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PowerShell count with Measure-Object

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PowerShell is an open-source command-line tool with cross-platform availability. The PowerShell tool allows one to automate several tasks and perform few tedious tasks by executing commands. The Measure-Object is a PowerShell utility that acts as a cmdlet to count objects. The extended functionality (can be achieved by using parameters) of Measure-Object can be used to get the maximum, minimum, average, sum, and standard deviation of numeric values. Moreover, it can also be applied to strings to count a number of lines, words, or characters.

In this article, the PowerShell count with Measure-Object is explained in detail and several examples are provided for better understanding.

How count works with Measure-Object

The count is the default property of the Measure Object. The Measure-Object keyword can be piped with strings, variables, or objects to get the desired answer. Here we are targeting the count with Measure-Object. The Measure Object follows the syntax provided below:

>  <object> | Measure-Object

The upcoming sections provide usage of count with measure objects in multiple scenarios.

Count the number of entries

When PowerShell Cmdlets are used with Measure-Object, it returns the count of the entries. For instance, we are piping Measure-Object with the Get-Command cmdlet and the following command is executed in this regard.

Note: As the Get-Command cmdlet prints the output in four columns, CommandType, Name, Version, and Source. So, you can apply any of these properties with Measure-Object as well.

> Get-Command | Measure-Object

To get the services list, PowerShell supports the Get-Services cmdlet. One can use Measure-Object with the Get-Services cmdlet to count the number of services. We have experienced its working by using the command provided below. The output shows that 288 services are on board right now.

> Get-Service | Measure-Object

In the above two commands, Measure-Object has been used on several cmdlets individually.

Measure-Object can be used with multiple cmdlets. In order to demonstrate this, we carried out the following four commands:

> $comm = Get-Command
> $ser = Get-Service
> $Total = $comm + $ser
> $Total | Measure-Object

The first two commands store the Get-Command and Get-Service cmdlet in two variables named $comm and $ser respectively.

The third command stores the sum of $comm and $ser in a new variable named $Total.

And the last command pipes that $Total variable with Measure-Object.

The output shows that the entries of both cmdlets (Get-Command and Get-Service) are summed up.

Count number of files/directories

The Get-ChildItem cmdlet of PowerShell lists down the files and directories in the current folder. When the Measure-Object is executed with Get-ChildItem, it would return the total count of the files and directories as shown in the output of the command mentioned below.

> Get-ChildItem | Measure-Object

Determine how many characters, words, and lines there are

A count with Measure-Object can be used to count the number of characters, lines, and words in the file. For this, you have to use the Get-Content cmdlet on that file and then pipe it with the Measure-Object Cmdlet. The command written below gets the content of a text file located at “F:” and then counts the number of Characters, Words, and Lines using Measure-Object.

> Get-Content “F:contact.txt” | Measure-Object -Word -Character -Line

Apart from getting the content from a file, a string can directly be passed to count the characters/words/lines. The command provided here pipes a string with Measure-Object Cmdlet to count the characters, lines, and words in that string.

> “PowerShell is a cross-platform command line tool” | Measure-Object -Word -Character -Line

Count the number of input of hashtables and integers

Apart from counting the input of string fields. The Count with Measure-Object can count the number of inputs for hash tables and integer values as well. For instance, the following command gets four values as a hashtable and then these values are executed with Measure-Object. So, the output would be 4 because Measure-Object counts the number of inputs passed to it.

> @{val=5}, @{val=10}, @{val=15}, @{val=20} | Measure-Object

For integers, it acts the same. The following command gets integer values as an input and when these values are piped with Measure-Object, the output shows the number of inputs.

> 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 | Measure-Object

In the output shown above, the Average, Sum, Maximum, Minimum, and Property options are empty as we have not passed them with Measure-Object. If you want to get these values too, you have to use the -AllStats option with Measure-Object as described below:

> 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 | Measure-Object -AllStats


PowerShell supports multiple cmdlets to perform the tasks automatically. The Measure-Object is one of them and it counts the number of entries in any object, cmdlet, function, and many more. This article explains the working of count with Measure-Object in PowerShell. Several examples are also provided that show the usage of multiple perspectives. Apart from this guide, you can visit linuxhint for more PowerShell tutorials. Happy Computing !!

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