PowerShell Naming Conventions: Best Practices for Scripts

This tutorial is everything about PowerShell Naming Conventions. Here, we’ll discuss the best ways to name things in PowerShell, like cmdlets, functions, and variables. Good naming helps make your scripts easy to understand and professional.

PowerShell naming conventions are critical in creating readable, maintainable, and consistently structured scripts. These conventions help users to intuitively understand the purpose of a function, commandlet, or variable, which is essential for collaboration and long-term code management.

PowerShell Naming Conventions – Basic Principles

PowerShell’s naming conventions are designed to provide clarity and consistency in script development. These conventions help to ensure that commands are self-descriptive and easily understood by users.

Verb-Noun Format

In PowerShell, cmdlets follow a Verb-Noun naming structure where the verb represents the action that the cmdlet performs, and the noun describes the entity upon which the action is performed. This strict pairing helps in predictably determining what a cmdlet does. For example, Get-Process retrieves information about system processes.

Approved Verbs

PowerShell maintains a specific set of approved verbs to standardize cmdlet names and make them easily discoverable. These verbs are categorized by their intended effect, such as Get for retrieval operations or Set for modification tasks. To find the full list of approved verbs, one can use the command Get-Verb.

Singular Nouns

Cmdlet names in PowerShell use singular nouns rather than plural. The use of singular nouns ensures that each PowerShell cmdlet name clearly refers to a single entity type that the verb acts upon. For example, Get-Command retrieves a list of all commands available, even though it might return multiple items.

PowerShell Variable Naming Rules

Variable naming in PowerShell is significant for script clarity and maintainability. The following guidelines should ensure variables are easily identifiable and understandable.

Use Descriptive Names

Variables should have descriptive names that convey their purpose or content. For instance, a variable storing a list of user accounts could be named $userAccountsList rather than something ambiguous like $list.

Avoid Using Reserved Words

Variables should not use PowerShell reserved words or conflict with cmdlet names. For instance, avoid naming your variable $for or $while. A full list of reserved words can be found in the PowerShell documentation.

Consider Scope

When naming variables, one must consider their scope:

  • $local:VarName for local scope
  • $script:VarName for script scope
  • $global:VarName for global scope
  • $private:VarName for private scope in a script or script block

Choose the scope that best suits the variable’s use to avoid unintended overwriting or access.

Prefix Type

It is a common practice to prefix a variable name with an abbreviation of its type when the type is critical to understand the context, although this is not a strict rule. For example:


Capitalization Guidelines

Variable names in PowerShell are not case-sensitive, but it can be helpful to use a consistent capitalization pattern for readability. The popular choices are CamelCase ($userData) or snake_case ($user_data). Choose one style and apply it consistently across your scripts.

PowerShell Function and Cmdlet Naming Guidelines

In PowerShell, maintaining a consistent and clear naming convention for functions and cmdlets is essential for readability and usability. This involves careful verb selection, noun uniqueness, deliberate parameter naming, and appropriate cmdlet prefixes.

Verb Selection

The verb in a cmdlet name signifies the action the cmdlet performs. PowerShell recommends using standard verbs predefined by the Get-Verb cmdlet to ensure consistency. A function or cmdlet should only use these approved verbs. For example, use Get- for retrieval operations, Set- for modification tasks, and New- when creating resources.

Approved VerbAction
GetRetrieves information
SetChanges existing information
NewCreates a new resource

Noun Uniqueness

The noun in a cmdlet name identifies the entity on which the operation is performed. Nouns should be singular and specific to minimize ambiguity. They must not conflict with nouns from other modules unless they are directly related. For instance, if a cmdlet interacts with a specific service, include the service name in the noun.

Get-ProcessProcessRefers to a single process instance
Get-VMNetworkAdapterVMNetworkAdapterTargets a VM’s network adapter

Parameter Naming

Cmdlet parameters should have clear, self-explanatory names that convey their purpose without additional context. Use PascalCase and avoid aliases which can obscure meaning. The parameter names should follow the noun-verb format where applicable and avoid using reserved parameter names like Debug or ErrorAction.

  • Idempotent: Indicate actions that do not change system state.
  • Force: Use for parameters that override restrictions or confirmations.

Cmdlet Prefixes

A cmdlet prefix usually abbreviates the module name and provides a namespace to avoid name collisions with cmdlets from other modules. For example, all cmdlets in the Active Directory module start with AD, like Get-ADUser.

Active DirectoryADGet-ADUser

Script and Module Naming Conventions in PowerShell

In PowerShell, following a consistent naming convention for scripts and modules enhances clarity and maintenance.

Use Consistent Suffixes

Scripts and modules should have appropriate suffixes to indicate their file type. For scripts, .ps1 is the standard suffix. Modules, on the other hand, should use .psm1 for script modules and .psd1 for module manifests. A table of file types and their suffixes is provided for reference:

File TypeSuffix
PowerShell Script.ps1
Script Module.psm1
Module Manifest.psd1

Version Numbering

Including a version number in the name of a module is beneficial for managing updates and dependencies. The common practice is to append the version number at the end of the module name using the pattern ModuleName.V#.#.#, where #.#.# corresponds to the Major, Minor, and Patch version numbers as defined by Semantic Versioning.

Version PartPurpose
MajorIndicates significant changes
MinorAdds backward-compatible features
PatchFixes bugs without adding new features

Including Verb-Noun Pair

PowerShell best practices dictate the use of a verb-noun pair for the naming of cmdlets, and this extends to script and module names as well. This scheme involves pairing an approved PowerShell verb with a specific noun to concisely convey the script or module’s purpose. For instance, Get-InventoryReport.ps1 immediately informs the user that the script retrieves an inventory report.

  • Approved PowerShell Verb: Provides clarity on the action performed.
  • Specific Noun: Identifies the target or subject of the action.

PowerShell File and Folder Naming Practices

Effective file and folder naming in PowerShell is essential for clarity, consistency, and avoiding errors during script execution. These practices pertain to naming conventions within PowerShell scripts and the use of PowerShell for managing file systems.

Character Restrictions

In PowerShell, certain characters are prohibited in file and folder names due to their special meaning within the file system or the PowerShell language itself. The characters not allowed are:

< (less than)
> (greater than)
: (colon)
" (double quote)
/ (forward slash)
\ (backslash)
| (vertical bar or pipe)
? (question mark)
* (asterisk)

Additionally, it’s also important to avoid trailing spaces or periods for compatibility with Windows file systems.

Path Length Considerations

PowerShell and the Windows file system traditionally impose a maximum path length limit of 260 characters. This includes the drive letter, colon, backslash, folder names, the file name, and the file extension. Care must be taken to structure directories and name files such that the total character count remains within this limit to prevent errors.

PowerShell Naming Conventions

Advanced Naming Concepts in PowerShell

In PowerShell, advanced naming concepts provide script clarity and maintainability, especially as the complexity increases. These conventions establish a common language for developers to follow, ensuring that function purpose, scope, and type are immediately evident.

Using Pseudo-Hungarian Notation

Pseudo-Hungarian Notation incorporates a variable’s data type or purpose into its name. For instance:

  • Strings may start with str, as in strUsername
  • Integers might begin with int, as in intCount
  • Booleans often use is, has, can, indicating a condition such as isFound, hasItems

When used sparingly and appropriately, this approach can make the code easier to understand.

Distinguishing Private and Public Functions

PowerShell supports both public and private functions in scripts and modules. Naming conventions help to differentiate them.

  • Public Functions: These follow a Verb-Noun format and are intended for external use, such as Get-Inventory
  • Private Functions: These are for internal script/module use only. A common practice is prefixing names with an underscore, like _ResolvePath

Naming Conventions for Constants

In PowerShell, constants are variables whose values do not change. They are typically declared with [const] and written in uppercase letters to stand out, a widespread convention across programming languages.


Naming constants clearly and in uppercase serves as an immediate identifier of their immutable nature.


PowerShell scripting benefits greatly from consistent naming conventions, lending script clarity and predictability. In practice, they ensure scripts are:

  • Easier to understand: Familiar patterns guide users through the script’s logic.
  • Maintainability: Consistency allows for simpler updates and troubleshooting.
  • Collaboration friendly: Teams can work together seamlessly when following a common standard.

Adhering to the established conventions guarantees that scripts will be readily comprehensible not just to their authors, but also to other users and administrators. These best practices, such as Verb-Noun pairings for cmdlets and the use of PascalCase for function names, are critical for creating professional-grade scripts. Moreover, PowerShell’s flexibility in aliasing commands and the existence of approved verbs lists from Microsoft further streamline the scripting process.

For variable names, concise yet descriptive identifiers are imperative, following camelCase to distinguish local variables and PascalCase for global ones. One must avoid using reserved words and ensure that advanced functions utilize CmdletBinding to leverage cmdlet behaviors.

Finally, comment-based help accompanying functions and scripts encapsulate the essence of PowerShell’s self-documenting nature, solidifying understanding and usage across diverse environments.

I hope now you have a complete idea of PowerShell naming conventions.

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