Conditionally perform a command several times.

       FOR %%parameter IN (set) DO command 
 syntax-FOR-Files-Rooted at Path   
       FOR /R [[drive:]path] %%parameter IN (set) DO command 
       FOR /D %%parameter IN (folder_set) DO command 
 syntax-FOR-List of numbers   
       FOR /L %%parameter IN (start,step,end) DO command 
 syntax-FOR-File contents   
       FOR /F ["options"] %%parameter IN (filenameset) DO command 
       FOR /F ["options"] %%parameter IN ("Text string to process") DO command
 syntax-FOR-Command Results 
       FOR /F ["options"] %%parameter IN ('command to process') DO command

The operation of the FOR command can be summarised as...

If you are using the FOR command at the command line rather than in a batch program, use just one percent sign: %G instead of %%G.

FOR Parameters

The first parameter has to be defined using a single character, for example the letter G.

FOR %%G IN ...

In each iteration of a FOR loop, the IN ( ....) clause is evaluated and %%G set to a different value

If this clause results in a single value then %%G is set equal to that value and the command is performed.

If the clause results in a multiple values then extra parameters are implicitly defined to hold each. These are automatically assigned in alphabetical order %%H %%I %%J ...(implicit parameter definition)

If the parameter refers to a file, then enhanced variable reference can be used to extract the filename/path/date/size.

You can of course pick any letter of the alphabet other than %%G.

%%G is a good choice because it does not conflict with any of the pathname format letters (a, d, f, n, p, s, t, x) and provides the longest run of non-conflicting letters for use as implicit parameters.
G > H > I > J > K > L > M
Format letters are case sensitive, so using a capital letter is also a good way to avoid conflicts %%A rather than %%a.

If you need a lot of parameter letters, the full list from low to high is:
> ? @ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z [ \ ] ˆ _ ` a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z { | }

Starting at %A, you can use 29 characters before having to escape any punctuation letters. [source]

Using variables within a FOR loop

Variables are expanded at the start of a FOR loop and don’t update until the entire DO section has completed.
The following example counts the files in the current folder, but %count% always returns 1:

@echo off
SET count=1
 FOR /f "tokens=*" %%G IN ('dir /b') DO (
 echo %count%:%%G
 set /a count+=1 )

To update variables within each iteration of the loop we must either use EnableDelayedExpansion or else use the CALL :subroutine mechanism as shown below:

@echo off
SET count=1
FOR /f "tokens=*" %%G IN ('dir /b') DO (call :subroutine "%%G")
GOTO :eof

 echo %count%:%1
 set /a count+=1
 GOTO :eof

Nested FOR commands

FOR commands can be nested FOR %%G... DO (for %%U... do ...)
when nesting commands choose a different letter for each part. you can then refer to both parameters in the final DO command.

For an example of exiting the inner loop of two nested FOR loops, see the EXIT page.


FOR does not, by itself, set or clear an Errorlevel, leaving that to the command being called.
One exception is using a wildcard, if the wildcard does not match any files, then FOR will return %ERRORLEVEL% = 5

FOR is an internal command.
If Command Extensions are disabled, the FOR command will only support the basic syntax with no enhanced variables: FOR %%parameter IN (set) DO command [command-parameters]


FOR /F "tokens=1-5" %%A IN ("This is a short sentence") DO @echo %%A %%B %%D

will result in the output: This is short

Create a set of 26 folders, one for each letter of the alphabet:

FOR %%G IN (a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m,n,o,p,q,r,s,t,u,v,w,x,y,z) DO (md C:\demo\%%G)

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” - George Santayana

Related commands

FOR - Loop through a set of files in one folder.
FOR /R - Loop through files (recurse subfolders) .
- Loop through several folders.
FOR /L - Loop through a range of numbers.
FOR /F - Loop through items in a text file.
FOR /F - Loop through the output of a command.
Parameters/arguments %~ options.
FORFILES - Batch process multiple files.
GOTO - Direct a batch program to jump to a labelled line.
IF - Conditionally perform a command .
Equivalent PowerShell: ForEach-Object - Loop for each object in the pipeline.
Equivalent bash command (Linux): awk or read (in a loop) - Read a line from standard input.

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