Extract words from filename delineated by underscores and spaces in Powershell

I am trying to extract two words from filenames. The names have the format:


With the X's being replaced with different words. I need to extract the aircraft number and the date so that I can rename the files with just that information. Using help from this site I have tried the following to isolate the aircraft number:

$names = gci -Path "H:\Path\to\Logs" *.log -Recurse | select @{n="Name"; e={if ($_.Name -match "Aircraft (\w+)") { 
  $matches[1] }}}

However, it doesn't seem to give me the match I need. However, I am very inexpert in programming and may be going down the wrong path. My hope is that the same logic used to isolate the aircraft number also applies for the date.

1 answer

  • answered 2021-07-27 15:49 mklement0

    # Create a sample file.
    # Substitute your `Get-ChildItem` command for $file
    $file |
     Rename-Item -WhatIf -NewName {
       if ($_.Name -match '_(Aircraft \w+?)_.+(\d{2}[a-z]{3}\d{4})-') {
         # Synthesize the new file name from the extracted substrings.
         '{0} - {1}' -f $Matches[1], $Matches[2]
       } else {
         # Input file name didn't match, (effectively) do nothing.

    Note: The -WhatIf common parameter in the command above previews the operation. Remove -WhatIf once you're sure the operation will do what you want.

    For an explanation of the regex used with the -match operator above, see this regex101.com page.[1]

    The above uses two capture groups ((...)) to capture the substrings of interest, which can be accessed via indices 1 and 2 of the automatic $Matches variable.

    -f, the format operator is then used to build the output file name from the captured substrings. Tweak the LHS format string as needed.

    Thanks to -WhatIf, you'll see output such as the following, which is the preview of what would happen when you remove -WhatIf - note the new file name in the Destination: path:

    What if: Performing the operation "Rename File" on target 
    Destination: /tmp/Aircraft 017 - 01Apr2021".

    Note how a script block ({ ... }) is passed as an argument to Rename-Item's -NewName parameter, which then acts on each input file via the automatic automatic $_ variable and outputs the argument value to use for the input object at hand. Such script blocks are called delay-bind script blocks.

    [1] Note that even though regex101.com, a site for visualizing, explaining and experimenting with regexes, doesn't support the .NET regex engine used by PowerShell, choosing a similar engine, such as Java's, usually exhibits the same behavior, at least fundamentally.

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