Category Archives: Batch

Capturing the Output of a Command to a Variable

Use the following for statement syntax with /f option

FOR /F ["options"] %variable IN (file-set) DO command [command-parameters]
FOR /F ["options"] %variable IN ("string") DO command [command-parameters]
FOR /F ["options"] %variable IN ('command') DO command [command-parameters]

    or, if usebackq option present:

FOR /F ["options"] %variable IN (file-set) DO command [command-parameters]
FOR /F ["options"] %variable IN ('string') DO command [command-parameters]
FOR /F ["options"] %variable IN (`command`) DO command [command-parameters]

    file-set is one or more file names.  Each file is opened, read
    and processed before going on to the next file in file-set.
    Processing consists of reading in the file, breaking it up into
    individual lines of text and then parsing each line into zero or
    more tokens.  The body of the for loop is then called with the
    variable value(s) set to the found token string(s).  By default, /F
    passes the first blank separated token from each line of each file.
    Blank lines are skipped.  You can override the default parsing
    behavior by specifying the optional "options" parameter.  This
    is a quoted string which contains one or more keywords to specify
    different parsing options.  The keywords are:

        eol=c           - specifies an end of line comment character
                          (just one)
        skip=n          - specifies the number of lines to skip at the
                          beginning of the file.
        delims=xxx      - specifies a delimiter set.  This replaces the
                          default delimiter set of space and tab.
        tokens=x,y,m-n  - specifies which tokens from each line are to
                          be passed to the for body for each iteration.
                          This will cause additional variable names to
                          be allocated.  The m-n form is a range,
                          specifying the mth through the nth tokens.  If
                          the last character in the tokens= string is an
                          asterisk, then an additional variable is
                          allocated and receives the remaining text on
                          the line after the last token parsed.
        usebackq        - specifies that the new semantics are in force,
                          where a back quoted string is executed as a
                          command and a single quoted string is a
                          literal string command and allows the use of
                          double quotes to quote file names in

For a very basic example, lets capture the result of the echo test to a variable. This can be done as follows:

for /f %I in ('echo test') do set OUTPUT="%~I"

Note: The echo test command here could be any executable command (e.g. executing a different batch or any executable file).

Reading a Batch Variable without the Quotes

Read a Batch Argument without the Quotes

This can be done by inserting a tilde (i.e. ~) character between the percent character and the corresponding argument position. 

For example for argument position 1 we can access it as the following:


Read a Batch Variable without the Quotes

This can be done with the following syntax:


Note: This is just using the replacement syntax as follows: