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Percent Signs Stripped from Batch File Text

This article was previously published under Q75634
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This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
Using a percent sign (%) in a batch file requires that two percentsigns (%%) be specified.

For example, the command to display "5%" from a batch file would be :
   ECHO 5%%				
MS-DOS uses %1, %2, ... %9 as replaceable command line parameters. Forexample, before executing the command ECHO %1, %1 will be replacedwith the first parameter passed to the batch file. %0 is replaced withthe command used to execute the batch file.

A single percent sign on a line is treated as a "nul" character in abatch file. For example:
   ECHO %     is processed as ECHO   ECHO a%b   is processed as ECHO ab				
If a command contains two percent signs, MS-DOS will treat any charactersbetween them as an environment variable to be expanded. For example, if theSET command shows that the current environment variables are
   ECHO %PATH%     is processed as ECHO C:\DOS   ECHO a%b%       is processed as ECHO aC   ECHO a%b b%a    is processed as ECHO aa				
If there are no characters between the two percent signs, one percentsign is stripped off and the other will remain. This is why a FOR commandthat echos the name of each file with a .COM extension would be
   FOR %V IN (*.COM) DO ECHO %V				
but if the same command is placed in a batch file, the following isrequired:
   FOR %%V IN (*.COM) DO ECHO %%V				

"Microsoft MS-DOS Batch File Quick Reference," Microsoft Press.
6.22 3.20 3.21 3.30 3.30a 4.00 4.01 4.01a 5.00 5.00a 6.00 6.20

Article ID: 75634 - Last Review: 05/10/2003 00:29:27 - Revision: 2.0

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