Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 with SP2, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows 8

Changes the position of batch parameters in a batch file.

For examples of how to use this command, see Examples.


shift [/n <N>]




/n <N>

Specifies to start shifting at the Nth argument, where N is any value from 0 to 8. Requires command extensions, which are enabled by default.


Displays help at the command prompt.


  • The shift command changes the values of the batch parameters %0 through %9 by copying each parameter into the previous one—the value of %1 is copied to %0, the value of %2 is copied to %1, and so on. This is useful for writing a batch file that performs the same operation on any number of parameters.

  • If command extensions are enabled, the shift command supports the /n command-line option. The /n option specifies to start shifting at the Nth argument, where N is any value from 0 to 8. For example, SHIFT /2 would shift %3 to %2, %4 to %3, and so on, and leave %0 and %1 unaffected. Command extensions are enabled by default.

  • You can use the shift command to create a batch file that can accept more than 10 batch parameters. If you specify more than 10 parameters on the command line, those that appear after the tenth (%9) will be shifted one at a time into %9.

  • The shift command has no effect on the %* batch parameter.

  • There is no backward shift command. After you implement the shift command, you cannot recover the batch parameter (%0) that existed before the shift.


The following lines from a sample batch file called Mycopy.bat demonstrate how to use shift with any number of batch parameters. In this example, Mycopy.bat copies a list of files to a specific directory. The batch parameters are represented by the directory and file name arguments.

@echo off 
rem MYCOPY.BAT copies any number of files
rem to a directory.
rem The command uses the following syntax:
rem mycopy dir file1 file2 ... 
set todir=%1
if "%1"=="" goto end
copy %1 %todir%
goto getfile
set todir=
echo All done

Additional references

Command-Line Syntax Key