Ansible - --vault-password-file command line option

The ansible-vault command can be used to perform a number of tasks.

Additionally, there are a few command line options to be aware of.

  • --ask-vault-pass - prompt for the vault password
  • --vault-id - use a specific users password in a file
  • --vault-password-file - use a single password in a file


This assumes you have created the Ansible Vault password file. Let's say the password file is:



A vault password file can be used to provide the vault password when:


For example, you can view an encrypted file (foo.txt) by including the --vault-password-file command line option and you will not be prompted for the vault password.

ansible-vault --vault-password-file /usr/local/vault/.vault_password.txt view foo.txt


Or, let's say you are using the --ask-pass flag with the ansible-playbook command.

ansible-playbook foo.yml --ask-pass


In this example, .vault_password.txt would be an unencrypted cleartext file that contains the password used to make an SSH connection to the managed nodes.

ansible-playbook foo.yml --vault-password-file /usr/local/vault/.vault_password.txt


Or, you could instead use the --vault-id command line option.

ansible-vault --vault-id test@/usr/local/vault/.vault_password.txt view foo.txt


Or, you could define vault_password_file your users personal ansible.cfg (e.g. /home/john.doe/ansible.cfg).

vault_password_file = /home/john.doe/.vault_password.txt


Or, you could define the ANSIBLE_VAULT_PASSWORD_FILE environment variable in your user's hidden bash profile file (e.g. /home/john.doe/.bash_profile).

export ANSIBLE_VAULT_PASSWORD_FILE=/usr/local/vault/.vault_password.txt


And you should now be able to issue ansible-vault command without being prompted for the vault password and without having to use the --vault-password-file or --vault-id command line options.

ansible-vault view foo.txt


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