Email Address Policies and the Apostrophe

Exchange Server 2007Exchange Server 2016Exchange email address policies have been used to generate addresses since the early days of Exchange. Email address policies automatically generate addresses for various protocols (SMTP, FAX, CCMAIL, MSMAIL). These general use of address policies is well documented, but there is still some odd behavior of the policies regarding language-specific character handling.

The following list describes the common parameters:

  • %s = Surname (Last Name)
  • %g = Given Name (First Name)
  • %i = Middle Initial
  • %d = Display Name
  • %m = Exchange Alias
  • %rxy = Replace all subsequent characters x with character y
  • %rxx = Remove all subsequent characters x

All language-specific and non-RFC 821/822 compliant characters are either translated or removed.

Source characterTarget character in SMTP address
 Space Hypen
 A – Z | a -z A – Z | a – z
 Ä, Ö, Ü | ä, ö, ü Ae, Oe, Ue | ae, oe, ue
 ß ss
 áàâ | ÁÀ a | A
 éèê | ÉÈÊ e | E
 íìî | ÍÌΠi | I
 óòô | ÓÒÔ o | O
 úùû | ÚÙÛ u | U
 § S
 µ M
 ” ( ) ´ [ ] : . < > , ; Omitted

Example 1

User without any language-specific characters

Given Name: JohnLast Name : DoeAlias     : JohnDoe

Email address policy results  =     = =

Example 2

User with German language-specific characters

Given Name: Michael
Last Name : Müller
Alias     : Michael Mueller

Email address policy results  =     =  =

Example 3

User with Scottish language-specific characters

Given Name: Ian
Last Name : O'Connell
Alias     : IanOConnell

Email address policy results  = Ian.O'     = = IanO'


As you might have noticed, the apostrophe is not handled as a special character but as an RFC-compliant character. The address policy is applied without any issues at all.

But an SMTP address containing an apostrophe leads to email transport errors and must be removed.


Using the following email address policy, you can use the replacement parameter to strip all apostrophes from the surname.

%g.%r'' =

This example will only remove apostrophes from the surname (%s) as the replacement parameter is placed before the surname parameter.


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