Category Archives: Scripting

What Were You Working On?

toolboxIt probably comes as no surprise that I write a lot of PowerShell code. Like you, I’m usually working on several projects at the same time, most often using the PowerShell ISE. When I fire up the PowerShell ISE I often go to most recently edited files and re-open the files I was last working on. But sometimes my list of current projects gets pushed aside by other files I might open and edit. Because I like to be lazy (I mean efficient) I decided to come up with a solution to make it easy to open files I’m actively developing.

In the PowerShell ISE you can easily load a file into the editor with the PSEDIT command.

So all I need is a way to store my active files. It is simple enough to use a text file. All the text file needs is a list of full file paths. Opening all the files can be as easy as this:

But how can I easily add a file to the list? I can use the PSISE object model to get the path for the currently active script file and add it to the file.

To remove a file from the list, it is probably easiest to simply open the current work list using PSEDIT and manually delete what I no longer need. I took these core commands and wrapped them in a set of functions. And of course, I don’t want to have to type any more than I have to so it would be handy to add some shortcuts to the ISE Add-On menu.

I ended up creating a set of functions for these key operations and incorporated them into my ISE Scripting Geek module. The module exports a global variable for my work list.

Now when I open the ISE I can press Ctrl+Alt+I and have immediate access to everything I’m currently working on. This has already saved me a lot of time and frustration.

I have moved the ISE Scripting Geek module to GitHub so check it out here. Feel free to pick and choose what you want from the module or take my commands here and create your own solution for loading your active work files. The functions for this particular feature are in CurrentProjects.ps1.

Enjoy and let me know if this starts saving you some time.

Updated PowerShell Formatting Functions

Last year I posted an article and a set of PowerShell functions to make it easier to format values. For some reason, I decided to revisit the functions and ended up revising and extending them. I modified Format-Value so that you can format a number as a currency or a number.

Format-Value help (Image Credit: Jeff Hicks)

The function is assuming you will pipe values to it.

Format-Value examples (Image Credit: Jeff Hicks)

I also wrote a new function called Format-String.

Format-String help (Image Credit: Jeff Hicks)

The nice thing is that you can apply as many or all of the formatting transformations as you want.

Format-String examples (Image Credit: Jeff Hicks)

The Replace option works by taking a hashtable and replacing each matching key with its value.

Using the Replace parameter in Format-String (Image Credit: Jeff Hicks)

One task that comes to mind where Format-String might come in handy is in building passwords.

The function contains the following aliases:

  • fp = Format-Percent
  • fv = Format-Value
  • fs = Format-String

I’m also trying something different, at least for me. Instead of posting the code here, I’ve started to use GitHub since that seems to be what all the cool kids are doing. You can find the FormatFunctions module at This should also make it easier for me to post revisions, address bugs and make it easier for you to take my code and run with it. You’re still welcome to post comments here, but use GitHub for anything specific to the PowerShell code.



Teeing Up to the Clipboard

Because I spend a great part of my day creating PowerShell related content, I often need to copy command output from a PowerShell session. The quick and dirty solution is to pipe my expression to the Clip.exe command line utility.

This works in both the console and PowerShell ISE. But there are situations where I’d like to see the result so that I know it is worth pasting into whatever I’m working on. In other words I want to send the results of the command to the pipeline and the clipboard at the same time. PowerShell can already do something similar with the Tee-Object cmdlet. With that cmdlet you can tee output to a variable or a file. So I decided to build a wrapper around Tee-Object and add functionality to send tee output to the clipboard.

I created a copy of Tee-Object and started modifying. I didn’t want to reverse-engineer the cmdlet. I simply wanted to add a new parameter. In some ways, my new command is like a proxy function.

I use Tee-MyObject much the same way as Tee-Object, even with the same parameters. Those are splatted through $PSBoundParameters. There are a few items I want to point out, more as a matter of scripting technique than anything.

First, because my function is wrapping around Tee-Object, which typically has input piped to it, I needed to temporarily store piped in objects to my function. That’s why I initialize a variable, $data and add each input object to it. After everything has been piped to my function, I can pass the data to Tee-Object, assuming I’m using one of its parameters.

However, because I am running Tee-Object inside of a function, scope becomes an issue. When I use the –Variable parameter, Tee-Object creates the variable with no problem. But when the function ends, the variable is destroyed. My solution is to create a new copy of the variable and specify the parent scope.

I needed this “tricks” in order to pass on full functionality between my wrapper function and Tee-Object.

For the clipboard part, I originally used code to simply pipe data to Clip.exe. However, this can temporary flash a console window and depending on the command I also end up with lots of extra white space at the end of each line. So I decided to use the .NET framework to add content to the clipboard. The tricky part was converting the output to text and cleaning it up. I ended up using the Trim() method to remove leading and trailing spaces after piping the data to Out-String. This leaves me with one long string. To clean up the extra space at the end of some lines, I use the –Replace operator to find anything that matches a bunch of spaces followed by the new line marker and replace it with just the new line marker. This has the effect of trimming away all those spaces.

And that’s it! My version even has a modified copy of the help for Tee-Object.

Modified help

I can use my command in place of Tee-Object. I even defined my own alias.

Using Tee-MyObject

To be clear, I have not modified, overwritten or removed Tee-Object. I have simply created a new version of the command with some additional functionality. If you have any questions on my process or some scripting element, please post a comment.