Sceptre implements resolvers, which can be used to resolve a value of a CloudFormation parameter or sceptre_user_data value at runtime. This is most commonly used to chain the outputs of one Stack to the inputs of another.

If required, users can create their own resolvers, as described in the section on Custom Resolvers.


  <parameter_name>: !<resolver_name> <resolver_value>
  <name>: !<resolver_name> <resolver_value>

Available Resolvers


Fetches the value from an environment variable.


  <name>: !environment_variable ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE_NAME


    database_password: !environment_variable DATABASE_PASSWORD


A Sceptre resolver to get file contents. The returned value can be passed into a parameter as a string, json, or yaml object.

Refer to sceptre-file-resolver for documentation.


deprecated: Consider using the file resolver instead.


This resolver “resolves to nothing”, functioning just as if it was not set at all. This works just like the “AWS::NoValue” special variable that you can reference on a CloudFormation template. It can help simplify Stack and StackGroup config Jinja logic in cases where, if a condition is met, a value is passed, otherwise no value is passed.

For example, you could use this resolver like this:

 my_parameter: {{ var.some_value_that_might_not_be_set | default('!no_value') }}

In this example, if var.some_value_that_might_not_be_set is set, my_parameter will be set to that value. But if var.some_value_that_might_not_be_set is not actually set, my_parameter won’t even be passed to CloudFormation at all. This might be desired if there is a default value on the CloudFormation template for my_parameter and we’d want to fall back to that default.


A resolver to execute any shell command.

Refer to sceptre-resolver-cmd for documentation.


This resolver resolves to the values of other fields on the same Stack Config or those inherited from StackGroups in which the current Stack Config exists, even when those other fields are also resolvers.

To understand why this is useful, consider a stack’s template_bucket_name. This is usually set on the highest level StackGroup Config. Normally, you could reference the template_bucket_name that was set in an outer StackGroup Config with Jinja using {{template_bucket_name}} or, more explicitly, with {{stack_group_config.template_bucket_name}}.

However, if the value of template_bucket_name is set with a resolver, using Jinja won’t work. This is due to the Resolution order of values on a Stack Config. Jinja configs are rendered before resolvers are constructed or resolved, so you can’t resolve a resolver from a StackGroup Config via Jinja. That’s where !stack_attr is useful. It’s a resolver that resolves to the value of another stack attribute (which could be another resolver).

    type: sam
    path: path/from/my/cwd/template.yaml
    # template_bucket_name could be set by a resolver in the StackGroup.
    artifact_bucket_name: !stack_attr template_bucket_name

The argument to this resolver is the full attribute “path” from the Stack Config. You can access nested values in dicts and lists using “.” to separate key/index segments. For example:

        - "some random value"
        - "the value we want to select"

iam_role: !stack_output roles.yaml::RoleArn

    # This will pass the value of "the value we want to select" for my_parameter
    my_parameter: !stack_attr sceptre_user_data.key.1
    # You can also access the value of another resolvable property like this:
    use_role_arn: !stack_attr iam_role


Fetches the value of an output from a different Stack controlled by Sceptre.


parameters | sceptre_user_data:
  <name>: !stack_output <stack_name>.yaml::<output_name>


    VpcIdParameter: !stack_output shared/vpc.yaml::VpcIdOutput

Sceptre infers that the Stack to fetch the output value from is a dependency, adding that stack to the current stack’s list of dependencies. This instructs Sceptre to build that Stack before the current one.


Be careful when using the stack_output resolver that you do not create circular dependencies. This is especially true when using this on StackGroup Configs to create configurations to be inherited by all stacks in that group. If the !stack_output resolver would be “inherited” from a StackGroup Config by the stack it references, this will lead to a circular dependency. The correct way to work around this is to move that stack outside that StackGroup so that it doesn’t “inherit” that resolver.


Fetches the value of an output from a different Stack in the same account and region. You can specify a optional AWS profile to connect to a different account/region.

If the Stack whose output is being fetched is in the same StackGroup, the basename of that Stack can be used.


  <name>: !stack_output_external <full_stack_name>::<output_name> <optional-aws-profile-name>


  VpcIdParameter: !stack_output_external prj-network-vpc::VpcIdOutput prod

Custom Resolvers

Users can define their own resolvers which are used by Sceptre to resolve the value of a parameter before it is passed to the CloudFormation template.

A resolver is a Python class which inherits from abstract base class Resolver found in the sceptre.resolvers module.

Resolvers are require to implement a resolve() function that takes no parameters and to call the base class initializer on initialisation.

Resolvers may have access to argument, stack_config, stack_group_config and connection_manager as an attribute of self. For example self.stack_config.

Sceptre uses the sceptre.resolvers entry point to locate resolver classes. Your custom resolver can be written anywhere and is installed as Python package. In case you are not familiar with python packaging, this is great place to start.


The following python module template can be copied and used:


The following python module template can be copied and used:

from sceptre.resolvers import Resolver

class CustomResolver(Resolver):
    The following instance attributes are inherited from the parent class Resolver.

    argument: Any
        The argument of the resolver. This can be any value able to be defined in yaml.
    stack: sceptre.stack.Stack
        The associated stack of the resolver. This will normally be None when the resolver is
        instantiated, but will be set before the resolver is resolved.

    def __init__(self, argument, stack=None):
        super(CustomResolver, self).__init__(argument, stack)

    def setup(self):
        Setup is invoked after the stack has been set on the resolver, whether or not the
        resolver is ever resolved.

        Implement this method for any setup behavior you want (such as adding to stack dependencies).

    def resolve(self):
        resolve is the method called by Sceptre. It should carry out the work
        intended by this resolver. It should return a string to become the
        final value.

        To use instance attribute self.<attribute_name>.


            Resolved value
        return self.argument

from setuptools import setup

        'sceptre.resolvers': [
            '<custom_resolver_command_name> = <custom_resolver_module_namef>:CustomResolver',

Then install using python install or pip install . commands.

This resolver can be used in a Stack config file with the following syntax:

  path: <...>
  type: <...>
  param1: !<custom_resolver_command_name> <value> <optional-aws-profile>

Resolver arguments

Resolver arguments can be a simple string or a complex data structure.

  path: <...>
  type: <...>
   Param1: !ssm "/dev/DbPassword"
   Param2: !ssm {"name": "/dev/DbPassword"}
   Param3: !ssm
     name: "/dev/DbPassword"

Resolving to nothing

When a resolver returns None, this means that it resolves to “nothing”. For resolvers set for single values (such as for template_bucket_name or role_arn), this just means the value is None and treated like those values aren’t actually set. But for resolvers inside of containers like lists or dicts, when they resolve to “nothing”, that item gets completely removed from their containing list or dict.

This feature would be useful if you wanted to define a resolver that sometimes would resolve to be a given stack parameter and sometimes would be not defined at all and use the template’s default value for that parameter. The resolver could just return None in those cases it wants to resolve to nothing, similar to the AWS::NoValue pseudo-parameter that can be referenced in a CloudFormation template.

Resolver placeholders

Resolvers (especially the !stack_output resolver) often express dependencies on other stacks and their outputs. However, there are times when those stacks or outputs will not exist yet because they have not yet been deployed. During normal deployment operations (using the launch, create, update, and delete commands), Sceptre knows the correct order to resolve dependencies in and will ensure that order is followed, so everything works as expected.

But there are other commands that will not actually deploy dependencies of a stack config before operating on that Stack Config. These commands include generate, validate, and diff. If you have used resolvers to reverence other stacks, it is possible that a resolver might not be able to be resolved when performing that command’s operations and will trigger an error. This is not likely to happen when you have only used resolvers in a stack’s parameters, but it is much more likely if you have used them in sceptre_user_data with a Jinja or Python template. At those times (and only when a resolver cannot be resolved), a best-attempt placeholder value will be supplied in to allow the command to proceed. Depending on how your template or Stack Config is configured, the command may or may not actually succeed using that placeholder value.

A few examples…

  • If you have a stack parameter referencing !stack_output other_stack.yaml::OutputName, and you run the diff command before other_stack.yaml has been deployed, the diff output will show the value of that parameter to be "{ !StackOutput(other_stack.yaml::OutputName) }".

  • If you have a sceptre_user_data value used in a Jinja template referencing !stack_output other_stack.yaml::OutputName and you run the generate command, the generated template will replace that value with "StackOutputotherstackyamlOutputName". This isn’t as “pretty” as the sort of placeholder used for stack parameters, but the use of sceptre_user_data is broader, so it placeholder values can only be alphanumeric to reduce chances of it breaking the template.

  • Resolvable properties that are always used when performing template operations (like iam_role and template_bucket_name) will resolve to None and not be used for those operations if they cannot be resolved.

Any command that allows these placeholders can have them disabled with the --no-placeholders ClI option.