'terraform plan' in plain text output (the right way)

Jun 05, 2022 · 1 min read · Post a comment

Following up to the previous post terraform plan the right way with intentions to keep things simple and clean as possible, I’ll try to describe how to get a terraform plan plain text output without any weird, non-ASCII characters.


  • Terraform


To sum up, terraform plan will generate an output binary file including the planned Terraform-managed resource changes if any for sure. But, if you want to save the output as a plain text somewhere else besides the console, run the following command:

terraform plan > tfplan.txt

This is not the optimal approach since the output will look something like:

module.vpc.aws_route_table.cache: Refreshing state... [id=rtb-mb3g3r8omafctdebo]
module.vpc.aws_security_group.ssh: Refreshing state... [id=sg-8a7jjz2lavujcz1ux]
module.vpc.aws_subnet.db[1]: Refreshing state... [id=subnet-2n3l5f7yml52eihn2]

The right way:

terraform plan -no-color > tfplan.txt


module.vpc.aws_route_table.cache: Refreshing state... [id=rtb-mb3g3r8omafctdebo]
module.vpc.aws_subnet.db[0]: Refreshing state... [id=subnet-8a7jjz2lavujcz1ux]
module.vpc.aws_subnet.cache[0]: Refreshing state... [id=subnet-2n3l5f7yml52eihn2]

Much better. Now, don’t try to terraform apply tfplan.txt as it won’t make any sense (keep in mind it’s a text file not a binary) plus you’ll get the following error:

│ Error: Failed to load "tfplan.txt" as a plan file
│ Error: zip: not a valid zip file

Related post: Failed to load tfplan as a plan file zip: not a valid zip file error in Terraform.

If you want to apply the planned changes:

terraform plan -out=tfplan
terraform apply tfplan

or simply visit the previous post referenced in the intro section for more details.


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