Expand-Json cmdlet to expand custom PowerShell object in a more readable format added to AZSBTools PowerShell module

Microsoft Azure REST API version 2 (ARM – Azure Resource Manager) takes input request body and returns output in JSON format. Consequently, Azure PowerShell cmdelts and Azure CLI tend to use similar JSON objects for input, also known as ARM Templates.

For example, using this PowerShell cmdlet:

Get-AzureRmResource -ResourceId /subscriptions/xxxxx/resourceGroups

where xxxxx is your Azure subscription Id, may return output similar to:

Name : prod-mgt
ResourceId : /subscriptions/xxxxx/resourceGroups/prod-mgt
ResourceGroupName : prod-mgt
Location : eastus
SubscriptionId : xxxxx
Properties : @{provisioningState=Succeeded}

Name : TestAuto1
ResourceId : /subscriptions/xxxxx/resourceGroups/TestAuto1
ResourceGroupName : TestAuto1
Location : westeurope
SubscriptionId : xxxxx
Properties : @{provisioningState=Succeeded}

What the PowerShell cmdlet did is to send a GET request to the Azure Management API that looks partially like:


Which returned JSON output similar to:

  "value": [
      "id": "/subscriptions/xxxxx/resourceGroups/prod-mgt",
      "name": "prod-mgt",
      "location": "eastus",
      "properties": {
        "provisioningState": "Succeeded"
      "id": "/subscriptions/xxxxx/resourceGroups/TestAuto1",
      "name": TestAuto1
      "location": "westeurope",
      "properties": {
        "provisioningState": "Succeeded"

In the course of working with Azure ARM templates, such as this template to create a Storage Account:

  "$schema": "https://schema.management.azure.com/schemas/2015-01-01/deploymentTemplate.json#",
  "contentVersion": "",
  "parameters": {
    "storageAccountType": {
      "type": "string",
      "defaultValue": "Standard_LRS",
      "allowedValues": [
     "metadata": {
       "description": "Storage Account type"
  "variables": {
    "storageAccountName": "[concat(uniquestring(resourceGroup().id), 'standardsa')]"
  "resources": [
      "type": "Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts",
      "name": "[variables('storageAccountName')]",
      "apiVersion": "2016-01-01",
      "location": "[resourceGroup().location]",
      "sku": {
        "name": "[parameters('storageAccountType')]"
      "kind": "Storage", 
      "properties": {
  "outputs": {
    "storageAccountName": {
      "type": "string",
      "value": "[variables('storageAccountName')]"

It may not be very clear what are the objects in the template and their hierarchy. Using the ConvertFrom-Json cmdlet of the Microsoft.PowerShell.Utility module produces a PS custom object with display similar to:

Get-Content E:\Scripts\ARMTemplates\Storage1.json | ConvertFrom-Json

$schema : https://schema.management.azure.com/schemas/2015-01-01/deploymentTemplate.json#
contentVersion :
parameters : @{storageAccountType=}
variables : @{storageAccountName=[concat(uniquestring(resourceGroup().id), ‘standardsa’)]}
resources : {@{type=Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts; name=[variables(‘storageAccountName’)]; apiVersion=2016-01-01; location=[resourceGroup().location]; sku=; kind=Storage; properties=}}
outputs : @{storageAccountName=}

This is better but it doesn’t show some of the information in the source JSON file/ARM template. The new Expand-Json cmdlet further expands the ConvertFrom-Json output:

Get-Content E:\Scripts\ARMTemplates\Storage1.json | ConvertFrom-Json | Expand-JSON

To use the AZSBTools PowerShell module which is available in the PowerShell Gallery, you need PowerShell 5. To view your PowerShell version, in an elevated PowerShell ISE window type


To download and install the latest version of AZSBTools from the PowerShell Gallery and its dependencies, type

Install-Module POSH-SSH,SB-Tools,AZSBTools,AzureRM -Force

AZSBTools contains functions that depend on POSH-SSH, SB-Tools, and AzureRM modules, and they’re typically installed together.

To load the POSH-SSH, SB-Tools, AZSBTools, and AzureRM modules type:

Import-Module POSH-SSH,SB-Tools,AZSBTools,AzureRM -DisableNameChecking

To view a list of cmdlets/functions in SB-Tools, type

Get-Command -Module AZSBTools

To view the built-in help of one of the AZSBTools functions/cmdlets, type

help <function/cmdlet name> -show

such as

help New-SBAZServicePrincipal -show


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