678 ` --block-device-mappings '[{\"DeviceName\":\"/dev/sdb\",\"Ebs\":{\"VolumeSize\":20,\"DeleteOnTermination\":false,\"VolumeType\":\"standard\"}}]'

Double quotations

Double quotation marks " " are called expandable strings. Variables can be passed in expandable strings. For double quoted strings you have to escape twice using `\ for each quote instead of only using a backtick. The backtick escapes the backslash, and then the backslash is used as an escape character for the CommandLineToArgvW process.

PS C:\> aws ec2 run-instances ` --image-id ami-12345678 ` --block-device-mappings "[{`\"DeviceName`\":`\"/dev/sdb`\",`\"Ebs`\":{`\"VolumeSize`\":20,`\"DeleteOnTermination`\":false,`\"VolumeType`\":`\"standard`\"}}]"

Blobs (recommended)

To bypass PowerShell quoting rules for JSON data input, use Blobs to pass your JSON data directly to the Amazon CLI. For more information on Blobs, see Binary / blob (binary large object) and streaming blob .

Windows command prompt

The Windows command prompt requires double quotation marks " " to enclose the JSON data structure. Also, to prevent the command processor from misinterpreting the double quotation marks embedded in the JSON, you must also escape (precede with a backslash \ character) each double quotation mark " within the JSON data structure itself, as in the following example.

C:\> aws ec2 run-instances ^ --image-id ami-12345678 ^ --block-device-mappings "[{\"DeviceName\":\"/dev/sdb\",\"Ebs\":{\"VolumeSize\":20,\"DeleteOnTermination\":false,\"VolumeType\":\"standard\"}}]"

Only the outermost double quotation marks are not escaped.