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about_Escape_Characters

Updated: May 8, 2014

Applies To: Windows PowerShell 2.0, Windows PowerShell 3.0, Windows PowerShell 4.0

TOPIC
    about_Escape_Characters

SHORT DESCRIPTION
    Introduces the escape character in Windows PowerShell and explains
    its effect.

LONG DESCRIPTION
    Escape characters are used to assign a special interpretation to
    the characters that follow it.

    In Windows PowerShell, the escape character is the backtick (`), also
    called the grave accent (ASCII 96). The escape character can be used
    to indicate a literal, to indicate line continuation, and to indicate
    special characters.

    In a call to another program, instead of using escape characters 
    to prevent Windows PowerShell from misinterpreting program arguments, 
    you can use the stop-parsing symbol (--%). The stop-parsing symbol
    is introduced in Windows PowerShell 3.0.


 ESCAPING A VARIABLE
    When an escape character precedes a variable, it prevents a value from
    being substituted for the variable. 

    For example:

        PS C:\>$a = 5
        PS C:\>"The value is stored in $a."
        The value is stored in 5.

        PS C:\>$a = 5
        PS C:\>"The value is stored in `$a."
        The value is stored in $a.

 ESCAPING QUOTATION MARKS

    When an escape character precedes a
    double quotation mark, Windows PowerShell interprets the double quotation
    mark as a character, not as a string delimiter.
    
        PS C:\> "Use quotation marks (") to indicate a string."
        Unexpected token ')' in expression or statement.
        At line:1 char:25
        + "Use quotation marks (") <<<<  to indicate a string."

        PS C:\> "Use quotation marks (`") to indicate a string."
        Use quotation marks (") to indicate a string.
  

 USING LINE CONTINUATION

    The escape character tells Windows PowerShell that the command continues 
    on the next line.
   
    For example:

      PS C:\> Get-Process `
      >> PowerShell

      Handles  NPM(K)    PM(K)      WS(K) VM(M)   CPU(s)     Id ProcessName
      -------  ------    -----      ----- -----   ------     -- -----------
          340       8    34556      31864   149     0.98   2036 PowerShell
    

 USING SPECIAL CHARACTERS  

    When used within quotation marks, the escape character indicates a 
    special character that provides instructions to the command parser.

    The following special characters are recognized by Windows PowerShell:

        `0    Null
        `a    Alert
        `b    Backspace
        `f    Form feed
        `n    New line
        `r    Carriage return
        `t    Horizontal tab
        `v    Vertical tab

    For example:

        PS C:\> "12345678123456781`nCol1`tColumn2`tCol3"
        12345678123456781
        Col1    Column2 Col3

    For more information, type:
          Get-Help about_Special_Characters      


 STOP-PARSING SYMBOL
    When calling other programs, you can use the stop-parsing
    symbol (--%) to prevent Windows PowerShell from generating
    errors or misinterpreting program arguments. The stop-parsing 
    symbol is an alternative to using escape characters in program 
    calls. It is introduced in Windows PowerShell 3.0.

    For example, the following command uses the stop-parsing
    symbol in an Icacls command:

        icacls X:\VMS --% /grant Dom\HVAdmin:(CI)(OI)F

    For more information about the stop-parsing symbol, 
    see about_Parsing.


SEE ALSO
    about_Quoting_Rules



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