Easiest way to Shuffle an Array with PowerShell

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I was going nuts trying to sort an array into a random order. I was hoping for something in PowerShell that would be along the lines of Shuffle() in PHP or Ruby.Shuffle an Array in PowerShell (The Easy Way!)

In fact, after looking at it I was a little surprised at all of the things that an array can’t do in PowerShell.

But that’s ok – it turns out to be really easy and if you’re thinking that you need to learn a differentlanguage to shuffle an array in PowerShell you’re dead wrong.

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It’s super easy to randomize the order of an array in PowerShell – you just have to simplify and think about it in a different way.

#Give me a list - any list will do. Here's 26 numbers.
$MyList = 0..25

#Shuffle your array content but keep them in the same array

$MyList = $MyList | Sort-Object {Get-Random}

#Randomize the contents of your array and save them into a new array

$MyShuffledList = $MyList | Sort-Object {Get-Random}

This is so easy it defies belief. Why does it work?

Since the Sort-Object can accept pipeline input, it’s often used to organize the contents of a list based on one property or another. You’ve probably used it for sorting by names, or for sorting files by their size. But a magical thing happens when you tell it to not sort by a specific property but instead pass it a scriptblock.

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For each object that is passed into Sort-Object through the pipeline the scriptblock is called. And since Get-Random evaluates to a rather large random number – the objects in the array are sorted based on all of those random integers.

I know this was an eye-opener for me, and I really like doing it this way. Before coming across the sort method I tried going through each item in the array and adding a noteproperty to it.  Which worked since I was using an array of objects anyway but was way clunkier than doing it this way.

Leave any questions or feedback in the comments and do me a favor and hit the like button on my facebook page for me, ok? Thanks!

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