Include and Exclude

Salt SLS files can include other SLS files and exclude SLS files that have been otherwise included. This allows for an SLS file to easily extend or manipulate other SLS files.


When other SLS files are included, everything defined in the included SLS file will be added to the state run. When including define a list of SLS formulas to include:

  - http
  - libvirt

The include statement will include SLS formulas from the same environment that the including SLS formula is in. But the environment can be explicitly defined in the configuration to override the running environment, therefore if an SLS formula needs to be included from an external environment named "dev" the following syntax is used:

  - dev: http

NOTE: include does not simply inject the states where you place it in the SLS file. If you need to guarantee order of execution, consider using requisites.

Do not use dots in SLS file names or their directories

The initial implementation of top.sls and Include declaration followed the python import model where a slash is represented as a period. This means that a SLS file with a period in the name ( besides the suffix period) can not be referenced. For example, webserver_1.0.sls is not referenceable because webserver_1.0 would refer to the directory/file webserver_1/0.sls

The same applies for any subdirectories, this is especially 'tricky' when git repos are created. Another command that typically can't render it's output is `state.show_sls` of a file in a path that contains a dot.

Relative Include

In Salt 0.16.0, the capability to include SLS formulas which are relative to the running SLS formula was added. Simply precede the formula name with a .:

  - .virt
  - .virt.hyper

In Salt 2015.8, the ability to include SLS formulas which are relative to the parents of the running SLS formula was added. In order to achieve this, precede the formula name with more than one . (dot). Much like Python's relative import abilities, two or more leading dots represent a relative include of the parent or parents of the current package, with each . representing one level after the first.

The following SLS configuration, if placed within, would result in example.http and base being included respectively:

  - ..http
  - ...base


The exclude statement, added in Salt 0.10.3, allows an SLS to hard exclude another SLS file or a specific id. The component is excluded after the high data has been compiled, so nothing should be able to override an exclude.

Since the exclude can remove an id or an sls the type of component to exclude needs to be defined. An exclude statement that verifies that the running highstate does not contain the http sls and the /etc/vimrc id would look like this:

  - sls: http
  - id: /etc/vimrc


The current state processing flow checks for duplicate IDs before processing excludes. An error occurs if duplicate IDs are present even if one of the IDs is targeted by an exclude.