How can I set an environment variable to the output of a command in a Windows batch file? The command will return a single value of around 32 characters (e.g. type myfile.txt).

3 Answers 3


Try running these commands:

for /f "delims=" %a in ('mybatchfile.bat') do @set myenvvar=%a
echo %myenvvar%


for /f "delims=" %a in ('command to run') do @set example_environment_variable=%a


for /f "delims=" %a in ('command to run') do @setx example_environment_variable=%a

Sidenote, set sets it just for this command process/window, but setx sets it for the whole user/system.

  • Thanks. Looks like my command has parenthesis in it. I tried to escape them with backslashes, but no dice. Here's the command I'm trying to use: powershell.exe -command (Get-SSMParameter -Region us-east-1 -Name "SumoI" -WithDecryption $true).Value' ... and here's the error: ".Value') was unexpected at this time."
    – slantalpha
    Jun 8, 2019 at 3:42
  • If you have a powershell cmdlet don’t use batch file magic, do it all in powershell.
    – eckes
    Jun 8, 2019 at 3:48
  • @eckes Agreed, that's probably better. How do I concatenate the variable with running a command from Powershell? $Output = C:\MyCommand -AccessKey$MYVAR | Out-String
    – slantalpha
    Jun 8, 2019 at 5:40
  • Setx doesn't use the equals sign. Replacing it with a space is better. If there's a chance of %a having a space in it, add double quotes.
    – Jamie
    Mar 16, 2021 at 23:40


for /f "usebackq delims==" %v in (`echo new_value`) do set new_var=%v 

Why would somebody want to use this version?

According to for /? help, one may want to use it when dealing with double quotes in the file names (as a matter of fact, that's how I ended up here):

usebackq        - specifies that the new semantics are in force,
                  where a back quoted string is executed as a
                  command and a single quoted string is a
                  literal string command and allows the use of
                  double quotes to quote file names in


Finally, you can use the FOR /F command to parse the output of a
command.  You do this by making the file-set between the
parenthesis a back quoted string.  It will be treated as a command
line, which is passed to a child CMD.EXE and the output is captured
into memory and parsed as if it was a file.  So the following

  FOR /F "usebackq delims==" %i IN (`set`) DO @echo %i

would enumerate the environment variable names in the current


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