#PowershellBasics: Adding data to a string using subexpressions.


October 14, 2021 by Kenneth Fisher

I’m working on a project right now where I want to add the date/time to the end of a filename. It didn’t take me long before I found a solution, and that solution lead me to subexpressions.

$Path = "C:\temp\"
"$($Path)RunThisScript_$(get-date -f yyyyMMdd_hhmmss).sql"

Basically a subexpression looks like this $(). Whatever is in the parenthesis gets put into the string. I’m doing it twice here. I’m starting with RunThisScript.sql and first I add in my path variable, the next adds a formatted date/time string with the end result of:


I have to admit, I really like this. It feels a lot cleaner than what I’d have to do in SQL Server.

DECLARE @Path varchar(50) = 'C:\Temp\'
PRINT @Path + 'RunThisScript'+format(getdate(),'yyyyMMdd_hhmmss')+'.sql'

7 thoughts on “#PowershellBasics: Adding data to a string using subexpressions.

  1. Jared says:

    The Powershell code looks cleaner than doing this with T-SQL! Powershell is one of those things I always want to use more but old habits die hard.

  2. Robert Eder says:

    Here is another way..

    $Path = ‘C:\http://gravatar.com/ad516503a11cd5ca435acc9bb6523536Temp\’
    [string]::Format(“{0}{1}.sql”, $Path, (get-date -f yyyyMMdd_hhmmss))

    Or, a little more complex example where a referenced string is referenced more than once…

    $Path = ‘C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL15.MSSQLSERVER\Backup’
    [string]::Format(“{0}\{1}\{1}{2}.bak”, $Path, ‘MyDatabase’, (get-date -f yyyyMMdd_hhmmss))

    • Very nice. That’s useful stuff 🙂

    • Chad Baldwin says:

      FYI, powershell supports format strings directly, so you don’t need to use the [string] class to do it:

      $Path = ‘C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL15.MSSQLSERVER\Backup’
      ‘{0}\{1}\{1}{2}.bak’ -f $Path, ‘MyDatabase’, (Get-Date -f yyyyMMdd_HHmmss)

      Also, in case this wasn’t a typo, I’d recommend using uppercase HH so you use the 24-hour part.

  3. Chad Baldwin says:

    Nice post! This is sort of unrelated, but it’s something I learned recently, so figured I would share…when referencing a variable in an interpolated string, instead of having to use

    $variable = 1234;
    write “$($variable)”

    You can use:
    $variable = 1234;
    write “${variable}”

    I’ve found it a little easier to read this way.

  4. […] Kenneth Fisher shows us how Powershell implements subexpressions: […]

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