Set-Content

Writes new content or replaces existing content in a file.

Syntax

Set-Content
   [-Path] <string[]>
   [-Value] <Object[]>
   [-PassThru]
   [-Filter <string>][-Include <string[]>]
   [-Exclude <string[]>]
   [-Force]
   [-Credential <pscredential>][-WhatIf]
   [-Confirm]
   [-NoNewline]
   [-Encoding <Encoding>][-AsByteStream]
   [-Stream <string>][<CommonParameters>]
Set-Content
   [-Value] <Object[]>
   -LiteralPath <string[]>
   [-PassThru]
   [-Filter <string>][-Include <string[]>]
   [-Exclude <string[]>]
   [-Force]
   [-Credential <pscredential>][-WhatIf]
   [-Confirm]
   [-NoNewline]
   [-Encoding <Encoding>][-AsByteStream]
   [-Stream <string>][<CommonParameters>]

Description

Set-Content is a string-processing cmdlet that writes new content or replaces the content in a file. Set-Content replaces the existing content and differs from the Add-Content cmdlet that appends content to a file. To send content to Set-Content you can use the Value parameter on the command line or send content through the pipeline.

If you need to create files or directories for the following examples, see New-Item.

Examples

Example 1: Replace the contents of multiple files in a directory

This example replaces the content for multiple files in the current directory.

Get-ChildItem -Path .\Test*.txt

Test1.txt
Test2.txt
Test3.txt

Set-Content -Path .\Test*.txt -Value 'Hello, World'
Get-Content -Path .\Test*.txt

Hello, World
Hello, World
Hello, World

The Get-ChildItem cmdlet uses the Path parameter to list .txt files that begin with Test* in the current directory. The Set-Content cmdlet uses the Path parameter to specify the Test*.txt files. The Value parameter provides the text string Hello, World that replaces the existing content in each file. The Get-Content cmdlet uses the Path parameter to specify the Test*.txt files and displays each file's content in the PowerShell console.

Example 2: Create a new file and write content

This example creates a new file and writes the current date and time to the file.

Set-Content -Path .\DateTime.txt -Value (Get-Date)
Get-Content -Path .\DateTime.txt

1/30/2019 09:55:08

Set-Content uses the Path and Value parameters to create a new file named DateTime.txt in the current directory. The Value parameter uses Get-Date to get the current date and time. Set-Content writes the DateTime object to the file as a string. The Get-Content cmdlet uses the Path parameter to display the content of DateTime.txt in the PowerShell console.

Example 3: Replace text in a file

This command replaces all instances of word within an existing file.

Get-Content -Path .\Notice.txt

Warning
Replace Warning with a new word.
The word Warning was replaced.

Get-Content -Path .\Notice.txt |
    ForEach-Object {$_ -Replace 'Warning', 'Caution'} |
        Set-Content -Path .\Notice.txt
Get-Content -Path .\Notice.txt

Caution
Replace Caution with a new word.
The word Caution was replaced.

The Get-Content cmdlet uses the Path parameter to specify the Notice.txt file in the current directory. The Get-Content command is wrapped with parentheses so that the command finishes before being sent down the pipeline.

The contents of the Notice.txt file are sent down the pipeline to the ForEach-Object cmdlet. ForEach-Object uses the automatic variable $_ and replaces each occurrence of Warning with Caution. The objects are sent down the pipeline to the Set-Content cmdlet. Set-Content uses the Path parameter to specify the Notice.txt file and writes the updated content to the file.

The last Get-Content cmdlet displays the updated file content in the PowerShell console.

Example 4: Use Filters with Set-Content

You can specify a filter to the Set-Content cmdlet. When using filters to qualify the Path parameter, you need to include a trailing asterisk (*) to indicate the contents of the path.

The following command set the content all *.txt files in the C:\Temp directory to the Value empty.

Set-Content -Path C:\Temp\* -Filter *.txt -Value "Empty"

Parameters

-AsByteStream

Specifies that the content should be read as a stream of bytes. This parameter was introduced in PowerShell 6.0.

A warning occurs when you use the AsByteStream parameter with the Encoding parameter. The AsByteStream parameter ignores any encoding and the output is returned as a stream of bytes.

Type:SwitchParameter
Position:Named
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:False
-Confirm

Prompts you for confirmation before running the cmdlet.

Type:SwitchParameter
Aliases:cf
Position:Named
Default value:False
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:False
-Credential

Note

This parameter is not supported by any providers installed with PowerShell. To impersonate another user, or elevate your credentials when running this cmdlet, use Invoke-Command.

Type:PSCredential
Position:Named
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:True (ByPropertyName)
Accept wildcard characters:False
-Encoding

Specifies the type of encoding for the target file. The default value is UTF8NoBOM.

Encoding is a dynamic parameter that the FileSystem provider adds to Set-Content. This parameter works only in file system drives.

The acceptable values for this parameter are as follows:

  • ASCII: Uses the encoding for the ASCII (7-bit) character set.
  • BigEndianUnicode: Encodes in UTF-16 format using the big-endian byte order.
  • OEM: Uses the default encoding for MS-DOS and console programs.
  • Unicode: Encodes in UTF-16 format using the little-endian byte order.
  • UTF7: Encodes in UTF-7 format.
  • UTF8: Encodes in UTF-8 format.
  • UTF8BOM: Encodes in UTF-8 format with Byte Order Mark (BOM)
  • UTF8NoBOM: Encodes in UTF-8 format without Byte Order Mark (BOM)
  • UTF32: Encodes in UTF-32 format.

Beginning with PowerShell 6.2, the Encoding parameter also allows numeric IDs of registered code pages (like -Encoding 1251) or string names of registered code pages (like -Encoding "windows-1251"). For more information, see the .NET documentation for Encoding.CodePage.

Type:Encoding
Accepted values:ASCII, BigEndianUnicode, OEM, Unicode, UTF7, UTF8, UTF8BOM, UTF8NoBOM, UTF32
Position:Named
Default value:UTF8NoBOM
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:False
-Exclude

Specifies, as a string array, an item or items that this cmdlet excludes in the operation. The value of this parameter qualifies the Path parameter. Enter a path element or pattern, such as *.txt. Wildcard characters are permitted. The Exclude parameter is effective only when the command includes the contents of an item, such as C:\Windows\*, where the wildcard character specifies the contents of the C:\Windows directory.

Type:String[]
Position:Named
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:True
-Filter

Specifies a filter to qualify the Path parameter. The FileSystem provider is the only installed PowerShell provider that supports the use of filters. You can find the syntax for the FileSystem filter language in about_Wildcards. Filters are more efficient than other parameters, because the provider applies them when the cmdlet gets the objects rather than having PowerShell filter the objects after they are retrieved.

Type:String
Position:Named
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:True
-Force

Forces the cmdlet to set the contents of a file, even if the file is read-only. Implementation varies from provider to provider. For more information, see about_Providers. The Force parameter does not override security restrictions.

Type:SwitchParameter
Position:Named
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:False
-Include

Specifies, as a string array, an item or items that this cmdlet includes in the operation. The value of this parameter qualifies the Path parameter. Enter a path element or pattern, such as "*.txt". Wildcard characters are permitted. The Include parameter is effective only when the command includes the contents of an item, such as C:\Windows\*, where the wildcard character specifies the contents of the C:\Windows directory.

Type:String[]
Position:Named
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:True
-LiteralPath

Specifies a path to one or more locations. The value of LiteralPath is used exactly as it is typed. No characters are interpreted as wildcards. If the path includes escape characters, enclose it in single quotation marks. Single quotation marks tell PowerShell not to interpret any characters as escape sequences.

For more information, see about_Quoting_Rules.

Type:String[]
Aliases:PSPath
Position:Named
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:True (ByPropertyName)
Accept wildcard characters:False
-NoNewline

The string representations of the input objects are concatenated to form the output. No spaces or newlines are inserted between the output strings. No newline is added after the last output string.

Type:SwitchParameter
Position:Named
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:False
-PassThru

Returns an object that represents the content. By default, this cmdlet does not generate any output.

Type:SwitchParameter
Position:Named
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:False
-Path

Specifies the path of the item that receives the content. Wildcard characters are permitted.

Type:String[]
Position:0
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:True (ByPropertyName)
Accept wildcard characters:True
-Stream

Specifies an alternative data stream for content. If the stream does not exist, this cmdlet creates it. Wildcard characters are not supported.

Stream is a dynamic parameter that the FileSystem provider adds to Set-Content. This parameter works only in file system drives.

You can use the Set-Content cmdlet to change the content of the Zone.Identifier alternate data stream. However, we do not recommend this as a way to eliminate security checks that block files that are downloaded from the Internet. If you verify that a downloaded file is safe, use the Unblock-File cmdlet.

This parameter was introduced in PowerShell 3.0.

Type:String
Position:Named
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:False
-Value

Specifies the new content for the item.

Type:Object[]
Position:1
Default value:None
Accept pipeline input:True (ByPropertyName, ByValue)
Accept wildcard characters:False
-WhatIf

Shows what would happen if the cmdlet runs. The cmdlet is not run.

Type:SwitchParameter
Aliases:wi
Position:Named
Default value:False
Accept pipeline input:False
Accept wildcard characters:False

Inputs

System.Object

You can pipe an object that contains the new value for the item to Set-Content.

Outputs

None or System.String

When you use the PassThru parameter, Set-Content generates a System.String object that represents the content. Otherwise, this cmdlet does not generate any output.

Notes

  • You can also refer to Set-Content by its built-in alias, sc. For more information, see about_Aliases.
  • Set-Content is designed for string processing. If you pipe non-string objects to Set-Content, it converts the object to a string before writing it. To write objects to files, use Out-File.
  • The Set-Content cmdlet is designed to work with the data exposed by any provider. To list the providers available in your session, type Get-PsProvider. For more information, see about_Providers.