Remove Characters From String in Powershell

The PowerShell -replace operator is an excellent function for substituting characters or sequences of characters in a string. The essential advantage of the operator is that it accepts the substitution of a substring with literal strings, wildcards, and regular expressions.

The catch of using the -replace operator to remove characters is to replace a substring or regex pattern with an empty string (“”).

The -replace Operator

The operator has the following syntax:

Where <regex_pattern> is the regular expression (or literal string), we want to find and replace it with <substitute> substring. In our examples, we will use an empty string for <substitute> to effectively remove characters captured by the <regex_pattern>.

Note: The -replace operator is case-sensitive by default. If you want your pattern-matching process to be case-insensitive, use -creplace operator.

Let’s now see some examples.


This Section covers examples of using the -replace operator to remove characters from a string. In each example, the code comes first, followed by an explanation of the pattern used.

Example 1: Remove all instances of a character or sequence of characters


Ths event s awesome. The place s awesome as well
Th event  awesome. The place  awesome as well

In the example above, we have seen how to replace a character (replace “i” in the first case) and a sequence of characters (remove all “is” substrings in the second case). Note that the second example replaces all occurrences of “is” in the string, not only the word “is”. If you want to replace a word, see Example 2.

Example 2: Remove a word in a string


If you need my , please let me know and I will be helping
If you need my help, please let me know and I will be helping

The patterns: “\bhelp\b” and “\bis\b”

Explanation: The “\b” sequence matches the boundary between words in a string. Therefore, the patterns “\bhelp\b” and “\bis\b” matches the words “help” and “is”, respectively. Note that this matches the whole words, not the substrings. That is why the substring “help” in the word “helping” is not removed in the second case.

Example 3: Remove the first and the last word in a string


 you need my help, please let me know.

The pattern: “^\w+\b”

Explanation: The “^” anchor matches the beginning of the string, \w+ matches one or more alphanumeric characters, and \b matches the word boundary. Therefore, “^\w+\b” will match the first word in our string.


If you need my help, please let me

The pattern: “\b(\w+)\W*$”

Explanation: $ matches the end of our string. Therefore, “\b(w+)$” captures the last word. The parentheses capture groups (we will cover that in the last example). We also added the sequence “\W*” to capture zero or more non-alphanumeric characters like punctuation marks.

Example 4: Replace multiple substrings or words


If you need my , please let me  and I  . I  always .

The code above replaces all substrings given in the pattern. If you want to capture words, use the word boundary anchor (\b) discussed in Example 2 with something like this: “\bhelp\b|\bknow\b|\bwill\b”.

You can remove all words starting with a given character with a code like this.


If you need  , please let  know, and I will . I will always .

Example 5: Remove all punctuations


If you need my help please let me know

The pattern: “[^\w\d\s]+”

Explanation: When the anchor “^” is used at the beginning of the set operator [ ], it means negation. Therefore, “[^\w\d\s]+” matches any character that is not word character (\w), digit (\d) or whitespace (\s). The pattern, therefore, effectively removes punctuation marks that fall under \W.

Example 6: Remove numbers

There are three cases involving how to remove numbers using the -replace operator. They include

Case 1: Remove unsigned integers like 0, 44, 1096


If you need my help, please let me know.

The pattern: “\d+” or “[0-9]+”

Explanation: The pattern matches one or more number characters.

Case 2: Remove signed and unsigned integers, e.g., +67, -78, 45, 70

Case 2 fixes the limitation of Case 1 – Case 1 cannot capture signed integers.


If you need my help, please let me know.

The pattern: “\+?-?\d+”

Explanation: The pattern captures numbers (\d+) with or without the sign (\+?-?).

Case 3: Remove signed and unsigned floats and integers like -3.14, 67, 4.6 and -78

Case 3 solves the bottlenecks of Cases 1 and 2 – Case 3 capture signed and unsigned decimal numbers and integers.


If you need my help, please let me know.

Example 7: Remove all white spaces in a string



Example 8: Capture groups and remove some of them

Grouping in regular expressions is used to construct substrings from an input string. Groups in PowerShell regex are captured with parentheses “()”. The captured groups can be identified using integers (the default) or names.
Consider a string containing a salutation, first name, last name, and state of an individual separated by whitespaces. For example,

“Mr Mitch McConnell Kentucky”

We wish to capture the four information pieces by grouping and removing the salutation and state.

Let’s start by using integers to identify the captured groups.


John Smith

The pattern: “^(\w+)\s+(\w+)\s+(\w+)\s+(\w+)$”

Explanation: The pattern captures four groups (shown by the four parenthesis pairs). We then replace the four groups with only two groups, $2 and $3, effectively removing the $1 (salutation) and $4 (state) groups.

Instead of using integers, we can use named groups, as follows.


Alice Kamalie


This article discussed using the -replace operator to remove characters from a string in PowerShell. After covering the examples given, you should be able to remove characters from strings based on your needs. However, if you need more information, you may find the following reference links useful to learn more about -replace operator and regex: