Change the position of command line arguments passed to a batch file.

      SHIFT [/n]

   /n    Start at the nth argument, where n is between zero and eight. 

You can get the value of any argument using a % followed by it's numerical position on the command line. The first item passed is always %1 the second item is always %2 and so on.

Only parameters %1 to %9 can be referenced by number, but it is possibly to pass more than 9 arguments. The SHIFT command provides a way of accessing these additional argument values.

SHIFT will not affect the value of %* which holds all the original arguments %1 %2 %3...

The argument %0 will initially refer to the path that was used to execute the batch, e.g. MyBatch.cmd if in the current directory or a full path like C:\apps\myBatch.cmd

The SHIFT command will not work within parenthesis/brackets, so place all your command line arguments in variables before running any FOR commands or other bracketed expressions. Or use the CALL syntax as explained in this forum thread.

If you drag and drop a number of files onto a batch file, the batch will be executed and the filenames will be passed to the batch file as arguments.


Demobatch.cmd The Quick Brown

As given %1=The, %2=Quick, %3=Brown
will result in %1=Quick, %2=Brown
A second
will result in %1=Brown

Given %1=the, %2=quick, %3=brown, %4=fox
will result in %1=the, %2=brown, %3=fox

Advanced: Making use of %0

If SHIFT is used to move a text argument into %0 then any references to %0 will refer instead to the current working directory, unless the new argument value happens to contain a valid path.

For example:
%0\..\MyExecutable.exe will run MyExecutable from the same directory as the Batch file.

If the following argument is passed to myBatch.cmd

myBatch.cmd D:\utils\

Then the following commands in myBatch will run MyExecutable.exe from the directory D:\utils\



If the command line arguments are successfully reassigned %ERRORLEVEL% = unchanged (this is a bug)
If a bad switch is given = 1

SHIFT is an internal command. If Command Extensions are disabled, the SHIFT command will not support the /n switch

“A small key opens big doors" ~ Turkish Proverb


CALL - Call one batch program from another.
- Display or edit environment variables.
powershell: param( $var1, $var2,... )
Equivalent bash command (Linux): shift - Shift positional arguments.

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