Using AWS CloudFormation Designer - Tutorial

Welcome to this tutorial on using AWS CloudFormation Designer. CloudFormation Designer is a visual tool provided by AWS that helps you create, view, and edit CloudFormation templates in a graphical interface. With CloudFormation Designer, you can visually design your infrastructure as code, making it easier to understand and manage complex CloudFormation templates.

Example of Using AWS CloudFormation Designer

Let's consider an example where you want to create a CloudFormation template that provisions an Amazon EC2 instance and an Amazon RDS database. You can use CloudFormation Designer to visually design the template and define the resources and their properties.

CloudFormation Designer Example

In the above example, you can see how CloudFormation Designer provides a visual representation of the template. You can drag and drop resources from the palette onto the canvas, define their properties, and specify relationships between resources. The resulting CloudFormation template is automatically generated in the background.

Steps for Using AWS CloudFormation Designer

  1. Open the AWS Management Console and navigate to the CloudFormation service.
  2. Create a new CloudFormation stack or select an existing stack to work with.
  3. In the stack details page, click on the "Design template" button to launch CloudFormation Designer.
  4. Use the palette on the left-hand side to browse and select resources that you want to add to your template.
  5. Drag and drop the selected resources onto the canvas to create the infrastructure topology.
  6. Click on each resource to specify its properties and configure any desired options.
  7. Define relationships between resources by connecting them with lines.
  8. Validate your template for any errors or warnings using the built-in validation feature.
  9. Save your template and generate the corresponding CloudFormation JSON or YAML code.
  10. Deploy the generated template using the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, or AWS SDKs.

Common Mistakes with AWS CloudFormation Designer

  • Not validating the template for errors and warnings before deploying it.
  • Overcomplicating the template design by including unnecessary resources or complex relationships.
  • Ignoring the underlying CloudFormation code generated by CloudFormation Designer and manually editing the template, which can lead to inconsistencies.
  • Forgetting to save the template after making changes, resulting in the loss of modifications.
  • Not leveraging the full potential of CloudFormation Designer's features, such as grouping resources or using advanced layout options.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I import an existing CloudFormation template into CloudFormation Designer?

Yes, you can import an existing CloudFormation template into CloudFormation Designer to visualize and edit it in the graphical interface.

2. Can I switch between JSON and YAML formats in CloudFormation Designer?

Yes, CloudFormation Designer supports both JSON and YAML formats. You can choose your preferred format when saving or exporting the template.

3. Can I use CloudFormation Designer to edit a template created using a text editor?

Yes, you can use CloudFormation Designer to edit templates created using a text editor. Simply import the template into CloudFormation Designer and make the desired changes visually.

4. Does CloudFormation Designer support all CloudFormation resource types and properties?

CloudFormation Designer supports a wide range of CloudFormation resource types and their properties. However, there might be some resource types or properties that are not yet supported in the visual interface.

5. Can I export the CloudFormation template generated by CloudFormation Designer?

Yes, you can export the CloudFormation template generated by CloudFormation Designer in either JSON or YAML format. The exported template can be used for manual modifications or deployment using other CloudFormation tools.


AWS CloudFormation Designer simplifies the process of creating and managing CloudFormation templates by providing a visual interface. With CloudFormation Designer, you can easily design, visualize, and edit complex infrastructure deployments. It helps in understanding the structure and relationships between resources, making it an effective tool for both beginners and experienced users of CloudFormation. By utilizing CloudFormation Designer, you can accelerate your infrastructure as code development and streamline your CloudFormation template creation process.