Never heard of ack? Well, by ack’s admission, it is “better than grep.” That’s up to you to decide, but it does make searching code easier than grep.

As a means of illustration, here is a grep example of a recursive search for StringBuilder across multiple C# files that I used back in my post on “finding stuff quickly.”

grep output

The output is pretty nice, but the addition of the find command to limit the searching to only C# files isn’t the easiest to type quickly.

ack makes this a little… well, a lot easier.

ack output

Nice! Even EASIER to read than the grep matching. And it is easier to type.

Well, of course, I had to add this functionality to Find-String. (Guess what, it runs faster than grep and ack both! At least on Windows…)

Find-String output

Now, this makes… the third post I’ve had on a Find-String PowerShell script I think. At some point, you’re going to get tired of this if you haven’t already.

“Is this guy seriously going to post every time he changes the way Find-String works?”

No, no, I guess I shouldn’t.

But for my own benefit, I do want this in source control. And I’d like to make it easier to use and find this. I’ve been using a local SVN repository for my changes to my scripts, but they included all of my scripts. Well, I moved just the Find-String source over to GitHub yesterday. I even started from the initial version of Find-String and committed my change history over from SVN :-)

Find-String on GitHub

For up to date versions of Find-String, they’ll be out there. The URL is If you don’t want to install git to check the source out, there is a big download button on the project page. It will package up the current version of Find-String for you which you can then download and use to your heart’s content.

If you improve upon the script, send me pull requests or a patch and I’d be happy to make it better.

Warning, upcoming tangent regarding GitHub adding PowerShell syntax support…

My other hope with posting this is that maybe GitHub will add the PowerShell syntax support to GitHub. If you view the source for Find-String on the GitHub website, you won’t see any syntax highlighting.

GitHub not highlighting PowerShell syntax

But… they have syntax highlighting for lots of other file types, as is evidenced by the gists I’ve already shared.

GitHub highlighting C# syntax

I already asked for this on the GitHub support site, but it was inexplicably closed with “no more actions from GitHub… are required” and that it is apparently “resolved.” Maybe I shouldn’t worry and the feature just hasn’t gone live yet. In which case, I’m just blabbing on and on for no reason and creating a long tangent to the rest of my post. If not, well, maybe they’ll add support if I complain some more!