Using PowerShell to Clean Up an Xml File

Sometimes you are given an Xml file, either handmade or machine generated, to work with. Many times, this Xml file can be a mess, with indentation all wrong or every single node on a single line or two. Within PowerShell, I have created a simple function which accepts just a single input of the file path, and attempts to locate the Xml file and “prettify” for easier reading. This function is only 19 lines long (for a total of 31 when including the documentation) and is a great tool to add to your PowerShell profile!

There is error handling at each step, to verify that there was input, the file exists, can be accessed, and the save operation completed. Just simply provide the function the path to the target Xml file, and fire away!

Here is the function you can load into your session, or add to your profile for future use:

function Format-Xml
        Loads, formats (prettifies), and resaves an Xml file for easier reading and editing.
        This function attempts to load and re-save an xml file. When the Xml file is resaved,
        the document is saved in a "prettified" or formatted view. This is useful for when
        you have an Xml file, but all the formatting is messed up, or the whitespace is not uniform.
        Author : Peter Urda (@Urda)
        Script source:
    param ([string]$FilePath = $null)
    if ($FilePath) {
        if (Test-Path $FilePath) {
            $FileObject = Get-ChildItem $FilePath
            if (!($FileObject.IsReadOnly)) {
                try {
                    $xml = New-Object Xml
                } catch {
                    Write-Host "/!\ An error occured /!\" -Foreground Black -Background Red
                    Write-Host $_.Exception.Message -Foreground Black -Background Red
            } else { Write-Host "/!\ File is read only /!\" -Foreground Black -Background Red }
        } else { Write-Host "/!\ File not found /!\" -Foreground Black -Background Red }
    } else { Write-Host "Usage: Format-Xml \Path\To\Xml\File" }
Written on July 12, 2012