How To Compare Array Of Objects In PowerShell?

In this PowerShell tutorial, I will explain how to compare an array of objects in PowerShell. PowerShell provides a powerful cmdlet, Compare-Object, that can be used to compare two arrays of objects.

To compare an array of objects in PowerShell, use the Compare-Object cmdlet with the -ReferenceObject and -DifferenceObject parameters to specify the two arrays you want to compare. You can also use the -Property parameter to compare specific properties of the objects. For example:

Compare-Object -ReferenceObject $array1 -DifferenceObject $array2 -Property Name, Age

This command will compare the Name and Age properties of the objects in $array1 and $array2 and output any differences.

Understanding Objects and Arrays in PowerShell

An object in PowerShell is an instance of a .NET class. It can contain multiple properties and methods. For example, when you get a list of files using Get-ChildItem, each file is represented as an object with properties like Name, Length, and LastWriteTime.

An array is a collection of items, which can be objects, strings, integers, or any other data type. In PowerShell, you can create an array by assigning multiple values to a variable, separated by commas.

Compare Array Of Objects In PowerShell Using the Compare-Object Cmdlet

The Compare-Object cmdlet is the go-to command for comparing two sets of objects in PowerShell. You can compare arrays of simple types like integers and strings, as well as arrays of complex objects.


Here’s the basic syntax for Compare-Object:

Compare-Object -ReferenceObject <Object[]> -DifferenceObject <Object[]> [-Property <String[]>] [-PassThru] [-IncludeEqual]
  • -ReferenceObject refers to the first set of objects you want to compare (often considered the “original” set).
  • -DifferenceObject refers to the second set of objects you want to compare (often considered the “changed” set).
  • -Property lets you specify which properties of the objects you want to compare.
  • -PassThru outputs the compared objects, not just the differences.
  • -IncludeEqual includes objects that are equal in the output.

Example: Comparing Custom Objects

Let’s create two arrays of custom objects and compare them using the above method in PowerShell.

# Create the first array of custom objects
$users1 = @(
    [PSCustomObject]@{Name='John'; Role='Admin'},
    [PSCustomObject]@{Name='Jane'; Role='User'},
    [PSCustomObject]@{Name='Doe'; Role='Guest'}

# Create the second array of custom objects with some differences
$users2 = @(
    [PSCustomObject]@{Name='John'; Role='User'},
    [PSCustomObject]@{Name='Jane'; Role='Admin'},
    [PSCustomObject]@{Name='Doe'; Role='Guest'}

# Compare the two arrays of objects
Compare-Object -ReferenceObject $users1 -DifferenceObject $users2 -Property Name, Role

In this example, Compare-Object will output the differences in the Role property for the objects with Name ‘John’ and ‘Jane’, because their roles are different in $users1 and $users2.

Once you execute the code, you can see the output in the screenshot below.

Compare Array Of Objects In PowerShell

Compare Array Of Objects in PowerShell with Custom Properties

Sometimes, you may need to compare objects with different property names. In such cases, you can use calculated properties to align the properties before comparison.

Example: Comparing Objects with Different Property Names

Imagine you have two PowerShell arrays of objects where the property names are different but represent the same data. You can create custom properties to make them comparable:

# Array of objects with property 'FirstName'
$users1 = @(
    [PSCustomObject]@{FirstName='John'; Occupation='Admin'},
    [PSCustomObject]@{FirstName='Jane'; Occupation='User'}

# Array of objects with property 'Name'
$users2 = @(
    [PSCustomObject]@{Name='John'; Job='User'},
    [PSCustomObject]@{Name='Jane'; Job='Admin'}

# Compare using custom properties
Compare-Object -ReferenceObject $users1 -DifferenceObject $users2 `
    -Property @{Expression={$_.FirstName}; Label='Name'}, `
               @{Expression={$_.Occupation}; Label='Job'}

In this example, we use a script block to define an expression for the FirstName and Occupation properties and label them as Name and Job respectively, to align with the properties in the second array.

Compare Array Of Objects in PowerShell [Custom Comparison]

You might need to write custom code to iterate through the arrays and compare each object individually for more complex comparisons. This approach gives you more control over the comparison logic.

Example: Custom Comparison Logic

Here’s an example of how you might implement a custom comparison:

# Define two arrays of objects
$users1 = # ... (as before)
$users2 = # ... (as before)

# Custom comparison logic
foreach ($user1 in $users1) {
    $matchedUser = $users2 | Where-Object { $_.Name -eq $user1.Name }
    if ($matchedUser -ne $null) {
        # Compare properties
        foreach ($property in $user1.PSObject.Properties.Name) {
            if ($user1.$property -ne $matchedUser.$property) {
                Write-Host "Difference found in user $($user1.Name) for property $property"
    else {
        Write-Host "User $($user1.Name) not found in second array"

In this script, we iterate through each object in $users1, find the matching object in $users2 by name, and then compare each property individually.


Comparing arrays of objects in PowerShell can be as simple as using the Compare-Object cmdlet for straightforward comparisons.

In this PowerShell tutorial, I have explained how to compare an array of objects in PowerShell using different methods.

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