Launch Cloud Shell

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

Launch from the Google Cloud console

To launch a Cloud Shell session from the Google Cloud console, click Activate Shell Button Activate Cloud Shell in the Google Cloud console. This launches a session in the bottom pane of Google Cloud console.

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

Launch a standalone session

If you'd prefer a standalone session, you can 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.

Launch from documentation

After starting your free trial, you can find Activate Cloud Shell button Activate Cloud Shell in the header of the documentation page you're on. If you're signed into your Google account and reading Google Cloud documentation, you can find Activate Cloud Shell button Activate Cloud Shell in the header of the documentation page you're on.

Cloud Shell terminal launched within the bottom half of the documentation page with a gcloud command example copied into the Cloud Shell terminal

This button launches the Cloud Shell as a panel at the bottom of your current page. You can then experiment with the product you're reading about while keeping the product's documentation in context.

The Cloud Shell terminal comes with the gcloud CLI, Docker, Terraform, and other command-line utilities preinstalled and automatically authenticates you with your Google credentials, so you can use the terminal to run sample code in the documentation. This means that you can enable and experiment with Cloud APIs, start long-running operations, and manage your Google Cloud resources from the command line without leaving documentation.

If you'd like your users to experiment with your project or code samples without having to download the gcloud CLI or installing dependencies, use the Open in Cloud Shell (OiCS) feature. This feature 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.

Launch and connect locally to Cloud Shell with the gcloud CLI

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