PowerShell’s Out-GridView Cmdlet

PowerShell Out-GridView – New in Version 2.0PowerShell Out-GridView

Out-GridView provides a better way for PowerShell to present tabulated information.  It works particularly well for displaying data returned by Get-Service or Get-Process.

Topics for PowerShell Out-GridView


Introduction to Out-GridView

If you have not seen Out-GridView before it could be because this is a new cmdlet in PowerShell Version 2.0. As with any new cmdlet, before we put Out-GridView to work it’s worth calling for help so that we can check the syntax and seek out interesting parameters.

Get-Help Out-GridView -full

Note 1:  Because I want to see examples, I rarely use Get-Help without appending the -full switch.  In this case help alerted me to sorting the columns by simply double-clicking their heading.  In addition, it was only by reading the help file that I realized the benefit of using the ‘Search’ box as a filter.

Note 2:  The only problem I have encountered with Out-GridView is spelling the noun.  Grid View is wrong, and omitting View is another fatal sin, Out-Grid does not work.  Remember it’s one word, gridview as in Out-GridView.

Example 1: Out-GridView and Get-Service

# PowerShell Out-GridView Example
Get-Service | Out-GridView

Note 1:  Please remember the pipe (|), especially when you get too ambitious, and something goes wrong with your complex experiment.

Note 2:  You can also copy the data displayed by Out-GridView and paste it into Excel.  Numeric data often benefits from further manipulation by the spreadsheets functions.  I find that the old keyboard shortcuts such as Ctrl + a are handy for selecting all the rows.

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Example 2: Out-GridView and Get-Process

This example illustrates the benefits of adding extra PowerShell code in order to control the headings.  For example, we want the name of each process in the first column.

# PowerShell Out-GridView in action
Get-Process | select-Object -property name, workingSet, peakWorkingSet | Out-GridView

PowerShell Out-GridView

Note 1:  Remember that you can sort on any of the columns simply by double-clicking.

Note 2:  It surprised me to discover that you can also drag and drop the columns to re-order the data.  Resizing the columns works intuitively, just like Excel.PowerShell Out-GridView

Note 3:  Out-GridView has a search box that you don’t normally get with Get-Process.  One use of this Search capability is to filter the data.

Example 3: Out-GridView Show in Groups

Another surprising feature of Out-GridView is how we can group items.  For example, with Get-Service you can aggregate the services that are stopped.  Just right-click on the heading and see if it supports ‘Show in Groups’.  See screenshot to the right.  All in all, Out-Grid means that you can manipulate data quickly on the fly, this saves having to revisit the code and changing the properties or adjusting the grouping syntax.

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Example 4: Import XML Files

One more pleasant revelation, if you import an XML file then you can improve the way the data displays by piping its contents into Out-GridView.  Assuming you have a suitable xml file called services.xml, try this:

Import-CliXML C:\PShell\services.xml | Out-GridView

Note 1:  I don’t want you to go away thinking that Out-GridView is only suitable for Get-Service, it’s just that all Windows computers have services, and their data shows off this display cmdlet in it’s best light. 

Footnote: In PowerShell 3.0 Out-GridView supports the -PassThru parameter.

Other Members of the ‘Output’ Family

While Out-GridView is easy to understand, it maybe that you already know other members of the ‘Output’ family of cmdlets.  My point is that if you have already used Out-File then you will know what to expect from Out-GridView.  On the other hand, if this is all new territory, then you can apply knowledge of Out-GridView to Out-Printer.

Get-Command -verb out 



See also Tee-Object redirection »


Summary of PowerShell’s Out-GridView Cmdlet

PowerShell v 2.0 has a lovely new cmdlet called Out-GridView, what this does is take the output from another command and present it in a new window where the data is displayed in an interactive table.  Take the time to research the ‘Search’ box and discover how to ‘Show in Groups’.

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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.