Using gcloud interactive shell

The gcloud interactive shell provides a richer bash experience, simplifying command and documentation discovery with as-you-type autocompletion and help text snippets.

The gcloud interactive shell produces suggestions and auto-completion for any command that has a man(1) page, including the gcloud, bq, gsutil, and kubectl command-line tools. As you type a command, sub-commands, flags, and file and resource arguments are completed and inline help is displayed in the lower section.

For more information about the interactive shell and its shortcuts, control characters, editor modes, and configurable layout options, see the gcloud beta interactive reference page.

Installation and use

The gcloud interactive shell is included in the gcloud beta components.

  1. To check if you have the gcloud beta components installed, run the following command:

    gcloud components list
  2. If you don't see the gcloud beta components listed, to install the beta components, run the following command:

    gcloud components install beta
  3. To enter the gcloud interactive mode, run the following command:

    gcloud beta interactive

    Your usual shell prompt is replaced with the gcloud interactive shell prompt $.

  4. To get auto-suggestions and inline help, start typing a command.

  5. To save time when you're working with a command for a while, type the part of the command you'll reuse and then press F7. For example, to work with gcloud compute, type gcloud compute and then press F7. You can then type subcommands such as list without needing to first type gcloud compute. When you're no longer using the command, press Ctrl-C and F7 to clear the context.

  6. To exit the interactive shell press Ctrl-D or F9.

Auto-completion and help

gcloud interactive has auto prompting for commands and flags, and displays inline help snippets in the lower section as you type a command.

Static information, like command and sub-command names, and flag names and enumerated flag values, are auto-completed using dropdown menus.

gcloud interactive shell example session


To accomplish common tasks, you can use the following shortcuts:

Action Shortcut
Complete a file path or resource argument Tab
Refine the dropdown completion menu Continue typing the command
Scroll through the menu Tab, Shift+Tab, or arrow keys
Select a highlighted item or directory Space or /
Toggle the active help section, ON when enabled, OFF when disabled F2
Set the context for command input to avoid retyping command prefixes F7
Clear the context for command input Ctrl-C and F7
Open a web browser tab or window to display the complete man page for the current command F8
Exit F9 or Ctrl+D

Bash compatibility

bash completion configs, aliases, exports, functions, set -o settings, and variables initialized in your .bashrc are all available at the interactive command prompt. The interactive command line edit mode is derived from the set -o emacs or set -o vi setting.