Launching Cloud Shell

A Cloud Shell session can be launched in different ways to best fit your use case.

Launching from the Console

To launch a Cloud Shell session from the Cloud Console, use the Activate Cloud Shell button Activate Shell Button in your Console. This launches a session in the bottom pane of your Console.

You can also transfer this session to a full screen experience by clicking the Open in new window icon Open in new window button.

Activate Cloud Shell workflow

Launching a stand-alone session

If you'd prefer a stand-alone session, you can directly launch a Cloud Shell session with The Cloud Shell terminal and Cloud Shell Editor are automatically started for you.

To open just the Cloud Shell Editor, you can use You can still access the Cloud Shell terminal at any time using the Open terminal button Activate Shell Button in the Cloud Shell menu bar.

If you'd like your users to experiment with your project or code samples without having to worry about downloading the Cloud SDK or installing dependencies, use the Open in Cloud Shell (OiCS) feature. It allows you to construct and publish a URL that automatically performs certain actions upon Cloud Shell launch, such as cloning a Git repository or opening a tutorial. This option has the added advantage of allowing you to customize the launched Cloud Shell experience by supporting the inclusion of URL parameters when crafting an OiCS link.

Launching and connecting locally to Cloud Shell with the gcloud command-line tool

If you'd like to interact with and connect to your Cloud Shell environment using a local command-line, you'll need to install Cloud SDK. Using the gcloud command-line tool, specifically the gcloud beta cloud-shell command group, you can copy files between your local machine and Cloud Shell environment as well as establish an interactive SSH session with Cloud Shell.