Data elements and parameters - Amazon Systems Manager
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Data elements and parameters

This topic describes the data elements used in SSM documents. The schema version used to create a document defines the syntax and data elements that the document accepts. We recommend that you use schema version 2.2 or later for Command documents. Automation runbooks use schema version 0.3. Additionally, Automation runbooks support the use of Markdown, a markup language, which allows you to add wiki-style descriptions to documents and individual steps within the document. For more information about using Markdown, see Using Markdown in the Console in the Amazon Web Services Management Console Getting Started Guide.

The following section describes the data elements that you can include in a SSM document.

Top-level data elements


The schema version to use.

Type: Version

Required: Yes


Information you provide to describe the purpose of the document. You can also use this field to specify whether a parameter requires a value for a document to run, or if providing a value for the parameter is optional. Required and optional parameters can be seen in the examples throughout this topic.

Type: String

Required: No


A structure that defines the parameters the document accepts.

For parameters that you use often, we recommend that you store those parameters in Parameter Store, a capability of Amazon Systems Manager. Then, you can define parameters in your document that reference Parameter Store parameters as their default value. To reference a Parameter Store parameter, use the following syntax.


You can use a parameter that references a Parameter Store parameter the same way as any other document parameters. In the following example, the default value for the commands parameter is the Parameter Store parameter myShellCommands. By specifying the commands parameter as a runCommand string, the document runs the commands stored in the myShellCommands parameter.

--- schemaVersion: '2.2' description: runShellScript with command strings stored as Parameter Store parameter parameters: commands: type: StringList description: "(Required) The commands to run on the instance." default: ["{{ ssm:myShellCommands }}"] mainSteps: - action: aws:runShellScript name: runShellScriptDefaultParams inputs: runCommand: - "{{ commands }}"
{ "schemaVersion": "2.2", "description": "runShellScript with command strings stored as Parameter Store parameter", "parameters": { "commands": { "type": "StringList", "description": "(Required) The commands to run on the instance.", "default": ["{{ ssm:myShellCommands }}"] } }, "mainSteps": [ { "action": "aws:runShellScript", "name": "runShellScriptDefaultParams", "inputs": { "runCommand": [ "{{ commands }}" ] } } ] }

You can reference String and StringList Parameter Store parameters in the parameters section of your document. You can't reference SecureString Parameter Store parameters.

For more information about Parameter Store, see Amazon Systems Manager Parameter Store.

Type: Structure

The parameters structure accepts the following fields and values:

  • type: (Required) Allowed values include the following: String, StringList, Integer Boolean, MapList, and StringMap. To view examples of each type, see SSM document parameter type examples in the next section.


    Command type documents only support the String and StringList parameter types.

  • description: (Optional) A description of the parameter.

  • default: (Optional) The default value of the parameter or a reference to a parameter in Parameter Store.

  • allowedValues: (Optional) An array of values allowed for the parameter. Defining allowed values for the parameter validates the user input. If a user inputs a value that isn't allowed, the execution fails to start.

    DirectoryType: type: String description: "(Required) The directory type to launch." default: AwsMad allowedValues: - AdConnector - AwsMad - SimpleAd
    "DirectoryType": { "type": "String", "description": "(Required) The directory type to launch.", "default": "AwsMad", "allowedValues": [ "AdConnector", "AwsMad", "SimpleAd" ] }
  • allowedPattern: (Optional) A regular expression that validates whether the user input matches the defined pattern for the parameter. If the user input doesn't match the allowed pattern, the execution fails to start.


    Systems Manager performs two validations for allowedPattern. The first validation is performed using the Java regex library at the API level when you use a document. The second validation is performed on SSM Agent by using the GO regexp library before processing the document.

    InstanceId: type: String description: "(Required) The instance ID to target." allowedPattern: "^i-[a-z0-9]{8,17}$" default: ''
    "InstanceId": { "type": "String", "description": "(Required) The instance ID to target.", "allowedPattern": "^i-[a-z0-9]{8,17}$", "default": "" }
  • displayType: (Optional) Used to display either a textfield or a textarea in the Amazon Web Services Management Console. textfield is a single-line text box. textarea is a multi-line text area.

  • minItems: (Optional) The minimum number of items allowed.

  • maxItems: (Optional) The maximum number of items allowed.

  • minChars: (Optional) The minimum number of parameter characters allowed.

  • maxChars: (Optional) The maximum number of parameter characters allowed.

Required: No


(Schema version 0.3 only) Values you can reference or update throughout the steps in an Automation runbook. Variables are similar to parameters, but differ in a very important way. Parameter values are static in the context of a runbook, but the values of variables can be changed in the context of the runbook. When updating the value of a variable, the data type must match the defined data type. For information about updating variables values in an automation, see aws:updateVariable – Updates a value for a runbook variable

Type: Boolean | Integer | MapList | String | StringList | StringMap

Required: No

variables: payload: type: StringMap default: "{}"
{ "variables": [ "payload": { "type": "StringMap", "default": "{}" } ] }

(Schema version 1.2 only) The configuration for the instance as applied by one or more Systems Manager plugins. Plugins aren't guaranteed to run in sequence.

Type: Dictionary<string,PluginConfiguration>

Required: No


(Schema version 0.3, 2.0, and 2.2 only) An object that can include multiple steps (plugins). Plugins are defined within steps. Steps run in sequential order as listed in the document.

Type: Dictionary<string,PluginConfiguration>

Required: Yes


(Schema version 0.3 only) Data generated by the execution of this document that can be used in other processes. For example, if your document creates a new AMI, you might specify "CreateImage.ImageId" as the output value, and then use this output to create new instances in a subsequent automation execution. For more information about outputs, see Using action outputs as inputs.

Type: Dictionary<string,OutputConfiguration>

Required: No


(Schema version 0.3 only) The script files (and their checksums) attached to the document and run during an automation execution. Applies only to documents that include the aws:executeScript action and for which attachments have been specified in one or more steps.

For script runtime support, Automation runbooks support scripts for Python 3.7, Python 3.8, PowerShell Core 6.0, and PowerShell 7.0. For more information about including scripts in Automation runbooks, see Using scripts in runbooks and Using Document Builder to create runbooks.

When creating an Automation runbook with attachments, you must also specify attachment files using the --attachments option (for Amazon CLI) or Attachments (for API and SDK). You can specify the file location for both local files and files stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) buckets. For more information, see Attachments in the Amazon Systems Manager API Reference.

--- files: checksums: sha256: 18871b1311b295c43d0f...[truncated]...772da97b67e99d84d342ef4aEXAMPLE
"files": { "": { "checksums": { "sha256": "18871b1311b295c43d0f...[truncated]...772da97b67e99d84d342ef4aEXAMPLE" } } }

Type: Dictionary<string,FilesConfiguration>

Required: No

SSM document parameter type examples

Parameter types in SSM documents are static. This means the parameter type can't be changed after it's defined. When using parameters with SSM document plugins, the type of a parameter can't be dynamically changed within a plugin's input. For example, you can't reference an Integer parameter within the runCommand input of the aws:runShellScript plugin because this input accepts a string or list of strings. To use a parameter for a plugin input, the parameter type must match the accepted type. For example, you must specify a Boolean type parameter for the allowDowngrade input of the aws:updateSsmAgent plugin. If your parameter type doesn't match the input type for a plugin, the SSM document fails to validate and the system doesn't create the document. This is also true when using parameters downstream within inputs for other plugins or Amazon Systems Manager Automation actions. For example, you can't reference a StringList parameter within the documentParameters input of the aws:runDocument plugin. The documentParameters input accepts a map of strings even if the downstream SSM document parameter type is a StringList parameter and matches the parameter you're referencing.

When using parameters with Automation actions, parameter types aren't validated when you create the SSM document in most cases. Only when you use the aws:runCommand action are parameter types validated when you create the SSM document. In all other cases, the parameter validation occurs during the automation execution when an action's input is verified before running the action. For example, if your input parameter is a String and you reference it as the value for the MaxInstanceCount input of the aws:runInstances action, the SSM document is created. However, when running the document, the automation fails while validating the aws:runInstances action because the MaxInstanceCount input requires an Integer.

The following are examples of each parameter type.


A sequence of zero or more Unicode characters wrapped in quotation marks. For example, "i-1234567890abcdef0". Use backslashes to escape.

--- InstanceId: type: String description: "(Optional) The target EC2 instance ID."
"InstanceId":{ "type":"String", "description":"(Optional) The target EC2 instance ID." }

A list of String items separated by commas. For example, ["cd ~", "pwd"].

--- commands: type: StringList description: "(Required) Specify a shell script or a command to run." default: "" minItems: 1 displayType: textarea
"commands":{ "type":"StringList", "description":"(Required) Specify a shell script or a command to run.", "minItems":1, "displayType":"textarea" }

Accepts only true or false. Doesn't accept "true" or 0.

--- canRun: type: Boolean description: '' default: true
"canRun": { "type": "Boolean", "description": "", "default": true }

Integral numbers. Doesn't accept decimal numbers, for example 3.14159, or numbers wrapped in quotation marks, for example "3".

--- timeout: type: Integer description: The type of action to perform. default: 100
"timeout": { "type": "Integer", "description": "The type of action to perform.", "default": 100 }

A mapping of keys to values. Keys and values must be strings. For example, {"Env": "Prod"}.

--- notificationConfig: type: StringMap description: The configuration for events to be notified about default: NotificationType: 'Command' NotificationEvents: - 'Failed' NotificationArn: "$dependency.topicArn" maxChars: 150
"notificationConfig" : { "type" : "StringMap", "description" : "The configuration for events to be notified about", "default" : { "NotificationType" : "Command", "NotificationEvents" : ["Failed"], "NotificationArn" : "$dependency.topicArn" }, "maxChars" : 150 }

A list of StringMap objects.

blockDeviceMappings: type: MapList description: The mappings for the create image inputs default: - DeviceName: "/dev/sda1" Ebs: VolumeSize: "50" - DeviceName: "/dev/sdm" Ebs: VolumeSize: "100" maxItems: 2
"blockDeviceMappings":{ "type":"MapList", "description":"The mappings for the create image inputs", "default":[ { "DeviceName":"/dev/sda1", "Ebs":{ "VolumeSize":"50" } }, { "DeviceName":"/dev/sdm", "Ebs":{ "VolumeSize":"100" } } ], "maxItems":2 }

Viewing SSM Command document content

To preview the required and optional parameters for an Amazon Systems Manager (SSM) Command document, in addition to the actions the document runs, you can view the content of the document in the Systems Manager console.

To view SSM Command document content
  1. Open the Amazon Systems Manager console at

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Documents.


    If the Amazon Systems Manager home page opens first, choose the menu icon ( 
    The menu icon
  ) to open the navigation pane, and then choose Documents in the navigation pane.

  3. In the search box, select Document type, and then select Command.

  4. Choose the name of a document, and then choose the Content tab.

  5. In the content field, review the available parameters and action steps for the document.