Use PowerShell to Add Table to Word Doc and Email as Attachment

Summary: Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, talks about using Windows PowerShell to create a document in Microsoft Word, add a table, and email the document as an attachment.

Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, is here. One of the cool things I like to do with Windows PowerShell is to combine multiple tasks so that it makes life easier for me. I use what I call the “annoyance meter” quite often to determine whether to write a script or not. Today’s script is one of those things that rates pretty high on my annoyance meter.

Here is the scenario: I need to supply my professor in my Shakespeare class with a list of proposed topics and my critical approach to them. So what is the big deal? I would have to create a table, type out each of the plays, add my topics, and add my critical approach to each topic. I then have to save the file, open email, find the file, and send the email. That is like, I don’t know, maybe a dozen steps.

Getting started

But what do I have? I already have a text file with my plays, and I already came up with a listing of topic ideas for each of the plays. I did that yesterday in Add Custom Headers to Folder Full of Word Documents.

So all I need to do is to add the literary approach as a third column to the CSV file. Here is my modification:

Image of play, topic, and approach list 

Now I open the Windows PowerShell ISE, start a new script, and set my initial variables. Because I am going to use the SaveAs method from the Document object, I know that I will need to pass the format by reference. I include this [ref] when I create the WdSaveFormat type. I want to know how many columns I have in my CSV file. Each column will be added as a NoteProperty, so I use the Get-Member cmdlet to find the NoteProperty members, and I count them. I find the number of rows that I will need by counting the number of rows in my CSV file. The code is shown here:

[ref]$SaveFormat = "" -as [type]

$topics = Import-Csv C:\Lit\Shakespeare.txt

$path = "C:\lit\ResearchTopics.docx"

$Number_Of_Rows = ($topics.Count +1)

$Number_Of_Columns = ($topics | gm -MemberType NoteProperty).count

$x = 2

Create the Word document 

I create the Word.Application object, set it to not be visible, and add a document to the Documents collection object. I then obtain a range object from the document and store the returned objects in the appropriate objects. This is shown here:

$Word = New-Object -comobject word.application

$Word.Visible = $false

$Doc = $Word.Documents.Add()

$Range = $Doc.Range()

Now that I have a Range object, I can add a table to the Tables collection. When I do this, I use the Add method and I specify the Range that will host the table (the range I have stored in the $Range variable), the number of rows, and the number of columns that the table will contain. I pipe the results to the Out-Null cmdlet to avoid cluttering up my output pane. Here is the code:

$Doc.Tables.Add($Range,$Number_Of_Rows,$Number_Of_Columns) | Out-Null

Now I get the table and add my column headings. I have only added a single table to the Tables collection, so I can simply use Item(1) to obtain the table object that represents my new table. I now use the Cell property to add my column headings. I want the columns to begin with the first row and first column. Then I specify a text property for the range associated with each cell. This code is shown here:

$Table = $Doc.Tables.item(1)

$Table.Cell(1,1).Range.Text = "Play"

$Table.Cell(1,2).Range.Text = "Topic"

$Table.Cell(1,3).Range.Text = "Approach"

Now I want to add the information to my table. I walk through the information I obtained from my CSV file, and add each appropriate value. Because I want to ensure that play titles appear under the Play column heading, I have specified each property rather than simply walking through the collection of items. This code is shown here:

Foreach($t in $topics)


 $Table.Cell($x,1).Range.Text = $t.Play

 $Table.Cell($x,2).Range.Text= $t.Topic



I just want a nice looking table, but I do not want to fool with a lot of manual formatting. Luckily, Microsoft Word has an automatic format method associated with the Table object. I use a hard-coded number to choose which style I want to use. This is shown here:


Now I save my document by using the SaveAs method. I need to specify the path and the format when I call this method. I then close the document and exit the application. Here is the code:

$doc.saveas([ref] $path, [ref]$SaveFormat::wdFormatDocumentDefault)



I want to release all of these objects, so I call the ReleaseComObject method. I do this for each of objects I created. I then call garbage collection to scavenge memory, and I remove the variables. This is shown here:

[System.Runtime.Interopservices.Marshal]::ReleaseComObject($doc) | Out-Null

[System.Runtime.Interopservices.Marshal]::ReleaseComObject($word) | Out-Null

[System.Runtime.Interopservices.Marshal]::ReleaseComObject($range) | Out-Null

[System.Runtime.Interopservices.Marshal]::ReleaseComObject($table) | Out-Null

Remove-Variable Doc,Word, range, table



The document is shown here:

 Image of table listing plays, topics, and approaches

To email the document to my professor, I use the Send-MailMessage cmdlet. All I need to do is ensure that I am using the right SMTP email server, and that I specify my credentials if required. Here is the code I use:

Send-MailMessage -From "" -To "DrHasenpfeffer@State.Edu" `

 -Attachments C:\Lit\ResearchTopics.docx -Subject "research topics" -Body "attached" `

 -SmtpServer "" -UseSsl -Credential ""

That is all there is to using Windows PowerShell to create a Word document, add a table, and email the document as an attachment. Join me tomorrow when I will talk about more cool stuff.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.

Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy

Comments (1)

  1. As a die hard Office user i love this stuff! Thanks Ed

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