PowerShell Variable Tutorial

PowerShell is a very advanced scripting and programming language that supports the variables. Variables in PowerShell can be used to store data like integer, number, string, text, date, time, object, etc. For example, a PowerShell variable can be store a command output in a structured way as we can also call it an object.

Define Variable

In PowerShell, variables can be defined in different ways. A variable is prefixed with the $ sign in order to express that this is a variable. In the following example, we will create a variable named $myvar . We will do not set any data into this variable which means a variable defined without any first value will be an empty variable.


echo $myvar
# Output will be empty 

Alternatively, we can create or define a variable by assigning a value to it. In the following example, we will create a new variable $age and set 25 as a value.

$age = 25

PowerShell provides commands or cmdlets. These command results can be also used to create a variable and set the value of the variable. In the following example, we will use the Get-Process command which returns currently running processes. The returned value will be set for the variable named $process.

$process = Get-Process

Variable Types

PowerShell is object-oriented programming and scripting language. PowerShell provides advanced features like a complete programming language. The PowerShell commands and types are derived from the .NET framework which is the infrastructure of the C#, Vb.NET programming languages. So PowerShell provides different variable types in order to store the variable data. These variable types are decided automatically by PowerShell according to the data type.

# Integer Type
$age = 25

# String Type
$name = "İsmail Baydan"

# Array Type
$mylist =  1 , 2 , 3

# DateTime Type
$today = (Get-Date).DateTime

As an object-oriented and .NET supported programming language it supports different object types. So the PowerShell provides complex types for different classes.

String Variable Operations

The string is a popular variable type and is used for different cases. Also, the string variables can be used in different operations. In the following example, we will provide some samples of the string variable operations.

$hello = "Hello"

$windowstect = "WindowsTect"

#Join, Add or Concatenate Two String Variables and A String Value
$str = $hello+" "+$windowstect

#Convert integer 25 into the string variable
$age = [string]35

PowerShell provides the New-Variable command which is used to create and define a new variable with different properties like Name, Visibility/Scope, Value, etc.

New-Variable -Name "age" -Visibility Public -Value 35

Print Variable Type

In PowerShell every variable is an object even it contains basic values like string, integer, etc. PowerShell objects provide the GetType() method which returns the type of the given object.

$age = 35

Print Variable Type

As the GetType() method returns the type object it provides the full name of the given object type with the FullName attribute like below.

$age = 35


List All Variables

All PowerShell variables can be listed by using the ls variable:* or Get-Variable commands. These commands will list currently existing variables with their values.

ls variable:*


List All Variables

Change Variable Value

After creating a variable we can change its value. As the term suggest variable its content and data are also variable. A variable value can be changed by using the equal sign which is used assignment.

$age = 25

PowerShell also provides the Set-Variable command in order to change and set variables. The set variable is very similar to the new variable where the -Value property should provide the new value like below.

Set-Variable -Name "age" -Value 25

Make Variable as Private

By default defined variables are visible to everyone who can access the PowerShell environment. Other users can easily access the variable. The Set-Variable command is used to make a variable private. The -Visibility option set as Private below.

Set-Variable -Name "age" -Value 25 -Visibility Private

Clear Variable or Set Variable As Null

Variables are created and used to store values. But after using a variable we may clear the variable where this variable value or content will be set as Null. There are different ways to clear variables or set null. The Clear-Variable can be used to clear the variable value completely or the $null can be assigned into a variable to clear it. We will also use the -Name property for the Clear-Variable command in order to provide the variable name to clear.

Clear-Variable -Name $age

$age = $null

Print or Export Variables

Variables value can be printed and exported by using the echo, Get-Content, Out-File, Export-CSV commands. By using the echo command a variable content can be printed in PowerShell. The echo command is natively a Linux command and provided by PowerShell in order to make users Linux users comfortable with its shell environment.

echo $age

The official command to print a variable in PowerShell is the Get-Content.

Get-Content $age

Out-File is used to print the given object or variable content into the specified file.

Out-File $age

CSV is a file format where columns are separated with a comma by default. A variable can be printed with the Export-CSV method like below.

Export-CSV $age

Remove/Delete Variable

After a variable is created in PowerShell is exist until the current session ends or the script ends. But this may create collusion if we need to create new variables. But existing variables can be removed by using the Remote-Variable command or Remove-Item command.

In order to remove or delete a variable with the Remove-Variable command the -Name property should be used to specify the variable name. In the following example, we will delete the variable named $age.

$age = 35

Remove-Variable $age

The Remove-Item command is used to remove different data from the PowerShell. It is a generic command to remove registry, objects, etc. So in order to remove a variable the -Path property will be used with the Variable:\VARNAME type with the VARNAME which is the variable name. In the following example, we will remove the variable named $age.

$age = 35

Remove-Item -Path Variable:\age

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