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Allowed Characters in PAF

List of Characters Found in the Postcode Address File

Updated 2 Jul 2021

PAF uses standard ASCII characters. This guide outlines which characters are used. In particular, which special characters may be used under certain conditions.

Characters

Character Description Allowed in these PAF Fields
A-Z Alpha characters –Upper & Lower Case ALL - Allowed as part of a text string or as single characters.
& Ampersand ALL - Allowed in any position in the Organisation, Department and DP Alias Fields. But restricted to certain positions in Sub Building & Building Name fields to replace the word ‘AND’.
' Apostrophe ALL - Can only be used between alpha characters to define names such as O’Neill or plurals such as James’s.
* Asterisk ORGANISATION, DEPARTMENT, DP ALIAS FIELDS ONLY – not allowed at the end of entries as this may cause problems with wildcard searches of data.
( ) Brackets ALL - Must always be a pair and must be preceded / followed by a space.
, Comma NONE – can be misread in data extract and CSV files and so is not allowed.
. Full Stop ALL – The use of the full stop is restricted in Sub Building, Building Name and DP Alias fields. Can only be used to abbreviate Saint to St. and should always by followed by a space. It can also have limited use in the Organisation field.
# Hash ORGANISATION FIELD ONLY.
- Hyphen ALL – The use of the hyphen is restricted in Sub Building & Building Name fields. Also must be part of a building number range or a double barrelled name and must not be preceded followed by spaces.
0-9 Numerics ALL - Allowed as part of a text string or as single characters. Although a single zero is allowed in either the Building Name OR Sub Building Name fields, it is not allowed in both simultaneously.
' ' Quotation marks - single NONE – can be misread in data extract and CSV files and so is not allowed (except for apostrophe entries).
" " Quotation marks - double NONE – can be misread in data extract and CSV files and so is not allowed.
All Other standard ASCII Characters ORGANISATION, DP ALIAS FIELDS ONLY - All other characters are allowed to form a company name in the Organisation Name field or the DP Alias field only.