Skip to content


Crash Course#

Basic terminology Definition
Cmdlet Commands built into shell written in .NET
Functions Commands written in PowerShell language
Parameter Argument to a Cmdlet/Function/Script
Alias Shortcut for a Cmdlet or Function
Scripts Text files with .ps1 extension
Applications Existing windows programs

Flow Control#

if (expr) {} elseif (expr) { } else { }
while (expr) {}
for ($i = 0; $i -lt 10; $i++) {}
foreach ($file in Get-ChildItem 'C:\') { $ }
1..10 | ForEach-Object { $_ }

Basic Operators#

=, +=, -=, *=, /=, %=, ++, -- Assigns one or more values to variable
-and,-or,-not,! logical operators
-eq, -ne Equal, not equal
-gt, -ge Greater than, greater than or equal to
-lt, -le Less than, less than or equal to
-replace changes the specified elements of a value. (ex: “abcde” -replace “bc”, “TEST”)
-match, -notmatch Regular expression match
-like, -notlike Wildcard matching
-contains, -notcontains Check if value in array (ex: 1,2,3,4,5 -contains 3)
-in, -notin Reverse of contains/notcontains
-split: Splits a string (ex: “abcdefghi” -split “de”)
-join: Joins multiple strings (ex: “abc”,”def”,”ghi” -join “;”)

Type Operators#

-is, -isnot test if object is an instance of a specified .NET type (ex: 42 –is [int])
-as attempt type conversion to .NEt type (ex: $a = 42 –as [String])
[] type cast (ex: [datetime]$birthday = "1/10/66")
() grouping expression operator
, comma operator (array constructor)
@() array subexpression operator

Special Operators#

  • ($items).property: select property from collection shortcut
(dir).FullName <=> dir | Select-Object FullName
  • $(): block expression/subexpression operator that evalutes inner expression with result treated as a variable

  • can contain statements e.g. i.e. expression operator

  • each statement's output appends to final scalar or array result

    if($(code returning value) -eq "somevalue") { do_something }
    $strLength = "$($city.length)"
    "The result of 2 + 3 = $(2+3)"
    $(Get-WMIObject win32_Directory)

  • &: call/invocation operator to run command, script, or script block

  • can run commands stored in variables and represented by strings

  • does not parse or interpret command parameters

    $c = "get-executionpolicy"
    & $c

  • .: dot sourcing operator to run script in current scope

  • all script created functions/aliases/variables are added to the current scope

    . c:\scripts\sample.ps1
    . .\sample2.ps1

  • -f: format operator for string interpolation with format args e.g. padding, alignment, hex etc

1..10 | foreach { "{0:N2}" -f $_ }
Get-ChildItem c:\ | ForEach-Object {'File {0} Created {1}' -f $_.fullname,$_.creationtime}
  • ..: range operator to produce number sequence
1..10 | foreach {$_ * 5}
-5..0.9 # a more readable version of the same thing.

Stream Operators#

  • |: Pipeline operator to pass objects (ex: Get-process word | Stop-Process |)
  • >, >>: enables sending particular types of output (success, error, warning, verbose, and debug) to output stream
  • Output streams
    • * All output
    • 1 Success output
    • 2 Errors
    • 3 Warning messages
    • 4 Verbose output
    • 5 Debug messages
  • Ex:
    # Writes warning output to warning.txt
    Do-Something 3> warning.txt
    # Appends verbose.txt with the verbose output
    Do-Something 4>> verbose.txt
    # Writes debug output to the output stream
    Do-Something 5>&1
    # Redirects all streams to out.txt
    Do-Something *> out.txt


Useful Commands#

Update-Help Downloads and installs newest help files
Get-Help get-process Get help for command
Get-Command Get all commands
Get-Command -Module RGHS Get all commands in RGHS module
Get-Command Get-p* Get all commands starting with get-p
Get-Member Gets the properties and methods of objects
Get-Module Gets all imported and importable modules
Get-Process \| Get-Member Get members of the object
Get-Process \| format-list -properties * Get-Process as list with all properties
Ctrl+c Interrupt current command
Left/right Navigate editing cursor
Ctrl+left/right Navigate a word at a time
Home/End Move to start / end of line
Up/down Move up and down through history
Insert Toggles between insert/overwrite mode
F7 Command history in a window
Tab/Shift-Tab Command line completion


  • %: alias for foreach-object
  • $_: current item in foreach-object
  • Get-Member: object introspection
  • pretty print
  • object: Write-Host ($foo | Format-Table | Out-String)
  • array: Write-Host ($foo | Format-List | Out-String)
  • string interpolation
  • use $ in double quotes e.g. "blaaa $myvar" or "blaaaa$($"
  • no string expansion: '$blaaa'
  • invoke command/script
  • & foo @(arg0,arg2,...): call operator invokes expresion in child scope that's discarded (e.g. any global variable changes not persisted)
  • . foo @(arg0,arg2,...): dot sourcing invokes expresion in current scope (e.g. global changes are persisted)
  • common batch operations
  • Get all items in a directory: Get-ChildItem *
  • Get all subdirectories: Get-ChildItem -Attributes Directory -Recurse
  • Operate foreach files in directory: Get-ChildItem *.docx | % Name
  • list approved powershell verbs
    Get-Verb | Sort-Object Verb


  • enabling -WhatIf, -Confirm, etc
  • add [CmdletBinding(SupportsShouldProcess = $true)] to param block
  • inside function, wrap state change code with if ($PSCmdlet.ShouldProcess(target,operation)) {...}
  • disable code analysis rule

    using namespace System.Diagnostics.CodeAnalysis
    [SuppressMessageAttribute('PSUseShouldProcessForStateChangingFunctions', '', Scope='Function')]

  • dump function definition

    [!warning] Function provider has no containers

Get-ChildItem -Path Function:              # Dump all the functions in the current session
(Get-Item -Path function:mkdir).Definition # Dump Function Definition
$function:mkdir                            # Alternate Syntax for above
  • create function closure

    [!warning] appears to capture "only" local variables i.e those from the caller's current scope

function New-Function {
  $x = $global:x
  $function:global:testFunc2 = {$x}.GetNewClosure()
  • dump variables in a scope e.g. scope captured by GetNewClosure()
    $m = (Get-Command testFunc2).Module
    & $m Get-Variable -Scope 0


Last update: 2022-09-09