Tag Archives: Scripting

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 https://github.com/jdhitsolutions/FormatFunctions. 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.


An Improved Get-Verb Command

A recommended best practice for PowerShell scripting, especially when developing functions, is to follow the standard Verb-Noun naming convention. The Verb  should be a value from the list of approved .NET verbs. The easy way to see that list is with the Get-Verb cmdlet. The result will also indicate the verb group or category like Security or Lifecycle. If you wanted to filter for a particular group you needed to use a Where-Object expression. It really isn’t that difficult but I decided to make a my own version of Get-Verb that would let you specify one or more groups.

The function is essentially a wrapper for Get-Verb. It uses the same parameters plus my addition. The help is also from Get-Verb, although I modified it slightly to reflect my version of the command. You can use Get-MyVerb as you would Get-Verb or you can specify one or more groups.


The last improvement, is that if you run help for Get-MyVerb with -Online you’ll get the MSDN documentation about .NET verbs which goes into detail. I think you will find it helpful.

Enjoy and as always, comments or questions are welcome.