How to Call a PowerShell Function from a PS1 File?

PowerShell scripts allow us to automate complex IT tasks and scale across environments. Functions in PowerShell let you neatly encapsulate reusable pieces of code for later invocation, getting us out of “script sprawl”. Functions can be defined and used within a script file, but as scripts grow, juggling all that logic in a single huge .PS1 file becomes unwieldy. So, how exactly can you call granular functions saved locally in a separate PS1 file, without copy-pasting? That’s where dot sourcing and modules come in – a clever technique to import and execute functions from another script within the same session scope.

By placing functions in PS1 files, you can build custom PowerShell modules to organize and share your code. Calling functions from PS1 files is easy once you understand how it works in PowerShell. In this article, we’ll cover how to call functions from imported PS1 files and some best practices.

Key Takeaways:

  • Calling functions from external PS1 files in PowerShell can be achieved through dot-sourcing and import-module methods.
  • Understanding and utilizing these methods can enhance your PowerShell scripting capabilities and make your code more efficient and maintainable.
  • By calling functions from separate PS1 files, you can reuse code, improve code organization, and separate concerns.

An Overview of PowerShell Functions

powershell script call function in another file

A function in PowerShell is a reusable block of code that performs a specific task. Functions accept input via parameters, perform work, and optionally return output. They enhance script readability and reusability, making complex scripts more manageable.

The main advantages of using functions are:

  • Encapsulation – Functions allow you to encapsulate code into reusable blocks that can be called repetitively.
  • Organization – Functions help organize your code by logically separating tasks.
  • Discoverability – Functions clearly define what task a block of code performs based on its name.

Here is a simple syntax for a PowerShell function:

Function Add-Numbers($a, $b) {
   return $a + $b 

To call this function, you just need to specify the function name followed by parameter values in parentheses. Here’s an example:

Add-Numbers 2 3

Output: 5

If the function is located in the same script file, it can be invoked directly by defining it above the line where it is called. However, when the function is in a separate PS1 file, a different approach is required. More information on PowerShell functions is here: PowerShell Functions: A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide

How to Call a Function from a PS1 File in PowerShell?

call a function from external ps1 file in powershell

A PS1 file is a PowerShell script file that contains a set of commands, functions, and modules that can be executed in PowerShell. PS1 files can be used to automate tasks and processes, save time, and ensure consistent results. PowerShell functions and PS1 files work together seamlessly, enabling you to create powerful scripts that can be reused and extended.

To call a function from an external PS1 file, you can use dot-sourcing. This method involves loading the functions from the external file into the current PowerShell session. By using the dot operator followed by the file path, the functions can be accessed and utilized as if they were part of the current script.

Another approach to calling a function from an external PS1 file is by using the import-module method. In this method, the function is saved in a separate PS1 file, which can then be imported into the current PowerShell session. This can be done through dot-sourcing or using the Import-Module cmdlet. Once imported, the function can be called and executed.

Dot-SourcingLoad functions from an external PS1 file into the current PowerShell session using dot-sourcing.
Import-ModuleSave the function in a separate PS1 or PSM1 file and import it into the current session using the Import-Module cmdlet.

Dot-Sourcing Functions in PowerShell

call a function from ps1 file in powershell

When working with PowerShell, it’s common to have functions stored in external PS1 files. To execute these functions and use them in your scripts, you can utilize the dot-sourcing method. Dot-sourcing allows you to load functions from an external file into your current PowerShell session, making them easily accessible.

Executing a Function in an External PS1 File

To execute a function from an external PS1 file using dot-sourcing, you need to use the dot operator followed by the path to the file. This can be achieved by providing either the full file path or a relative path, depending on where the file is located. By dot-sourcing the file, all the functions within it become available for use in your current script.

Step-by-Step Process for Calling a Function from a PS1 File

Now that you understand PowerShell functions and PS1 files well, let’s move on to the step-by-step process of calling a function from a ps1 file. These simple steps will help you implement this technique effectively in your PowerShell scripts. Creating a PS1 file is as simple as saving your script with the .ps1 extension. When writing PS1 files, it’s important to maintain clean, readable code. Commenting your code and using consistent naming conventions are key practices.

Step 1: Define the Function in a .ps1 File

Create a PS1 File: First, create a new ps1 file using any text editor. You can name the file anything you want, but for this example, let’s call it “MyFunctions.ps1”. Define your function and give it a name. For example:

function Greet-User {
    param (
    "Hello, $Name!"

function Get-Timestamp{

Step 2: Load the Script into Your Session

A function defined in a script is typically only accessible within that script. To make a function globally accessible, you can dot-source the PS1 file. This can be done using the . operator (also known as dot sourcing) followed by the path to the script file:

. C:\Path\To\MyFunctions.ps1

Make sure to replace C:\Path\To\MyScript.ps1 with the actual path to your script file. Dot sourcing the script will execute the script in the current scope, which makes the function available in your session.

If you have a function called “Get-Data” in a file called “DataFunctions.ps1” located in the same directory as your current script, you can call it using the following syntax:

. .\MyFunctions.ps1

This will execute the “Get-Data” function defined in the external PS1 file and perform any actions or return any output as specified in the function implementation

Step 3: Call the Function

Now that your ps1 file is loaded, you can call your function from any PowerShell script. Simply use the name of the function and include any necessary parameters. For example:

Greet-User -Name "World"

That’s it! By following these easy steps, you can now call a function from a ps1 file using PowerShell. This technique can greatly simplify your coding tasks and enhance your script’s functionality and efficiency. Remember that each time you start a new PowerShell session, you will need to dot source the script again if you want to use the function, as the session does not retain the information from previous sessions.

Benefits of Dot-Sourcing

Dot-sourcing provides several advantages when it comes to calling functions from external PS1 files. It allows for modular code organization, making it easier to manage and maintain your PowerShell projects. Additionally, dot-sourcing enables code reuse, as you can easily incorporate functions from a library of PS1 files into your scripts. This can save you time and effort by avoiding the need to recreate the same code in multiple places.

Furthermore, dot-sourcing promotes code readability and accessibility. By explicitly specifying the file path and dot-sourcing the external PS1 file, other developers can easily understand where the function is located and how it is being used. This makes collaboration and troubleshooting more efficient, enhancing the overall development process.

  • Modular code organization
  • Code reuse and efficiency
  • Promotes code readability and accessibility

Call Functions from External PS1 file using Import-Module

using functions from external ps1 file in powershell

Calling a function defined in an imported PS1 script file works exactly the same as calling from an imported module file. For example, say you have a script called MyFunctions.ps1 with the same functions:

function Get-Greeting {
  # Function body

function Get-Timestamp{
  # Function body 

You would call the functions like this:

Import-Module ./MyFunctions.ps1

Get-Greeting "Mary"

The only difference is that we use Import-Module instead of dot-sourcing for PS1 files. Behind the scenes, Import-Module dot-sources PS1 files automatically.

So remember, to call functions from any imported PS1 or PSM1 file:

  1. Use Import-Module to import the file into your session
  2. Call the functions directly by name

Best Practices When Calling Functions from PS1 Files

Here are some best practices to follow:

  • Use descriptive names – Give your functions and files descriptive names that indicate their purpose. Avoid generic names like MyFunctions.ps1.
  • Organize into modules – Group related functions into PowerShell module files. This avoids cluttering your scripts with lots of function definitions.
  • Import before calling – Always import a module/file first before trying to call functions defined inside it.
  • Avoid dot-sourcing scripts – Use Import-Module instead of dot-sourcing (. *) scripts, since it handles scoping and error handling better.
  • Manage dependencies – Structure your modules so higher level files import their required dependencies.

Other Ways to Utilize PowerShell Functions from External Files

Aside from dot-sourcing and using script modules, there are other methods you can explore to implement PowerShell functions from external PS1 files. These approaches can further enhance your scripting capabilities and offer more flexibility in utilizing functions.

1. Copy and Paste

If you have a function defined in an external PS1 file and you want to use it in another script, a simple approach is to copy and paste the function code directly into the new script. This eliminates the need for dot-sourcing or importing modules and allows the function to be readily available within the new script.

2. PowerShell Profiles

PowerShell profiles provide a way to customize and configure your PowerShell environment. You can create a profile script that is automatically loaded when you launch PowerShell. Within this profile, you can dot-source or import the external PS1 file containing your functions. By doing so, the functions will be available every time you open PowerShell, making them easily accessible for use in any script or session.

Functions readily available in all PowerShell sessions.Dependency on PowerShell profile configuration.
Eliminates the need for dot-sourcing or importing modules.May load unnecessary functions if not carefully managed.
Simple and straightforward implementation.Profile script may need to be updated if functions change.

These alternative methods offer different approaches to incorporating functions from external PS1 files into your PowerShell scripts. Depending on your specific requirements and preferences, you can choose the most suitable approach to optimize your scripting workflow.

2. Using Functions from Modules

Finally, we can execute PowerShell functions that are defined in modules. To do this, we first need to import the module that contains the function. We can do this using the Import-Module cmdlet. For example, if we have a module called MyModule that contains a function called Get-ProcessInfo, we can import the module like this:

PS C:\> Import-Module MyModule
PS C:\> Get-ProcessInfo -ProcessName "notepad"

The first line imports the MyModule module, making the Get-ProcessInfo function available in the current PowerShell session. The second line then runs the function with the necessary parameters.


Calling PowerShell functions from imported PS1 files is a key technique for organizing and reusing your scripts. By encapsulating reusable logic into functions and modules, you can write cleaner and more maintainable code. Understanding how to call functions from a PS1 file empowers you to write efficient, modular, and manageable PowerShell scripts.

With dot-sourcing, you can bring external functions into your script and utilize them as if they were defined within. Script modules offer a more structured approach by packaging multiple functions into a single unit. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced PowerShell user, mastering this skill will significantly enhance your scripting capabilities.

Related Links

How can I call a function from an external PS1 file in PowerShell?

There are multiple ways to call a function from an external PS1 file in PowerShell, including dot-sourcing and using modules.

What is dot-sourcing in PowerShell?

Dot-sourcing is a method to load functions from an external PS1 file into the current PowerShell session. You need to specify the file path after the dot operator.

What are PowerShell modules?

PowerShell modules provide a way to organize and package functions, scripts, and other resources into a single unit.

How can I call functions from external PS1 files as modules?

By treating the PS1 file as a module and using the Import-Module cmdlet, the functions within it can be imported and used.

How do I create a script module in PowerShell?

To create a script module, you need to save your functions in a separate file with a .PSM1 extension and follow the correct folder structure and naming conventions.

What is a module manifest in PowerShell?

A module manifest is a .PSD1 file that contains metadata about a module, such as the module name, version, author, and description.

What is the benefit of calling a function from a PS1 file in PowerShell?

Calling a function from a PS1 file in PowerShell allows you to modularize your code, improving code reusability, maintainability, and readability. It also helps reduce redundancy and promote code organization.

Are there any limitations or considerations when calling a function from a PS1 file in PowerShell?

When calling a function from a PS1 file in PowerShell, it’s essential to ensure that the PS1 file is accessible, the function is defined correctly, and any required dependencies, such as modules or variables, are available. Additionally, be mindful of naming conflicts and potential scoping issues.

Salaudeen Rajack

Salaudeen Rajack - Information Technology Expert with Two-decades of hands-on experience, specializing in SharePoint, PowerShell, Microsoft 365, and related products. He has held various positions including SharePoint Architect, Administrator, Developer and consultant, has helped many organizations to implement and optimize SharePoint solutions. Known for his deep technical expertise, He's passionate about sharing the knowledge and insights to help others, through the real-world articles!

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