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Microsoft adds online character support for SharePoint Online

Vikram Pendse May 24, 2017

Microsoft Sharepoint Online Online character support

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Microsoft brings in support for two characters (# and % symbols) in its files and folder names for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for businesses this year. This change is being introduced by Microsoft to express the "true developer intention of a URL". In addition, this change is introduced to enable users to create, edit, save and sync the files named with # and % symbols.

About the characters

For developers, the # character denotes the end of string whereas the % character symbolizes the space between the URL. While these characters can be difficult to use, Microsoft has already informed about the character activation to the developers. With the introduction of these characters, developers will have to use a fresh new API for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for business. This is because, the current API is not compatible with the characters and will no longer be supported by Microsoft.

How this change will affect organizations?

This change will not affect the SharePoint server deployments at customer sites, instead it will affect the online services. Microsoft team stated that the character support will be out in coming weeks. Furthermore, they said that for the existing Office 365 tenants, the characters will not be activated automatically until later this year. But, these characters will be activated automatically, if the Office 365 tenants don’t block them.

In other words, all of the Office 365 tenants that have not subscribed for # and % characters by end of 2017, will have # and % support enabled by default.

What option organizations have?

To shun the automatic activation, organizations can opt-out from this. They will have to invoke few SharePoint Online PowerShell commands within a desired timeline. This will automatically stop the activation.

Only the SharePoint Online administrator can invoke the PowerShell commands by installing SharePoint Online Management Shell module.

Here are few other things organizations need to know

While activating these commands, organizations must have to ensure whether the third-party tools support the new API

Organizations can use some PowerShell commands to incorporate the character support before it is actually introduced to the market

The new character support is only applicable to the files and folders in document libraries and not the Web and Site objects

Another important thing to note here is, users will not be able to use these characters to create files and folders. Though, SharePoint lists and libraries can have # and % in their URL, for now there are no plans of Microsoft to incorporate them in the SharePoint user interface.

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