Validating XML Documents In PowerShell

3 Comments March 2, 2011

I came across a problem the other day where a process that relied on several external XML documents was failing due to a combination of factors:

  1. The document had been hand-edited
  2. The document contained UTF-8 characters
  3. The document had no encoding directive or BOM to identify it as containing UTF-8 characters

So, I knocked together the following PowerShell module to validate XML documents from the command line:

function Test-Xml {

    begin {
        $xml = new-object System.Xml.XmlDocument

        function TestXmlDocument([string]$path) {
            $relativePath = Resolve-Path $path -Relative
            Write-Host -NoNewLine "$relativePath : "

            trap [System.Xml.XmlException] { 
                $script:valid = $false
                $script:message = $_.Exception.Message

            $script:valid = $true
            $resolvedPath = Resolve-Path $path

            if ($script:valid) {
                Write-Host -ForegroundColor Green "OK"
            } else {
                Write-Host -ForegroundColor Red "Failed - $script:message"

    process {
        if ($_ -is [IO.FileInfo]) {
            TestXmlDocument $_.FullName
        } elseif ($_ -is [string]) {
            if (test-path -type Leaf $_) {
                TestXmlDocument $_

    end {
        if ($Path) {
          foreach ($aPath in $Path) {
            TestXmlDocument $aPath

Export-ModuleMember Test-Xml

The function is implemented so that it can be invoked directly or as a filter. It can therefore be used to check a single file:

Test-Xml fileToCheck.xml

a list of files:

Test-Xml file1.xml, file2.xml, file3.xml

or against a set of files as part of a process:

Get-ChildItems -Recurse -Include *.xml,*.config | Test-Xml

The code is probably not as clean as it could be, but it gets the job done.


  • Gravatar Image
    Stefan November 29, 2012 4:20 PM

    How would you add this to a PSSession? I tried just copying it into a running PowerShell, I tried a .ps1 file and a .psm-file. Any Hints?

  • Gravatar Image
    Stefan November 29, 2012 4:24 PM

    Update - seems like this is already included in the pscx-Module.

    What it doesn't do: validate the XML-file agains XSD/DTD data, even if DTD Data is included inside the xml file...

  • Gravatar Image
    edcourtenay December 6, 2012 8:45 AM

    Hi Stefan; no, I never intended this to check XML documents against XSD/DTD data - this was merely a check to see if an XML document was 'well formed' or not