Using Dynamic Help in PowerShell Console

by Mar 31, 2022

In the PowerShell ISE, there was a useful trick: enter a PowerShell command and press F1 to immediately open local help for the command.

This now works in any PowerShell console, too, provided you update PSReadLine to at least version 2.2. If in doubt, try this:

PS> Update-Module -Name PSReadLine   

If you can’t update the module because it shipped with Windows, or you are missing privileges, try and freshly install it like so:

PS> Install-Module -Name PSReadLine -Scope CurrentUser -Force  

Next, restart your PowerShell console.

Now, try the new “dynamic help” feature yourself: enter a PowerShell cmdlet name, i.e. Get-Service, then press F1. The console displays the help information for the cmdlet you entered. Press the key “Q” when you are done, and the console removes the help text again.


    Gets the services on a local or remote computer.

    Get-Service [-ComputerName <System.String[]>] [-DependentServices]
    -DisplayName <System.String[]> [-Exclude <System.String[]>]
    [-Include <System.String[]>] [-RequiredServices] []

    Get-Service [-ComputerName <System.String[]>] [-DependentServices]
    [-Exclude <System.String[]>] [-Include <System.String[]>]
Up:↑ Down:↓ Quit:Q :  

To get full help, you may first have to download the complete local help like so:

PS> Update-Help -UICulture en-us -Force  

This requires full administrative privileges, and it may be normal to receive a few red error messages since not all PowerShell modules come with local help. In PowerShell 7, you can download the local help files to alternate locations so no administrative privileges are required:

PS> Update-Help -UICulture en-us -Force -Scope CurrentUser  

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