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Working with text in PowerShell



Working with a text file or text format in PowerShell is a good thing to learn.

Getting or monitoring output from PowerShell for further processing or analysis and having it in text file format can easily be imported to other applications.

Working with text or other format, requires these basic operations: Save, Overwrite, Append and Save As.

Save, overwrite, append and save as is a common operation when editing word documents, excel file and other office applications since it’s freely available on the menu of the application. But can we do this in PowerShell? The answer is a resounding, yes.



So, how to do it? Examples below shows how to work with text files in PowerShell and do the operation mentioned above.


Equivalent operations for Save, Overwrite, Append and Save As in PowerShell:

===Set-content ==== will overwrite the file
===Add-content ==== will just add or append something to the file
===Out-File ==== is like "Save As" since you have the option to save the file to another file
===Out-File ==== can also work as “Save” if the file does not exist then it will be created
=== > (redirection operator) === also work as “save” the output can be saved or redirected to a file


Scripting examples:

“Save As” example by saving the file to another file name so the previous file remain untouched.

(Get-Content c:\2018_file.txt) | Foreach-Object {$_ -replace '\[2018\]','[2019]'}  | Out-File 2019_file.txt

2018_file.txt should have this format:
Jan [2018]
Feb [2018]
Mar [2018]

2019_file.txt will have this output:
Jan [2019]
Feb [2019]
Mar [2019]


Appending a text or string to a file:

Add-Content c:\2019_file.txt "Apr [2019]"

The above command will add the string “Apr [2019]” to the end of the file, output will be like this:
Jan [2019]
Feb [2019]
Mar [2019]
Apr [2019]


Overwriting a text file the Set-Content function can be used, example below will overwrite the text file 2019_file.txt

Set-Content -Path d:\2019_file.txt -Value 'Hello, Overwrite World'

Output or the contents of the file will be:
Hello, Overwrite World


Saving the file can be done using the Out-File function or the “>” redirection operator.

Gci d:\*.xml | Select-Object -ExpandProperty Name  > d:\xmlfiles.txt

Above command will search or get all the name of the xml files in D and save the output to xmlfiles.txt

Saving the output file can be done also as:

ls d:\ | % Name | out-file d:\dfiles.txt

Above command will read all files and folders in D drive. Only the file in D it won’t include sub-folders or files in sub-directories.


That’s it. Working with text files in PowerShell is easy and fun.


Cheers! Till next time...


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