Using PowerShell to Read Text Files and Replace Text

PowerShell is a tool that is responsible for performing all the admin and automation tasks. It is capable of handling all the File Explorer operations such as copying, renaming, moving, or deleting files. More specifically, PowerShell has several cmdlets that can read text files and also replace the text inside those files. However, the “Get-Content” cmdlet is used to read files with the “-replace” parameter to replace the text.

This blog will discuss methods to fix the mentioned query.

How to Read Text Files and Replace Text Using PowerShell?

Now, we will discuss the two procedures to read text files and replace text separately, and in combination.

Method 1: Read Text Files Using PowerShell “Get-Content” Command

The “Get-Content” cmdlet is used in PowerShell to read text files. This cmdlet displays text file data within the PowerShell console.

Example 1: Read a Single Text File

This example will demonstrate how to read text files using the “Get-Content” cmdlet. But, let’s first, create a text file using the “Out-File” cmdlet.

"This is some text" | Out-File C:\Doc\File.txt

According to the above code:

  • First, add the string within the inverted command.
  • After that, add a pipeline “|” to transfer the result of the previous command to the next command.
  • Then, use the “Out-File” cmdlet along with the file path to export the output to a text file:

Let’s read the content of the exported text file using the “Get-Content” cmdlet with the file path:

Get-Content C:\Doc\File.txt

A single text file was read successfully.

Example 2: Read All the Text Files Inside a Specified Directory

This demonstration will help to read all the text files available in the respective directory:

Get-Content C:\Doc\*.txt

First add the “Get-Content” cmdlet along with the folder address and add the wildcard “*” along with “.txt” extension to read all the text files in the respective folder:

All the text files were read inside a directory successfully.

Method 2: Replace Text Using PowerShell “-replace” Parameter

The “-replace” parameter is used to replace text within a string. It takes two words instances separated by a comma. This option works in such a way that it searches the first word and replaces it with the second word.

Example 1: Replace Text Within a String

Now, replace the text instances within a string assigned variable:

$str = "Hello Earth"

$str -replace "Earth", "Mars"

According to the above code:

  • First, add a variable and assign a text string to it.
  • After that, in the next line, specify the variable and the “-replace” operator along with the two words separated by commas.
  • The first word will be searched inside a string and replaced with the second one:

It can be observed that “Earth” has been replaced by “Mars”.

Example 2: Replace All the Text Instances Inside a File

This example will demonstrate to replace all the text instances inside the specified text file:

(Get-Content C:\Doc\File.txt) -Replace 'Cat', 'Dog' | Set-Content C:\Doc\File.txt

According to the above code:

  • First, write the “Get-Content” cmdlet along with the file address within small brackets.
  • After that, add the “-replace” parameter and add two words within inverted commas separated by a comma.
  • Then, add a pipeline “|” and use the “Set-Content” alongside the target file path:

Let’s check the replaced text by executing the below command:

Get-Content C:\Doc\File.txt

It can be observed that the various text instances inside a file were successfully replaced.


PowerShell uses the “Get-Content” cmdlet along with the file path to read text files. In order to replace text, first add the string or file path with “Get-Content” and then add the “-replace” parameter alongside two words separated by a comma. This post has elaborated a detailed guide to read and replace text in PowerShell separately, or simultaneously.

About the author

Muhammad Farhan

I am a Computer Science graduate and now a technical writer who loves to provide the easiest solutions to the most difficult problems related to Windows, Linux, and Web designing. My love for Computer Science emerges every day because of its ease in our everyday life.