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about_Format.ps1xml

Updated: October 17, 2013

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

TOPIC
    about_Format.ps1xml

SHORT DESCRIPTION
    The Format.ps1xml files in Windows PowerShell define the default display
    of objects in the Windows PowerShell console. You can create your own
    Format.ps1xml files to change the display of objects or to define default
    displays for new object types that you create in Windows PowerShell.

LONG DESCRIPTION
    The Format.ps1xml files in Windows PowerShell define the default display
    of objects in Windows PowerShell. You can create your own Format.ps1xml
    files to change the display of objects or to define default displays
    for new object types that you create in Windows PowerShell.


    When Windows PowerShell displays an object, it uses the data in structured
    formatting files to determine the default display of the object. The
    data in the formatting files determines whether the object is rendered in
    a table or in a list, and it determines which properties are displayed by
    default. 


    The formatting affects the display only. It does not affect which object
    properties are passed down the pipeline or how they are passed.


    Windows PowerShell includes seven formatting files. These files are 
    located in the installation directory ($pshome). Each file defines the 
    display of a group of Microsoft .NET Framework objects:


Certificate.Format.ps1xml
            Objects in the Certificate store, such as X.509 certificates and 
            certificate stores.

DotNetTypes.Format.ps1xml
            Other .NET Framework types, such as CultureInfo, FileVersionInfo, 
            and EventLogEntry objects.

FileSystem.Format.ps1xml
            File system objects, such as files and directories.

Help.Format.ps1xml
            Help views, such as detailed and full views, parameters, and 
            examples.

PowerShellCore.format.ps1xml
            Objects generated by Windows PowerShell core cmdlets, such as 
            Get-Member and Get-History.

PowerShellTrace.format.ps1xml
            Trace objects, such as those generated by the Trace-Command cmdlet.

Registry.format.ps1xml 
            Registry objects, such as keys and entries.


    A formatting file can define four different views of each object: 
    table, list, wide, and custom. For example, when the output of a
    Get-ChildItem command is piped to a Format-List command, Format-List
    uses the view in the FileSystem.format.ps1xml file to determine how to 
    display the file and folder objects as a list.

    When a formatting file includes more than one view of an object, 
    Windows PowerShell applies the first view that it finds.

    In a Format.ps1xml file, a view is defined by a set of XML tags that
    describe the name of the view, the type of object to which it can
    be applied, the column headers, and the properties that are displayed
    in the body of the view. The format in Format.ps1xml files is applied
    just before the data is presented to the user. 
    

  Creating New Format.ps1xml Files

      The .ps1xml files that are installed with Windows PowerShell are 
      digitally signed to prevent tampering because the formatting can include 
      script blocks. Therefore, to change the display format of an existing
      object view, or to add views for new objects, create your own 
      Format.ps1xml files, and then add them to your Windows PowerShell 
      session.


      To create a new file, copy an existing Format.ps1xml file. The new file
      can have any name, but it must have a .ps1xml file name extension. You
      can place the new file in any directory that is accessible to Windows
      PowerShell, but it is useful to place the files in the Windows PowerShell
      installation directory ($pshome) or in a subdirectory of the installation
      directory.

      To change the formatting of a current view, locate the view in the 
      formatting file, and then use the tags to change the view. To create a
      view for a new object type, create a new view, or use an existing view
      as a model. (The tags are described in the next section of this topic.)
      You can then delete all the other views in the file so that the changes
      are obvious to anyone examining the file.


      When you have saved the changes, use the Update-FormatData cmdlet to add
      the new file to your Windows PowerShell session. If you want your view
      to take precedence over a view defined in the built-in files, use the 
      PrependData parameter of Update-FormatData. Update-FormatData affects 
      only the current session. To make the change to all future sessions, add
      the Update-FormatData command to your Windows PowerShell profile.


  Example: Adding Calendar Data to Culture Objects

      This example shows how to change the formatting of the culture objects
      (System.Globalization.CultureInfo) generated by the Get-Culture cmdlet.
      The commands in the example add the calendar property to the default
      table view display of culture objects.


      The first step is to find the Format.ps1xml file that contains the 
      current view of the culture objects. The following Select-String command
      finds the file:


  select-string -path $pshome\*format.ps1xml `
              -pattern System.Globalization.CultureInfo


      This command reveals that the definition is in the 
      DotNetTypes.Format.ps1xml file.


      The next command copies the file contents to a new file, 
      MyDotNetTypes.Format.ps1xml.


  copy-item DotNetTypes.Format.ps1xml MyDotNetTypes.Format.ps1xml


      Next, open the MyDotNetTypes.Format.ps1xml file in any XML or text
      editor, such as Notepad. Find the System.Globalization.CultureInfo object
      section. The following XML defines the views of the CultureInfo object.
      The object has only a TableControl view.
 

      <View>
          <Name>System.Globalization.CultureInfo</Name>
          <ViewSelectedBy>
             <TypeName>Deserialized.System.Globalization.CultureInfo</TypeName>
             <TypeName>System.Globalization.CultureInfo</TypeName>
          </ViewSelectedBy>

          <TableControl>
              <TableHeaders>
                  <TableColumnHeader>
                      <Width>16</Width>
                  </TableColumnHeader>
                  <TableColumnHeader>
                      <Width>16</Width>
                  </TableColumnHeader>
                  <TableColumnHeader/>
              </TableHeaders>
              <TableRowEntries>
                  <TableRowEntry>
                      <TableColumnItems>
                          <TableColumnItem>
                              <PropertyName>LCID</PropertyName>
                          </TableColumnItem>
                          <TableColumnItem>
                              <PropertyName>Name</PropertyName>
                          </TableColumnItem>
                          <TableColumnItem>
                              <PropertyName>DisplayName</PropertyName>
                          </TableColumnItem>
                      </TableColumnItems>
                  </TableRowEntry>
               </TableRowEntries>
          </TableControl>
      </View>


      Delete the remainder of the file, except for the opening <?XML>, 
      <Configuration>, and <ViewDefinitions> tags and the closing 
      <ViewDefintions> and <Configuration> tags. You must also delete the 
      digital signature whenever you change the file.


      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
      <Configuration>
          <ViewDefinitions>
              <View>
                  <Name>System.Globalization.CultureInfo</Name>
                  <ViewSelectedBy>
                      <TypeName>Deserialized.System.Globalization.CultureInfo</TypeName>
                      <TypeName>System.Globalization.CultureInfo</TypeName>
                  </ViewSelectedBy>

                  <TableControl>
                      <TableHeaders>
                          <TableColumnHeader>
                              <Width>16</Width>
                          </TableColumnHeader>
                          <TableColumnHeader>
                              <Width>16</Width>
                          </TableColumnHeader>
                          <TableColumnHeader/>
                      </TableHeaders>
                      <TableRowEntries>
                          <TableRowEntry>
                              <TableColumnItems>
                                  <TableColumnItem>
                                      <PropertyName>LCID</PropertyName>
                                  </TableColumnItem>
                                  <TableColumnItem>
                                      <PropertyName>Name</PropertyName>
                                  </TableColumnItem>
                                  <TableColumnItem>
                                      <PropertyName>DisplayName</PropertyName>
                                  </TableColumnItem>
                              </TableColumnItems>
                          </TableRowEntry>
                       </TableRowEntries>
                  </TableControl>
              </View>
          </ViewDefinitions>
      </Configuration>


      Next, create a new column for the Calendar property by adding a new set 
      of <TableColumnHeader> tags. The value of the Calendar property can be 
      long, so a value of 45 characters is used, as follows:


                <TableControl>
                    <TableHeaders>
                        <TableColumnHeader>
                            <Width>16</Width>
                        </TableColumnHeader>
                        <TableColumnHeader>
                            <Width>16</Width>
                        </TableColumnHeader>
                 
                        <TableColumnHeader>
                            <Width>45</Width>
                        </TableColumnHeader>

                        <TableColumnHeader/>
                    </TableHeaders>


      Now, add a new column item in the table rows, as follows:


                <TableRowEntries>
                    <TableRowEntry>
                        <TableColumnItems>
                            <TableColumnItem>
                                <PropertyName>LCID</PropertyName>
                            </TableColumnItem>
                            <TableColumnItem>
                                <PropertyName>Name</PropertyName>
                            </TableColumnItem>

                            <TableColumnItem>
                                <PropertyName>Calendar</PropertyName>
                            </TableColumnItem>

                            <TableColumnItem>
                                <PropertyName>DisplayName</PropertyName>
                            </TableColumnItem>
                        </TableColumnItems>
                    </TableRowEntry>
                 </TableRowEntries>



      After saving the file and closing it, use an Update-FormatData command,
      such as the following command, to add the new format file to the current
      session. The command uses the PrependData parameter to place the new file
      in a higher precedence order than the original file. (For more 
      information about Update-FormatData, type "get-help update-formatdata".)


  update-formatdata -prependpath $pshome\MyDotNetTypes.format.ps1xml


      To test the change, type "get-culture", and then review the output, 
      which includes the Calendar property.


      C:\PS> get-culture

      LCID Name  Calendar                               DisplayName
      ---- ----  --------                               -----------
      1033 en-US System.Globalization.GregorianCalendar English (United States)


  The XML in Format.ps1xml Files

      The ViewDefinitions section of each Format.ps1xml file contains the 
      <View> tags that define each view. A typical <View> tag includes the 
      following tags:

    
          <Name>
              The <Name> tag identifies the name of the view.


          <ViewSelectedBy>
              The <ViewSelectedBy> tag specifies the object type or types to
              which the view applies.

    
          <GroupBy>
              The <GroupBy> tag specifies how items in the view will be 
              combined in groups.


          <TableControl>
          <ListControl>
          <WideControl>
          <CustomControl>
              These tags contain the tags that specify how each item will be 
              displayed.

    
      The <ViewSelectedBy> tag can contain a <TypeName> tag for each object 
      type to which the view applies. Or, it can contain a <SelectionSetName> 
      tag that references a selection set that is defined elsewhere by using
      a <SelectionSet> tag.


      The <GroupBy> tag contains a <PropertyName> tag that specifies the 
      object property by which items are to be grouped. It also contains either
      a <Label> tag that specifies a string to be used as a label for each 
      group or a <CustomControlName> tag that references a custom control
      defined elsewhere using a <Control> tag. The <Control> tag contains a 
      <Name> tag and a <CustomControl> tag. 

    
      The <TableControl> tag typically contains <TableHeaders> and 
      <TableRowEntries> tags that define the formatting for the table's heads 
      and rows. The <TableHeaders> tag typically contains <TableColumnHeader> 
      tags that contain <Label>, <Width>, and <Alignment> tags. The 
      <TableRowEntries> tag contains <TableRowEntry> tags for each row in the 
      table. The <TableRowEntry> tag contains a <TableColumnItems> tag 
      that contains a <TableColumnItem> tag for each column in the row. 
      Typically, the <TableColumnItem> tag contains either a <PropertyName> tag
      that identifies the object property to be displayed in the defined 
      location, or a <ScriptBlock> tag that contains script code that 
      calculates a result that is to be displayed in the location. 


      Note: Script blocks can also be used elsewhere in locations where 
            calculated results can be useful. 

    
      The <TableColumnItem> tag can also contain a <FormatString> tag that 
      specifies how the property or the calculated results will be displayed.

    
      The <ListControl> tag typically contains a <ListEntries> tag. The 
      <ListEntries> tag contains a <ListItems> tag. The <ListItems> tag 
      contains <ListItem> tags, which contain <PropertyName> tags. 
      The <PropertyName> tags specify the object property to be displayed at 
      the specified location in the list. If the view selection is defined 
      using a selection set, the <ListControl> tag can also contain an 
      <EntrySelectedBy> tag that contains one or more <TypeName> tags. These 
      <TypeName> tags specify the object type that the <ListControl> tag is 
      intended to display.

    
      The <WideControl> tag typically contains a <WideEntries> tag. The 
      <WideEntries> tag contains one or more <WideEntry> tags. A <WideEntry> 
      tag typically contains a <PropertyName> tag that specifies the property
      to be displayed at the specified location in the view. The <PropertyName>
      tag can contain a <FormatString> tag that specifies how the property is
      to be displayed. 

    
      The <CustomControl> tag lets you use a script block to define a format. 
      A <CustomControl> tag typically contains a <CustomEntries> tag that contains
      multiple <CustomEntry> tags. Each <CustomEntry> tag contains a <CustomItem>
      tags that can contain a variety of tags that specify contents and formatting
      of the specified location in the view, including <Text>, <Indentation>, 
      <ExpressionBinding>, and <NewLine> tags.


  Update-FormatData

      To load your Format.ps1xml files into a Windows PowerShell session, use 
      the Update-FormatData cmdlet. If you want the views in your file to 
      take precedence over the views in the built-in Format.ps1xml file, use 
      the PrependData parameter of Update-FormatData. Update-FormatData affects
      only the current session. To make the change to all future sessions, add
      the Update-FormatData command to your Windows PowerShell profile.


  Default Displays in Types.ps1xml

      The default displays of some basic object types are defined in the 
      Types.ps1xml file in the $pshome directory. The nodes are named 
      PsStandardMembers, and the subnodes use one of the following tags:


          <DefaultDisplayProperty>
          <DefaultDisplayPropertySet>
          <DefaultKeyPropertySet>


      For more information, type the following command:

  get-help about_types.ps1xml
 

  Tracing Format.ps1xml File Use

      To detect errors in the loading or application of Format.ps1xml files,
      use the Trace-Command cmdlet with any of the following format
      components as the value of the Name parameter:


  FormatFileLoading
          UpdateFormatData
          FormatViewBinding


      For more information, type the following commands:


          get-help trace-command
          get-help get-tracesource     


  Signing a Format.ps1xml File

      To protect the users of your Format.ps1xml file, sign the file using
      a digital signature. For more information, type:

          get-help about_signing


SEE ALSO
    Update-FormatData
    Trace-Command
    Get-TraceSource



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