In Unix / Linux land there is a handy command to create an empty file.

This command is called touch

If you run the following command

touch test.txt

It creates an empty file named test.txt in the current directory.

Touch has the additional effect of updating the last write time if the file specified exists.

Very handy.

We can create our own version in PowerShell.

Open your profile using your favourite text editor.

Mine is notepad++

Notepad++ $Profile

The code is as below:

function Touch-File() {
    $fileName = $args[0]
    # Check of the file exists
    if (-not(Test-Path $fileName)) {
        # It does not exist. Create it
        New-Item -ItemType File -Name $fileName
    else {
        #It exists. Update the timestamp
        (Get-ChildItem $fileName).LastWriteTime = Get-Date

### Create an alias for touch

# Check if the alias exists
if (-not(Test-Path -Path Alias:Touch)) {
    New-Alias -Name Touch Touch-File -Force

We are doing a couple of things here:

First, we create a function named Touch-File

Within the function we capture the first argument passed to it, and assign it to the variable $fileName

Next we check if the file exists. If it does not we create an empty file named from the $fileName variable.

This is done using the New-Item cmdlet, specifying the object we want is a file and passing the file name

If the file exists, we update its last update time.

This is done by setting the LastWriteTime property of the file

Finally, after creating the function, we create an alias so we can use either Touch-File or the shorter Touch. We use the –Force parameter so that in case the alias already exists, we re-bind it

Note you cannot set the alias from inside the function as it seems you cannot create an alias for a function that has not been fully parsed and bound.

To test this close and open a new PowerShell window and try it out.

touch test.txt

You should see the new file created

You can access the code in my Github.

Happy hacking!