Adding TFS to your Powershell Command Line

UPDATE: Added VS2017 support

If you are mostly working with other editors than Visual Studio but still want to be able to use TFS with your team mates, you will need a command line solution.

The first thing you will probably do is to do a Google Search and find where the command line utility is located.

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Common7\IDE\tf.exe

Now, you could simply add the folder to your %PATH% and make it available to your whole machine. But… what about setting an alias instead? Basically, just import this specific command without importing the whole folder.


First, run this notepad $PROFILE. This will open your PowerShell profile script. If the file doesn’t exist, it will prompt you to create it.

Once the file is opened, copy/paste the following line:

Set-Alias tf "$env:VS140COMNTOOLS..\IDE\tf.exe"

If you have a different version of Visual Studio installed, you may need to change the version of the common tools.

This is easily the easiest way to get Team Foundation Services added to your command line without messing with your PATH variable.

Tools Versions

Name Version Tools Variable
Visual Studio 2010 10.0 VS100COMNTOOLS
Visual Studio 2012 11.0 VS110COMNTOOLS
Visual Studio 2013 12.0 VS120COMNTOOLS
Visual Studio 2015 14.0 VS140COMNTOOLS

Handling Visual Studio 2017

The way Visual Studio 2017 has been re-organized, there is no more global environment variables laying around.

The tf.exe location is now there. I haven’t found an easy way to link to it but to use the full path. Please note that the path bellow will vary based on your edition of Visual Studio.

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\\Common7\IDE\CommonExtensions\Microsoft\TeamFoundation\Team Explorer\tf.exe

So for my scenario (with Enterprise installed), the alias would be set as:

Set-Alias tf "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Enterprise\Common7\IDE\CommonExtensions\Microsoft\TeamFoundation\Team Explorer\tf.exe"

Testing it out

If you run tf get on a source controlled folder, you should see changes be brought back to your folder.

Is there any other tools that you are using that are not registered in the default PATH? Leave a comment and let everybody know!

If you want to know more about how to use the tf command, you should definitely take a look at the list of commands.

TFVS Command Reference