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Danny Steenman for AWS Community Builders

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Autocomplete your CloudFormation Resources in VS Code

If you use AWS CloudFormation to provision your infrastructure, it can be time-consuming to constantly visit the AWS documentation in order to find the right property of each resource type. To solve this problem, I created a VS Code extension that adds autocompletion for every available AWS resource type in a CloudFormation template.

The VS Code extension is called CloudFormation Snippets

AWS CloudFormation Snippets VS Code Marketplace extension


The VS Code extension contains the following features:

  1. Autocompletion for every AWS CloudFormation resource type (including properties).
  2. Support for Intrinsic functions & Conditions.
  3. Contains a whole bunch of Parameter types.
  4. Use Tab to quickly update the property of an AWS CloudFormation resource type.
  5. The description of every resource type contains a reference to the official documentation.
  6. Github actions will automatically trigger the pipeline and fetch the latest updates from the official AWS CloudFormation resource specification.


Here is a small demo that shows what happens when you're trying to add a new CloudFormation resource with the VS Code extension enabled:

AWS CloudFormation Snippets example in VS Code

Steps described in further detail:

  • Step 1. Install the extension in your VS Code editor
  • Step 2. Create a template file in .yml format to start working on AWS CloudFormation
  • Step 3. Make sure that the file type is listed as YAML in the VS Code editor (Bottom right-hand corner).
  • Step 4. Type cfn to get the AWS CloudFormation template fragment.
  • Step 5. Start adding resources in the resource section of the template by using the prefix name e.g. autoscaling-autoscalinggroup equals resource type AWS::AutoScaling::AutoScalingGroup

Note: If the autocomplete doesn't get invoked automatically in step 5. Then you can invoke IntelliSense manually by pressing ctrl + space. Search for the prefix of the resource type that you want to add and press Enter.

More helpful VS Code extensions for AWS CloudFormation

If you're looking to optimize your VS Code with more useful extensions, then have a look at the other article I wrote to help you level up your CloudFormation templating game!

Also have a look at a VS Code extension I made for AWS CDK

If you're working with AWS CDK, then you might be interested in my other VS Code extension that I created which adds L1 construct snippets from AWS CDK into VS Code.

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