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Cheat Sheet – Console Expertise

PowerShell can take some getting used to. Particularly in case you come at it from a distinct Shell and don’t see any method to get your good outdated expertise again. Nevertheless, hidden behind that plain white on blue shell, there may be truly a variety of customization choices that assist make your life much less painful. See under for probably the most generally appreciated choices.

Tab Completion

The traditional grievance we hear is that in Home windows, Tab Completion is a lot much less useful than for instance in Bash. That is largely as a result of Ctrl+Area is difficult to find, except anyone reveals you. Similar menu alternative as in Bash, however you’ll be able to choose your most well-liked possibility utilizing the arrow keys and every possibility could include some documentation:

Use everytime you would use the Tab Key

Key Bindings

There are a number of keybindings that come in useful to know:

Keybinding Perform
Ctrl+Area Tab Menu
Ctrl+r Search in your enter historical past
Ctrl+a Choose all the pieces in your present enter/command line
Ctrl+c Copy all the pieces at the moment chosen in your enter/command line to your clipboard
Ctrl+v Paste your clipboard into the present enter/command line
Shift+Enter Kind multiline textual content in your console with out executing the command

Particularly, you will need to get used to not pasting with right-click – by utilizing Ctrl+v as an alternative, you get a single enter historical past for a number of traces, you’ll be able to preview your enter earlier than sending it (helps with these artifacts you get when pasting from Groups) and also you cease unintentionally overwriting your clipboard by deciding on one thing within the console window.

Additionally, with right-click, you generally get the fallacious order.

Oh, and you’ll outline your personal keybindings if you wish to. No want to just accept the defaults.


There are many PowerShell packages on the market that may make console life so much much less painful. Use Discover-Module to seek for them and Set up-Module to put in them. Instance:

Discover-Module *SQL*
Set up-Module Powerline

Searching for a command however don’t know the module it’s from?

Discover-Module -Command Write-PSFMessage

Profile / Begin Script

The important thing to final customization is to have a method to outline code that runs on every console begin with out requiring guide motion. Now if solely there have been a approach to do this in PowerShell …


Yeah, that straightforward. So long as that file exists, it is going to be run.

notepad $profile

Add code, save, and you might be good to go.

There are totally different profile information per utility working PowerShell – VSCode has a distinct one than pwsh.exe than powershell.exe. Be sure you edit the file you meant to edit. Or replace the worldwide profile for all functions: $profile.CurrentUserAllHosts

PowerShell 7 / PowerShell Core

There’s Home windows PowerShell, which comes put in by default on any Home windows. However there’s additionally a cool model you need to first set up. It provides nice comfort, higher efficiency and the power to truly like utilizing Visible Studio Code with PowerShell. You may seize it through all kinds of sources, such because the Microsoft Retailer, Github or your most well-liked package deal supervisor.

It’s also possible to set up it on MacOS or Linux.

You must achieve this, it’s superior.


Need to customise your immediate to be extra colourful / fancy / no matter else you need it to do?

Nicely, all it’s worthwhile to do is override the operate named immediate and put it in your profile and that’s that. Don’t understand how or need to borrow from others to make your life simpler?

Give Powerline (for PowerShell) an opportunity. They’ve some fancy examples as effectively!

A colorful command prompt

Dynamic Tab Completion

With the earlier notes on Tab Completion, you already noticed get higher tab completion. However PowerShell remains to be not studying your thoughts relating to the values supplied – if a command doesn’t supply it, you’re out of luck. Proper?

Nicely no, there’s instruments to repair that. There are some choices, however the simple-most might be from the PSFramework challenge. To put in it, run this line (as soon as):

Set up-Module PSFramework

Then you’ll be able to add the magic to your profile. Here’s a fast instance on add values to the “-Tenant” parameter on “Set-AzContext”:

Register-PSFTeppScriptblock -Identify AZ.Tenant -ScriptBlock {
Register-PSFTeppArgumentCompleter -Command Set-AZContext -Parameter Tenant -Identify AZ.Tenant

The Clipboard

The clipboard is at all times a useful instrument to interactively cross over between functions. Now if solely there have been instructions in PowerShell to take action …


And since we’re all about being lazy, there’s aliases for that: “gcb” and “scb”. On that be aware, if you wish to paste a number of columns into Excel, you need to use the tab delimiter. Don’t do guide labor although, right here’s the simple method to get knowledge prepared to stick to Excel:

dir | ConvertTo-Csv -Delimiter "`t" | scb

That ConvertTo-Csv is approach an excessive amount of textual content although. Wouldn’t or not it’s good to make that shorter?


In PowerShell, there may be a simple method to be lazy: Aliases. Use their energy to abbreviate your generally used instructions. Then put it in your $profile so that you don’t have to recollect so as to add them.

Set-Alias ctc ConvertTo-Csv

And now that earlier line might be shortened to:

dir | ctc -d "`t" | scb

The place is that “-d” coming from although?

Quick Parameter Names

You recognize all these commandline instruments which have an extended and a brief notation for his or her parameters? Like the place you’ll be able to both specify “–assist” or “-h”?

Nicely, PowerShell takes {that a} step additional: You solely have to sort sufficient of the parameter title to uniquely determine it.

Utilizing the instance above with ConvertTo-Csv, there may be solely a single parameter that begins with “D”, in order that’s sufficient to specify it.

Really, there’s a widespread parameter named “Debug”, however these don’t rely right here.

Much more instruments have been created to assist being lazy & snug than may presumably all be listed, however right here a number of extra initiatives on the market that may assist make console life extra snug:

Software Description
AZ.Instruments.Predictor Predictive intellisense for the AZ modules
TabExpansionPlusPlus Provides tab completion for traditional commandline instruments corresponding to ROBOCOPY
PSUtil Provides keybindings, aliases and different conveniences
oh-my-posh Rework your immediate, various to the Powerline module proven above
posh-git Add git integration to your immediate

Paths, Explorer & PowerShell

Usually sufficient you need to work together with the file system throughout functions:

  • Received the explorer open and need to begin PowerShell in that path?
  • Simply created an output file and need to open it?
  • Open the explorer within the present path?

For all of that there are handy choices. From throughout the shell, Invoke-Merchandise or its alias ii permit you to open a path in its default utility:

ii .report.csv # In all probability Excel
ii . # Present path in Explorer

The opposite approach round works simply as handy. Within the Home windows Explorer, simply sort pwsh.exe (or powershell.exe, in case you didn’t improve):

The Windows Explorer address bar, with the path replaced with "pwsh.exe"

Inspecting Output

If you run a command, typically sufficient you get some good desk, that’s simple to learn, however type of missing in knowledge:

Results of a dir command in a neat table

Happily, by piping to FL *, you get to see all the pieces (even when it’s a bit a lot):

Results of a dir command, with a long list of properties, hiding nothing


“I designed PowerShell to optimize the consumer, not the code”

-Jeffrey Snover, inventor of the PowerShell

PowerShell permits us to optimize the way in which we work within the console, it’s designed to assist us automate and make issues go away. So why do I see so many individuals who don’t apply that very same perspective to their very own, private console atmosphere? Go forward and settle in in your console … or face the cost of being insufficiently lazy!




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