PowerShell Array String Conversion

How PowerShell Converts an Array into a String

The problem is getting the formatting right when you convert chunks of data into a single string.  The solution is an operator called -Join.


PowerShell String Problem

Scenario, you want to create a single string from data stored in assorted database fields.

Problem 1) Each field on a separate line

# Mission: To use PowerShell to join data
$First = "Alan"
$Middle = "Guy"
$Last = "Thomas"
$First, $Middle, $Last

#Result: an unwanted list output:

Problem 2) DataRunsTogther

# PowerShell to join data: Problem
$First = "Alan"
$Middle = "Guy"
$Last = "Thomas"
"Here is your bonus " +$First +$Middle +$Last

#Result: the data runs together

Solution to Array String Problem: -Join ‘ ‘

The -Join operator allows us to place a delimiter between the elements, in this instance the space – ‘ ‘ – makes sense because this what we normally place between words.

# Employ -Join to concatenate data strings.
$First = "Alan"
$Middle = "Guy"
$Last = "Thomas"
$First, $Middle, $Last -Join ‘ ‘

Note:  Observe the comma (,) between each field.

Note: The rhythm of the command is <String>, -Join, finally the delimiter.

Result: Success! We have combined 3 strings to make one string element.

Alan Guy Thomas

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Further Information About PowerShell’s -Join Operator

PowerShell supports a comprehensive series of ‘about’ documents; -Join is an operator, the opposite of -Split see more thus:

# Research About PowerShell -Join
Get-Help about_Join

Incidentally, PowerShell has a whole family of ‘about_xyz’ topics.

Controlling PowerShell Arrays with the $OFS Variable

$OFS is a special PowerShell variable, it’s full name says it all: Output Format Separator.

It works well with arrays if you prefer a different separator from a single space.  Here is an example of converting an array to a string, with a comma separator:

$First = "Alan"
$Middle = "Guy"
$Last = "Thomas"
$Age = "63"
$Person = $First, $Middle, $Last, ($Age/2 -as[int])
$OFS = ‘, ‘
$OFS = $nul

#Result showing the effect of $OFS
Alan, Guy, Thomas, 32
Alan Guy Thomas 32

See more about Arrays in PowerShell ยป

Summary of PowerShell’s Array String Conversion

PowerShell supports the -Join operator, which is ideal for combining multiple strings into a single element, for example FirstName, Lastname – Full Name.

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See more PowerShell examples for syntax advice

PowerShell Syntax  • PowerShell Array  • PowerShell Array String Conversion  • Plist

Get-Date  • PowerShell Quotes  • PowerShell variables  • RegEx  • PowerShell functions

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Please email me if you have a better example script. Also please report any factual mistakes, grammatical errors or broken links, I will be happy to correct the fault.