[batch-file] Set output of a command as a variable (with pipes)

Can you redirect the output of a command to a variable with pipes?

I haven't tried much as I haven't been able to think of anything to try, but I have tried one method (with two variations)...

For example:

echo Hello|set text=

Didn't work, neither did:

echo Hello | set text=

I know you can do it fairly easily with the FOR command, but I think it would look "nicer" with a pipe.

And if you're wondering, I don't have a specific reason I'm asking this other than I'm curious and I can't find the answer.

This question is related to batch-file

The answer is

Your way can't work for two reasons.

You need to use set /p text= for setting the variable with user input.
The other problem is the pipe.
A pipe starts two asynchronous cmd.exe instances and after finishing the job both instances are closed.

That's the cause why it seems that the variables are not set, but a small example shows that they are set but the result is lost later.

set myVar=origin
echo Hello | (set /p myVar= & set myVar)
set myVar



Alternatives: You can use the FOR loop to get values into variables or also temp files.

for /f "delims=" %%A in ('echo hello') do set "var=%%A"
echo %var%


>output.tmp echo Hello
>>output.tmp echo world

<output.tmp (
  set /p line1=
  set /p line2=
echo %line1%
echo %line2%

Alternative with a macro:

You can use a batch macro, this is a bit like the bash equivalent

@echo off

REM *** Get version string 
%$set% versionString="ver"
echo The version is %versionString[0]%

REM *** Get all drive letters
`%$set% driveLetters="wmic logicaldisk get name /value | findstr "Name""
call :ShowVariable driveLetters

The definition of the macro can be found at
SO:Assign output of a program to a variable using a MS batch file

The lack of a Linux-like backtick/backquote facility is a major annoyance of the pre-PowerShell world. Using backquotes via for-loops is not at all cosy. So we need kinda of setvar myvar cmd-line command.

In my %path% I have a dir with a number of bins and batches to cope with those Win shortcomings.

One batch I wrote is:

:: setvar varname cmd
:: Set VARNAME to the output of CMD
:: Triple escape pipes, eg:
:: setvar x  dir c:\ ^^^| sort 
:: -----------------------------

@echo off

:: Get command from argument 
for /F "tokens=1,*" %%a in ("%*") do set cmd=%%b

:: Get output and set var
for /F "usebackq delims=" %%a in (`%cmd%`) do (
     set %1=%%a

:: Show results 
SETLOCAL EnableDelayedExpansion
echo %1=!%1! 

So in your case, you would type:

> setvar text echo Hello

The script informs you of the results, which means you can:

> echo text var is now %text%
text var is now Hello 

You can use whatever command:

> setvar text FIND "Jones" names.txt

What if the command you want to pipe to some variable contains itself a pipe?
Triple escape it, ^^^|:

> setvar text dir c:\ ^^^| find "Win"

THIS DOESN'T USE PIPEs, but requires a single tempfile
I used this to put simplified timestamps into a lowtech daily maintenance batfile

We have already Short-formatted our System-Time to HHmm, (which is 2245 for 10:45PM)
I direct output of Maint-Routines to logfiles with a $DATE%@%TIME% timestamp;
. . . but %TIME% is a long ugly string (ex. 224513.56, for down to the hundredths of a sec)

1. Use redirection (">") to send the command "TIME /T" everytime to OVERWRITE a temp-file in the %TEMP% DIRECTORY
2. Then use that tempfile as the input to set a new variable (I called it NOW)
3. Replace

echo $DATE%@%TIME% blah-blah-blah >> %logfile%
echo $DATE%@%NOW% blah-blah-blah >> %logfile%

SUCCESSFUL TIMESYNCH [email protected]


TIME /T > %TEMP%\DailyTemp.txt
SET /p NOW=<%TEMP%\DailyTemp.txt
echo $DATE%@%NOW% blah-blah-blah >> %logfile%

All that remains afterwards is the appended logfile, and constantly overwritten tempfile. And if the Tempfile is ever deleted, it will be re-created as necessary.

I find myself a tad amazed at the lack of what I consider the best answer to this question anywhere on the internet. I struggled for many years to find the answer. Many answers online come close, but none really answer it. The real answer is

(cmd & echo.) >2 & (set /p =)<2

The "secret sauce" being the "closely guarded coveted secret" that "echo." sends a CR/LF (ENTER/new line/0x0D0A). Otherwise, what I am doing here is redirecting the output of the first command to the standard error stream. I then redirect the standard error stream into the standard input stream for the "set /p =" command.


(echo foo & echo.) >2 & (set /p bar=)<2

In a batch file I usually create a file in the temp directory and append output from a program, then I call it with a variable-name to set that variable. Like this:

:: Create a set_var.cmd file containing: set %1=
set /p="set %%1="<nul>"%temp%\set_var.cmd"

:: Append output from a command
ipconfig | find "IPv4" >> "%temp%\set_var.cmd"
call "%temp%\set_var.cmd" IPAddress
echo %IPAddress%

You can set the output to a temporary file and the read the data from the file after that you can delete the temporary file.

echo %date%>temp.txt
set /p myVarDate= < temp.txt
echo Date is %myVarDate%
del temp.txt

In this variable myVarDate contains the output of command.