I have a batch script template that includes a choice in it, I want to have the question for what the end-user wants to do, and the choice description(s) below the question. Here is my template:

Color __
set /P c=Do you want to %CHOICE%? & ECHO.(%DESCRIPTION%)
if /I "%c%" EQU "Y" goto :choice_yes
if /I "%c%" EQU "C" goto :choice_cancel
goto :choice
echo %CHOICE% has been cancelled.
:: Insert additional commands or code here.

As you can see in the script, I have already attempted & ECHO.(%DESCRIPTION%) among other methods that insert a new line. I believe there needs to be an additional ECHO before the actual choice question with the above method, but due to the structure of the code I don't know where to place it. What am I doing wrong? Is there perhaps a character that needs to be escaped due to syntax?

  • From a UX perspective it's confusing to have the request for input appear before the information the user must consider when answering. Just an opinion. – Twisty Impersonator Feb 19 '18 at 16:57

If you want the question and the input cursor to be above the description output, you'll need a way to move the cursor upwards. Batch scripts cannot do this alone (though PowerShell possibly could); you'd need a small external tool which uses the Windows Console APIs to move the cursor a few lines higher.

If you want only the question to be above the description, allowing the prompt to blink below everything, that's easy – just output the question using a separate command:

echo Do you want to %CHOICE%?
set /p ANSWER=^>
echo You entered %ANSWER%.

Your original attempt doesn't work for a different reason.

The set and the echo are completely separate commands – it does not matter that you separate them with an & instead of a line break; they are still executed individually:

  1. first the set /p a=b command is run, showing the prompt, then reading a single input line;
  2. then, after input has been already read, echo %description% is run, showing your text.

So in other words, echo does not insert a new line in the script; it tells the script to produce a new line in its output, but that's not the same thing at all.

(In other scripting/programming languages, to insert a new line in the script you would use \n or just a literal line break, but Windows batch scripts again have no equivalent to that.)

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