Understanding When & When Not to Create PowerShell New Lines

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PowerShell is a fast-moving scripting language that allows admins to automate tasks on computers–but it’s easy to make mistakes. In this article, we’ll discuss when and when not to create new lines in PowerShell scripts with examples of some common problems.

There are times when you should use PowerShell’s “check for understanding” and other times where you should not. If you need to know if a PDF is well-formed, then the “checking for understanding pdf” is the tool that you need.

Understanding When & When Not to Create PowerShell New Lines

Oh, the double quotes, backticks, and line breaks! Horizontal scrolling is dead! How can you break up a lengthy PowerShell command into numerous lines to make it easier to read? Learn how to effortlessly generate new PowerShell lines!

It is not usually possible to use a carriage return alone. Double quotes, backticks, and natural line continuation are all strategies for inserting a line break. With this article, you’ll learn how to construct numerous lines in PowerShell in a variety of methods.

By the Conclusion of this lesson, you’ll know how to construct PowerShell new lines in every possible method. Ready? Let’s get this party started!

Prerequisites

Make sure you have a Windows PowerShell or PowerShell Core terminal session open to follow along. PowerShell 7.1.3 will be used in the examples in this tutorial.

Using the Backtick to Break Lines

Many PowerShell users, both novices and professionals, have reported issues with the dreaded backtick (‘), backquote, or grave accent. And you’ll see why right now.

Here’s an example of how to use a backtick to split apart a command and place the arguments on a new line using a backtick:

BITS Get-Service’-ServiceName

When the command is finished, it provides the following status for the BITS service:

The backtick creates a new line, and the arguments appear on that line. The backtick creates a new line, and the arguments appear on that line.

The backtick, followed by a carriage return, tells PowerShell that the command will need further typing to complete:

Get-Service # The backtick is added once the return key is pressed. BITS # -ServiceName This will be impossible for you to type.

PowerShell will run the command without the backtick on the first line, and will not even prompt you for a second line. Instead of displaying simply the BITS service, Get-Service will show all services.

The following example illustrates what occurs when the backtick is removed:

There's no backtick, no second line, and no way to instruct PowerShell to just list the BITS service. There’s no backtick, no second line, and no way to instruct PowerShell to just list the BITS service.

Backticks are widely disliked in the PowerShell community, and for good reason. Backticks are simple to overlook and make your code more difficult to comprehend, making debugging more difficult. If you have a lot of backticks, you may want to think using splatting instead.

Splatting in PowerShell: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Lines That Continue With Double Quotes

When working with strings in PowerShell, double quotes (” “) are often utilized. When employing strings, they may also be utilized for line continuation.

How to Use PowerShell to Get Rid of Double Quotes

Here’s an example of how to use double quotes:

“This is a new line,” Write-Host says.

When ran in a PowerShell terminal session, the code appears like this:

Using double quotes to create new linesUsing double quotes to create new lines

Using ‘n’ to Improve Readability (New Line)

Double quotes are useful on the command line, but they may make programs difficult to understand. Always remember to make your scripts as readable as possible, particularly if you want others to benefit from them. When you need readability, special characters come into play.

Special characters are supported by both Windows PowerShell and PowerShell. For establishing a new line, carriage return, or vertical tab, there are three options.

Following the previous character typed, including spaces, the PowerShell new line special character will produce an instant line break.

For example, suppose you wish to split a string into two lines. By putting (‘n) after the term “bunch” in the code below, you may break to a new line:

Write-Host “I have a beautiful cluster of coconuts. They’re all lined up in a row.”

The end result is as follows:

Creating a new line with (`n) Using (‘n) to start a new line

In the PowerShell terminal above, the new line special character is difficult to see. Because it’s difficult to identify, you won’t encounter this in the PowerShell terminal very often.

Breaking Lines with the Letter ‘r’ (Carriage Return)

Let’s look at the identical code as in the previous part, but this time with a carriage return special character.

To break up the message, copy and paste the code below, which includes a carriage return special character after ‘active.’ Press Enter:

Write-Host “The SSH server is up and running. ‘rNo vendor assistance is necessary.”

The output of executing the code above is seen in the image below.

See how tricky `r can be? It makes part of the message disappear. See how tough the letter ‘r’ can be? It obliterates a portion of the message.

You’d notice an issue if you anticipated the whole message to show. There’s a part of the message that’s missing! The carriage return special character replaces preceding characters in a string with those that follow after them.

To put it another way, a carriage return special character does not start a new line; it ends one!

Using ‘v’ to create tabs (Vertical Tab)

A new line will be created by using the vertical tab special character. Replace the carriage return special character with the vertical tab special character and hit Enter using the same code as the previous section:

Write-Host “The SSH server is up and running. ‘vNo vendor assistance is necessary.”

The following is a snapshot of the current message in Windows Terminal:

Vertical tab is treated as a new line in Windows Terminal. Vertical tab is treated as a new line in Windows Terminal.

In Windows, the vertical tab character behaves differently than in Linux. Depending on the setting in which you use the character, you will receive varied effects.

Vertical tabs are shown as new lines in the Windows Terminal, giving the appearance of newline output.

Using the Pipeline Operator in PowerShell to Create New Lines

The pipeline operator is one of the most often utilized natural line continuators. Objects are passed from one command to the next by the pipeline operator. Long orders are also broken up into many lines by a pipeline operator.

Here’s an example of utilizing the pipeline operator to continue a natural line:

Select-Object -Property Name,Id,HasExited | Get-Process -ProcessName ‘cron’

The pipeline as a line continuation in motion is seen below:

The command uses a pipe to continue the line. The command uses a pipe to continue the line.

Compare it to the image below. The identical code is shown here, but without the carriage return after the pipeline. In a PowerShell terminal session, notice how the pipe makes things more legible.

Without the pipe, it's the same as the prior one. Without the pipe, it’s the same as the prior one.

At first glance, the distinction is minor, but consider a lengthy line of code. Here’s an example of a long command from Windows PowerShell:

Get-Process | Select-Object -First 25 | Where-Object -Property ProcessName -EQ “conhost” | Select-Object -Property Id,ProcessName | Where-Object -Property Handles -lt 130 | Format-Table -AutoSize | Select-Object -Property Id,ProcessName | Select-Object -Property Id,ProcessName | Select-Object | Select-Object -Property Id,ProcessName | Select-Object -Property Id,ProcessName | Select-Object

A command that is too lengthy to fit on a single line. A command that is too lengthy to fit on a single line.

Examine the above code, but this time using the pipeline operator for line continuation:

Get-Process | Select-Object -First 25 | Where-Object -Property ProcessName -EQ “conhost” | Select-Object -Property Id,ProcessName | Where-Object -Property Handles -lt 130 | Format-Table -AutoSize | Select-Object -Property Id,ProcessName | Select-Object -Property Id,ProcessName | Select-Object | Select-Object -Property Id,ProcessName | Select-Object -Property Id,ProcessName | Select-Object

The same as before, but with the addition of a pipe to continue the line. The same as before, but with the addition of a pipe to continue the line.

The preceding example is more organized and simpler to follow than the line continuation example.

Conclusion

There are various techniques to make line breaks and many lines without breaking your code, as you’ve seen in this post. You learnt how to make a PowerShell new line more readable.

Using natural line continuators improves the readability of your code. Long lines that may scroll horizontally are broken up by line continuation. While the pipeline operator is the most prevalent line continuator, there are 17 more that have yet to be discovered. Take your recently acquired understanding of PowerShell new line approaches and use it to boost your PowerShell programming!

When learning PowerShell, it is important to understand when and when not to create new lines. This article discusses how to check for understanding in different ways. Reference: 53 ways to check for understanding.

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