What is a Redirection Operator?

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A redirection operator is a special character that can be used with a command, like a Command Prompt command or DOS command, to either redirect the input to the command or the output from the command.

By default, when you execute a command, the input comes from the keyboard and the output is sent to the Command Prompt window. Command inputs and outputs are called command handles.

The table below lists all of the available redirection operators for commands in Windows and MS-DOS. However, the > and >> redirection operators are, by a considerable margin, the most commonly used.

What is a Redirection Operator?

NOTE: Two other redirection operators, >& and < &, also exist but deal mostly with more complicated redirection involving command handles.

TIP: The clip command is worth mentioning here as well. It's not a redirection operator but it is intended to be used with one, usually the vertical pipe, to redirect the output of the command before the pipe to the Windows Clipboard. For example, executing ping | clip will copy the results of the ping command to the clipboard, which you can then paste into any program.