PowerShell ConvertFrom-JSON

PowerShell ConvertFrom-JSON

JSON is the JavaScript Object Notation.  PowerShell version 3.0 introduced a special cmdlet to handle text formatted for JavaScript.

Topics for PowerShell's ConvertFrom-JSON


Introduction to ConvertFrom-JSON

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is designed for data exchange; one use of JSON is as an alternative to XML.  Although it uses the same syntax as JavaScript, JSON is platform and language independent making it useful for web applications.

Key PowerShell Concept: Here-String @"…"@

PowerShell has a technique called Here-String for dealing with text; you need special care when handling text contain a lot of speech marks and other delimiters.  Languages such as VBScript handle speech marks with escape characters, however, I find the resulting syntax cumbersome, and my first attempts usually contain hard-to-find errors.  PowerShell handles this text data conversion easily, provided you master the Here-String construction. Here is a simple example:


Key point: Place @", and especially the final, "@ on their own line.
To be precise, the last thing on the first line must be @"
"@ must be the first thing on the last line.

PowerShell JSON Example

$Input = @"
"Contacts": [
{ "FirstName":"John" , "LastName":"Evans" , "Email":"john.evans@cp.com" },
{ "FirstName":"Mira" , "LastName":"Cody" , "Email":"mira.cody@cp.com" },
{ "FirstName":"Trevor" , "LastName":"Williams", "Email":"trevor.williams@cp.com" }


$Victim = $Input | ConvertFrom-JSON
$Victim.Contacts | Format-Table FirstName, LastName, Email -AutoSize

Note 1: Observe the crucial @".."@ wrapper

Note 2: Observe how PowerShell deals with the tricky syntax of the JavaScript "Contacts" above.  Check the punctuation of not only the speech marks, but also the colon, commas an two types of bracket.  Thank you ConvertFrom-JSON for dealing with all this syntax.

# ConvertFrom-JSON output result:

FirstName LastName Email 
--------- -------- -----
John Evans john.evans@cp.com
Mira Cody mira.cody@cp.com
Trevor Williams trevor.williams@cp.com

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More Information About ConvertFrom-JSON

How did I know that: "The ConvertFrom-JSON cmdlet converts a JSON-formatted string to custom object (PSCustomObject) that has a property for each field in the JSON string"?  The answer is that I interrogated the cmdlet with PowerShell's Get-Help thus:

Get-Help ConvertFrom-JSON -Full

Note 3: As is usual with Get-Help, the -Full parameter reveals examples of the cmdlet in action. 

Remember the Difference Between @" and @'.

Be aware of the significance of @" and @'.  PowerShell consistently treats the single quote as meaning literal, don't convert, whereas double quotes cause PowerShell to process variables as necessary.  Here is a suitable vehicle to see the difference:

# Problem: single quote.
$Math = @'
One is "$(1*1)"
Two is '$(1+1)'
Three is $(6/2)

One is "$(1*1)"
Two is '$(1+1)'
Three is $(6/2)

Swap @" and "@ for @' and '@

## Result: Variable substitution inside @"…."@
One is "1"
Two is '2'
Three is 3

Troubleshooting ConvertFrom-JSON

Pay attention to sequencing.  Start with @" (and not "@); finish with "@ (and not @").

Employ the correct type of quotes.  Make sure that the text block itself employs only straight single or double quotes, not the curly variants.  These alternatives, which I don't advise, precede quotation mark with the word left or right: For example &rsquo or Alt+0146; (right single quotation mark ’ ).

Research More ConvertFrom Cmdlets

Get-Command -verb ConvertFrom



The last cmdlet ConvertFrom-StringData surprised me; further research revealed that it also uses the here-string construction @'…'@.

See also ConvertFrom-Csv »

Summary of PowerShell’s ConvertFrom-JSON Cmdlet

If you need to convert JavaScript syntax to PowerShell then version 3.0 brings ConvertTo-JSON and ConvertFrom-JSON cmdlets to handle the tricky exchange of formatted text.

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See more Microsoft PowerShell output tutorials:

PShell Home   • Out-File   • Out-GridView   • ConvertTo-Csv   • ConvertTo-Html   • ConvertFrom-Csv

Tee-Object   • Import-CSV   • Format-Table   • PowerShell Here-String  • ConvertFrom-JSON

Export-CliXml   • Format-List   • Read-Host    • PowerShell Get-History   • -f format   • Pipe to file

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.