Coffee Break – Search in a Dynamics NAV object file using Windows PowerShell

This coffee break post illustrates how to search a text file for specific words or a phrase. You can do this with Windows PowerShell in any text files, but let's use some Dynamics NAV objects exported as text. Technically speaking we are reading a text file then piping it line for line through a search cmdlet, which pipes matching lines further to a log.txt file.

Coffee Break 5 - Searching through a Dynamics NAV text file

Customer story:

The developer wants an automated way of locating all occurrences of a string (table name, field name, comment, ...) in a country-specific version of Dynamics NAV, in this example the Norwegian version. And we will log the output of this search to a log file in c:\NAVApp\Log. 

Exporting objects from Dynamics NAV:


Crete a folder C:\MyNAVApp with a subfolder \Log so that the resulting full path is C:\MyNAVApp\Log.

For this purpose we use the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Application Merge Utilities. Note that these install to the equivalent of C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Dynamics NAV\80\RoleTailored Client. This time we don't need to import the Management module, only the application merge utilities:

Import-Module "${env:ProgramFiles(x86)}\Microsoft Dynamics NAV\80\RoleTailored Client\Microsoft.Dynamics.Nav.Model.Tools.psd1"

  • Note 1: Make sure to import Microsoft.Dynamics.Nav.Model.Tools.psd1, and not NavModelTools.ps1.
  • Note 2: This will load the path for finsql.exe too, and use the finsql in the client folder.

Set a few variables. Assuming that we work in folder C:\MyNAVApp\, and we will be searching for where "G/L Account" table reference is used. And we will log the output of this search to a log file in the c:\MyNAVApp\Log folder.

$objectPath = 'C:\MyNAVApp'
$sourcepath = Join-Path $ObjectPath '\MyObjects'

$NAVobjects = Join-Path $ObjectPath 'NAVobjects.txt'
$LogPath = Join-Path $ObjectPath '\log\whereused.txt'
#Note, a search string can also be an array of strings
$SearchString = '”G/L Account”'


Export the objects you like, either all objects:
Export-NAVApplicationObject  -DatabaseName "Demo Database NAV (8-0)" -DatabaseServer ".\NAVDEMO" -Path $NAVObjectFile

Or filter (choose the filter you like):

$FilterString = "Version List=*NAVNO*"

$FilterString = "Modified=Yes"
Export-NAVApplicationObject  -DatabaseName "Demo Database NAV (8-0)" -DatabaseServer ".\NAVDEMO" -Path $NAVObjects -Filter $FilterString 

#Split into individual object files

split-navapplicationobjectfile -Source $NAVobjects -Destination $sourcepath -PassThru -Force

Now load the list of files in the folder. We're using the -File parameter with Get-ChildItem to limit the scope to files only (sub folders are not included).

$myobjects = Get-ChildItem -Path $SourcePath -Filter *txt -File

The next line shows a very simple way to read through all text files in the specified path (c:\MyNAVApp) and for each file searches for the search string (in our case "G/L Account) and for each hit pipe the source line to the log file along with the line number. For this we will use the Select-String cmdlet, that can work directly on Objects with File Info (objects returned by calling  Get-ChildItem cmdlet).

$myobjects | Select-String $SearchString | Out-FileFilepath $LogPath

Note that using the parameters and segments above implies that:

  • The script raises an error if the $ObjectPath does not exist.
  • Out-File will overwrite the existing file per pipeline
  • Out-File will append lines to the file, per pipeline object


Jasminka Thunes, Escalation Engineer Dynamics NAV EMEA

Lars Lohndorf-Larsen, Escalation Engineer Dynamics NAV EMEA

Bas Graaf, Senior Software Engineer Dynamics NAV


Comments (1)

  1. Matthias König says:

    thanks! its a great articel for us as Powershell starters 🙂

    But I've two hints for us users:

    1. if you did not install cumulative update 1, you must set your development enviroment to english.

    2. add the parameter ExportTxtSkipUnlicensed to "Export-NAVApplicationObject" if you do not have all permissions 🙂

    kind regards,

    Matthias König

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