2017-09-04 Access your profile functions more efficient

1 minute read

I have in my PowerShell profile a couple of functions that I use from time to time to update something automatically or to open a file quickly.

Some of them are not used too often. I forget what I got there in the first place or what was the name of that function that I want to use right now.

Prefix functions

One option would be to use the same naming concept for all functions inside our profile to find them better.

For example prefix all with ‘MY-‘

function MY-open-ImportantExcelFile {...}

function MY-update-ModuleManifest {...}

Then you could just type MY- and tab your way thru the functions.

  PS > MY- [TAB]
  PS > MY-open-ImportantExcelFile

If you have PSReadLine then you could also type MY- and use CTRL+SPACE to list all of them.

  MY-open-ImportantExcelFile    MY-update-ModuleManifest 


Create a menu

Another approach would be to create a MENU function in our profile that would list all functions and enable quick execution.

Function menu($functionName) { ......

The $functionName will be used as an optional filter to narrow the list.

Using the PowerShell’s Abstract Syntax Tree we can load our profile file and extract all function definitions.

# Parse profile file using Language Parser
  $AST = [System.Management.Automation.Language.Parser]::ParseFile(
 # get all function definitions using the FunctionDefinitionAst
 # extract the function names using regex
 # list all except my menu function itself
  $functions = @($AST.FindAll({
    $args[0] -is [System.Management.Automation.Language.FunctionDefinitionAst]}
    , $true) | ForEach-Object {
      if ($_.Extent.Text -match '^\s{0,}function ([\w|\-]*)\s{0,}{{0,1}'){
      $Matches[1].trim() }
  } | Where-Object {$_ -ne "menu" -and $_ -like "*$functionName*"} | Sort-Object)

Then display the list as a menu with numbers

  For ($i=0;$i -lt $functions.Count;$i++){				
		Write-Output "	[$($i.tostring('00'))]	$($functions[$i])"
  # [00]    open-ImportantExcelFile
  # [01]    update-ModuleManifest

In the end prompt for input which function to run and execute

  if ($functions.count -gt 0){
    $run = "RUN"
    while ($run -as [int] -eq $null){
      $Run = Read-Host -Prompt "Function to run"
    if ($functions[$run]){
      Write-Warning "Run $($functions[$run]) [N to stop]"
      $confirm = Read-Host 
      if ($confirm -notlike "N*"){
        . $functions[$run]

When we put our function MENU into our profile we can test it


Source code

Code on GitHubGist

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