Import data from a text file into Powershell

Lots of applications will output error logs and information in the form of a text file, so at some point you may find yourself needing to import data from a text file into Powershell.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to do so, with the Get-Content command.

First, let's create a list to import:


By storing this list as SearchEngines.txt, in the same folder as the script we're running, we can call this:

Get-Content -Path $PSScriptRoot\'SearchEngines.txt'

Get a specific number of lines

To get a specific number of lines, you can use the -TotalCount parameter.

For instance, to get the first 3 lines back, you can run the following:

Get-Content -Path $PSScriptRoot\'SearchEngines.txt' -TotalCount 3

Get the lines at the end

To get the last lines of a file, we can use the -Tail parameter:

# Get the last two lines
Get-Content -Path $PSScriptRoot\'SearchEngines.txt' -Tail 2

Get a specific line

To get a specific line, we can first filter down by -TotalCount, and get the last element.

How do we get the last element? Do we use -Tail?

Not quite:

# Try to get the 3rd line, by taking the first 3 elements, and getting the last
Get-Content -Path $PSScriptRoot\'SearchEngines.txt' -TotalCount 3 -Tail 1
Get-Content : The parameters TotalCount and Tail cannot be used together. Please specify only one parameter.

To get the last element, we can wrap the query up in brackets, and get the -1th element in the array.

By doing so, it will find the element before the first, which wraps around to fetch the last element:

(Get-Content -Path $PSScriptRoot\'SearchEngines.txt' -TotalCount 3)[-1]