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Course Introduction

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IT Lab Setup

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Installing Ansible

• 57min

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Managing your Ansible Inventory

• 2hr 45min

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Ansible Basics

• 2hr 54min

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Ansible Roles

• 2hr 38min

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Ansible Galaxy

• 2hr 28min

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Ansible Facts, Variables, Passwords and Templates

• 3hr 20min

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Advanced Ansible Playbook Creation

• 2hr 23min

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Course Conclusion

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Using ansible-doc to view help files


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In this lesson, we'll explore how to use the ansible-doc command to access and understand the documentation of Ansible modules and plugins. This is an invaluable tool for any Ansible user, as it provides quick and easy access to the specific usage, parameters, and examples for modules and plugins directly from the command line.

The ansible-doc Command

What is ansible-doc?

ansible-doc is a command-line utility included with Ansible that allows you to view documentation about modules and plugins. This documentation includes details about what the module or plugin does, the parameters it accepts, the return values it produces, and often includes practical examples.

Benefits of ansible-doc

Using ansible-doc

Viewing Documentation for a Module

To view documentation for a specific module, use the following command:

ansible-doc <module_name>

For example, to view documentation for the file module:

ansible-doc file

This will display detailed information about the file module, including its purpose, parameters, and return values.

Searching for Modules

If you're not sure about the exact name of a module, you can search for it using a keyword. For example, use the code below to see all Windows related modules:

ansible-doc -l | grep windows

This command lists all modules (-l) and then filters the results using grep for the specified keyword.

Using the ansible-doc utility to list all Windows related modules
Using the ansible-doc utility to list all Windows related modules

We can also use ansible-doc's built-in filtering which will filter by namespace:

ansible-doc -l ansible.windows

Viewing Examples

Many ansible-doc entries include practical examples. These can be extremely useful as starting points for writing your own tasks or playbooks. To access these, simply scroll through the module's documentation; examples are usually found towards the end of the help document.

Practical Exercise


Understanding how to use ansible-doc is a key skill for efficient Ansible playbook development. It not only saves time but also enhances your understanding of the wide range of modules and their capabilities, enabling you to write more effective and efficient Ansible code.

Remember, the best way to learn is by doing. So, try out the ansible-doc command with different modules and familiarize yourself with its capabilities!

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