NT Syntax


Display messages on screen, turn command-echoing on or off.

      ECHO [ON | OFF] 
      ECHO [message] 
   ON      : Display each line of the batch on screen (default)
   OFF     : Only display the command output on screen
   message : a string of characters to display

Type ECHO without parameters to display the current echo setting (ON or OFF).

In most batch files you will want ECHO OFF, turning it ON can be useful when debugging a problematic batch script.

In a batch file, the @ symbol is the same as ECHO OFF applied to the current line only.

Normally a command is executed and takes effect from the next line onwards, @ is a rare example of a command that takes effect immediately.

Command characters will normally take precedence over the ECHO statement
e.g. The redirection and pipe characters: & < > | ON OFF

To override this behaviour you can escape each command character with ^ as follows:

   ECHO Nice ^&Easy
   ECHO Salary is ^> Commision
   ECHO Name ^| Username ^| Expiry Date
   ECHO:Off On Holiday

Echo a Variable

To display a department variable:

ECHO %v_department%

If the variable does not exist - ECHO will simply return the text "%v_department%"

This can be extended to search and replace parts of a variable or display substrings of a variable.

You can also redirect the echoed output from the screen into a file

Echo a file

see the TYPE command for this

Echo a sound

The following command in a batch file will trigger the default beep on most PC's


Use Ctrl-G (or 'Alt' key, and 7 on the numeric keypad) to get this character (ascii 7)

Alternatively where a sound card is available:

START/min sndrec32 /play /close %windir%\media\ding.wav
START/min mplay32 /play /close %windir%\media\ding.wav

Echo a blank line

The following command in a batch file will produce an empty line


Echo text into a stream

Streams allow one file to contain several separate forks of information (like the macintosh resource fork)

The general syntax is

   Echo Text_String > FileName:StreamName

Only the following commands support the File:Stream syntax - ECHO, MORE, FOR

Creating streams:

   Echo This is stream1 > myfile.dat:stream1 
   Echo This is stream2 > myfile.dat:stream2  

Displaying streams:

   More < myfile.dat:stream1 
   More < myfile.dat:stream2
   FOR /f "delims=*" %%G in (myfile.dat:stream1) DO echo %%G
   FOR /f "delims=*" %%G in (myfile.dat:stream2) DO echo %%G

A data stream file can be successfully copied and renamed despite the fact that most applications and commands will report a zero length file. The file size can be calculated from remaining free space. The file must always reside on an NTFS volume.

"I've never had a humble opinion in my life. If you're going to have one, why bother to be humble about it" - Joan Baez

Related Commands:

SET - Create and display environment variables
TYPE - Display the contents of a text file
List - Text Display and Search Tool (Win 2K ResKit)

Batch file to echo giant size characters - BigText.cmd

Equivalent Linux BASH commands:

echo - Display message on screen

Simon Sheppard