for cmd


Loop command: against the results of another command.

Syntax FOR /F ["options"] %%parameter IN ('command_to_process') DO command Key options: delims=xxx The delimiter character(s) (default = a space) skip=n A number of lines to skip at the beginning. (default = 0)

eol=; Character at the start of each line to indicate a comment The default is a semicolon ;

tokens=n Specifies which numbered items to read from each line (default = 1) usebackq Specify `back quotes` the command_to_process is placed in `BACK quotes` instead of 'straight' quotes command_to_process : The output of the 'command_to_process' is passed into the FOR parameter. command : The command to carry out, including any command-line parameters. %%parameter : A replaceable parameter: in a batch file use %%G (on the command line %G)

FOR /F processing of a command consists of reading the output from the command one line at a time and then breaking the line up into individual items of data or 'tokens'. The DO command is then executed with the parameter(s) set to the token(s) found.

The FOR command is the answer to innumerable questions where you want to take the output of some command, store it in a variable (%%G) then do something with the result.

For example the PING command returns serveral lines including one like:

Packets: Sent = 4, Recieved = 4, Lost = 0 (0% Loss),

To select that one line of output, you can search for the text "Loss" (which is always present), then use the Tokens parameter to select the number of lost packets, here this is 0 but it will vary each time you run the command.

set _ping_cmd=ping -n 5

FOR /f "tokens=4 delims=(=" %%G IN ('%_ping_cmd% ^|find "loss"') DO echo Result is [%%G]

The tricky part is always splitting up the line of interest into the right tokens, in this case I'm splitting on the characters '=' and '('

these two characters split the line into 5 chunks of text and we pull out the fourth one with "tokens=4"

By default, /F breaks up the command output at each blank space, and any blank lines are skipped.

You can override this default parsing behavior by specifying the "options" parameter. The options must be contained within "quotes"


This option is useful when dealing with a command that already contains one or more straight quotes.

The backquote character ` is just below the ESC key on most keyboards. See the FOR /F page for other effects of usebackq.


tokens=2,4,6 will cause the second, fourth and sixth items on each line to be processed

tokens=2-6 will cause the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth items on each line to be processed

tokens=* will cause all items on each line to be processed

tokens=3* will cause the 3rd and all subsequent items on each line to be processed

Each token specified will cause a corresponding parameter letter to be allocated.

If the last character in the tokens= string is an asterisk, then additional parameters are allocated for all the remaining text on the line.


More than one delimiter may be specified so a string like 'abcd+efg+hijk+lmno;pqr;stu+vwzyz' can be broken up using "delims=;+".

You can use any character as a delimiter, but they are case sensitive.

If you don't specify delims it will default to "delims=<tab><space>"

Notice that some text editors will enter the TAB character as a series of spaces, specifying more than one delimiter has been known to cause problems with some data sets.


The default end-of-line character is a semicolon ';' when the FOR command reads a text file (or even a character string), any line that STARTS with the eol character will be ignored. In other words it is treated as a comment.

Use eol=X to change the eol character to X.

Most often you will want to turn this feature off so that every line of your data file is processed, in theory "eol=" should turn this feature off, but in practice this fails to work correctly so instead set eol to some unusual character that you don't expect to ever be in the data file e.g. "eol=€" or "eol=¬".


To ECHO from the command line, the name of every environment variable.

FOR /F "delims==" %G IN ('SET') DO @Echo %G

The same command with usebackq (Windows 2000 and above)

FOR /F "usebackq delims==" %G IN (`SET`) DO @Echo %G

To put the Windows Version into an environment variable

@echo off ::parse the VER command FOR /F "tokens=4*" %%G IN ('ver') DO SET _version=%%G :: show the result echo %_version%

List all the text files in a folder

FOR /F "tokens=*" %%G IN ('dir /b C:\docs\*.txt') DO echo %%G FOR /F "tokens=*" %%G IN ('dir/b ^"c:\program files\*.txt^"') DO echo %%G

In the example above the long filename has to be surrounded in "quotes"

these quotes have to be escaped using ^

The "tokens=*" has been added to match all parts of any long filenames returned by the DIR command.

Although the above is a trivial example, being able to set %%G equal to each long filename in turn could allow much more complex processing to be done.

More examples can be found on the Syntax / Batch Files pages and the other FOR pages below.

"History never repeats itself, Mankind always does" - Voltaire


FOR - Summary of FOR Loop commands

FOR - Loop through a set of files in one folder

FOR /R - Loop through files (recurse subfolders)

FOR /D - Loop through several folders

FOR /L - Loop through a range of numbers

FOR /F - Loop through items in a text file

SETLOCAL - Control the visibility of variables inside a FOR loop

FORFILES - Batch process multiple files

GOTO - Direct a batch program to jump to a labelled line

IF - Conditionally perform a command

Powershell: ForEach-Object - Loop for each object in the pipeline

Equivalent bash command (Linux): for - Expand words, and execute commands