Using PowerShell to Read Text Files and Replace Text


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PowerShell is a task automation tool developed by Microsoft and designed for Windows. It runs on the .NET framework and provides command-line scripting capabilities, enabling IT professionals to automate repetitive tasks that require system administration skills. In this article, we will learn how PowerShell can be used in combination with text files to make it easier than ever before!

The “powershell replace text in file with variable” command is a PowerShell script that can be used to replace text in a file. The command allows you to use variables as the replacement text.

Using PowerShell to Read Text Files and Replace Text

Do you need to know how to read a text file and replace content using PowerShell? The PowerShell Read-Text File is what we name it.

You’ve come to the right place! This blog article is dedicated to you. I’ll show you a function I created at the conclusion of this article that will make your life lot simpler.

It takes three steps to replace text in a file using PowerShell.

  1. Examining the document
  2. Finding the string and replacing it
  3. Making edits to the file.

Examining the document

You’ll need to read the file first. Let’s start by creating one using the Set-Content cmdlet so we can interact with it.

Set-Content -Path ‘C:file.txt’ -Value ‘foo bar baz’ Set-Content -Path ‘C:file.txt’ Set-Content -Path ‘C:file.txt’ Set

The Get-Content command may be used to read this file. By passing a text file path to the Path option, as demonstrated below, you may read the file.

Get-Content -Path ‘C:file.txt’ $content = Get-Content -Path ‘C:file.txt’ $content = Get-Content -P

Finding the string and replacing it

We need to search and replace the string now that we have the file’s content in memory as a string. The -replace operator is one method to do this. This PowerShell operator searches for and substitutes a string.

Using the sample file contents, we may replace the search term foo with the replacement string bar, resulting in foo foo baz as the file contents.

PS> $newContent = $content -replace ‘foo’, ‘bar’ bar bar baz

Adding Data to the File

Now that we’ve stored the contents of the new file in $newContent, we’ll need to write it back to the file. The Set-Content command is one method to do this.

The Set-Content command assigns a new value to all the contents of a file.

Set-Content -Path ‘C:file.txt’ | $newContent

When you use Get-Content to read the C:file.txt file, you’ll see that it now has the updated content.

Taking Care of Open File Handles

Most of the time, the steps you went through before work. However, in the real world, things don’t always work out like that.

You’ll sometimes have to deal with files that are either open or created by PowerShell. This prohibits you from rewriting the file’s new contents.

To solve the problem with the open file handle, I devised a simple procedure that enables you to create a temporary text file on disk with the changed contents first, then delete the old file and rename the temporary file.

Here’s how it works in practice:

‘C:file.txt’ as $filePath $tempFilePath = $tempFilePath “$env:TEMP $env:TEMP $env:TEMP $ $($filePath | Split-Path -Leaf) $($filePath | Split-Path -Leaf) $($filePath” ‘foo’ as $find -replace $replace = ‘bar’ (Get-Content -Path $filePath) | Add-Content -Path | $find, $replace Remove-Item -Path $tempFilePath $filePath $filePath $filePath $filePath $filePath $filePath $filePath -Destination $filePath $tempFilePath

Locate-InTextFile is an example of a function I wrote that combines this method with the ability to find (not replace) text in a file.

This method can also locate strings using the more sophisticated regular expression syntax. Regular expressions will enable you to search with greater flexibility utilizing special characters such as single quotes, special characters, and more.

I’m also using a foreach loop to handle numerous files at once, as you can see below. This is useful if you have a large number of files to process.

function Find-InTextFile { <# .SYNOPSIS Performs a find (or replace) on a string in a text file or files. .EXAMPLE PS> Find-InTextFile -FilePath ‘C:MyFile.txt’ -Find ‘water’ -Replace ‘wine’ Replaces all instances of the string ‘water’ into the string ‘wine’ in ‘C:MyFile.txt’. .EXAMPLE PS> Find-InTextFile -FilePath ‘C:MyFile.txt’ -Find ‘water’ Finds all instances of the string ‘water’ in the file ‘C:MyFile.txt’. .PARAMETER FilePath The file path of the text file you’d like to perform a find/replace on. .PARAMETER Find The string you’d like to replace. .PARAMETER Replace The string you’d like to replace your ‘Find’ string with. .PARAMETER NewFilePath If a new file with the replaced the string needs to be created instead of replacing the contents of the existing file use this param to create a new file. .PARAMETER Force If the NewFilePath param is used using this param will overwrite any file that exists in NewFilePath. #> [CmdletBinding(DefaultParameterSetName = ‘NewFile’)] [OutputType()] param ( [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)] [ValidateScript({Test-Path -Path $_ -PathType ‘Leaf’})] [string[]]$FilePath, [Parameter(Mandatory = $true)] [string]$Find, [Parameter()] [string]$Replace, [Parameter(ParameterSetName = ‘NewFile’)] [ValidateScript({ Test-Path -Path ($_ | Split-Path -Parent) -PathType ‘Container’ })] [string]$NewFilePath, [Parameter(ParameterSetName = ‘NewFile’)] [switch]$Force ) begin { $Find = [regex]::Escape($Find) } process { try { foreach ($File in $FilePath) { if ($Replace) { if ($NewFilePath) { if ((Test-Path -Path $NewFilePath -PathType ‘Leaf’) -and $Force.IsPresent) { Remove-Item -Path $NewFilePath -Force (Get-Content $File) -replace $Find, $Replace | Add-Content -Path $NewFilePath -Force } elseif ((Test-Path -Path $NewFilePath -PathType ‘Leaf’) -and !$Force.IsPresent) { Write-Warning “The file at ‘$NewFilePath’ already exists and the -Force param was not used” } else { (Get-Content $File) -replace $Find, $Replace | Add-Content -Path $NewFilePath -Force } } else { (Get-Content $File) -replace $Find, $Replace | Add-Content -Path “$File.tmp” -Force Remove-Item -Path $File Move-Item -Path “$File.tmp” -Destination $File } } else { Select-String -Path $File -Pattern $Find } } } catch { Write-Error $_.Exception.Message } } }


Set-Content: Set-Content: Set-Content: Set-Content: Set-Content: Set-Content: Set-Content: Set-Content: Set The Out-File command is a different technique to write contents to a file than the PowerShell Way to Write to a File.

The “powershell replace text in string” is a command that can be used to replace text. The PowerShell script will read the text file and then use the replacement string.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find and replace text in PowerShell?

A: In PowerShell, you can search and replace text in files very easily by using the Find-Replace command. For example, to find all occurrences of in in a file called input.txt and replace them with an asterisk (*), run this command:
Find-Replace -Pattern in -Replacement *.

Can PowerShell edit text files?

A: Yes, PowerShell is able to edit text files.

How do you replace a word in PowerShell?

A: To replace a word, you use the regular expression pattern the string to search for, followed by the replacement text. For example, if you wanted to find all occurrences of red in this document and change them all into green, your command would look like so:

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