Microsoft's SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business applications will be able to support two additional characters in file and folder names, Microsoft said.
For developers, the # character indicates the end of a string, while the % character indicates a space in a URL. Microsoft had warned developers about this change because it will eventually require them to use a new API. The aim of the change was to better express "the true developer intention of a URL," Microsoft explained.
The change won't affect SharePoint Server deployments at customer sites as it just affects the online services. The character additions will be rolling out in stages according to a blog post by Bill Baer, a SharePoint senior product marketing manager.
For existing Office 365 tenancies, the characters will not be enabled by default until the second half of this year ("H2 2017"). Existing Office 365 tenancies will get them turned on by default at that time, according to Baer's post. Here's how Baer expressed that point: "All existing Office 365 Tenants that have not opted into # and % support by H2 2017 will have # and % support enabled by default."
For new Office 365 tenancies, the # and % characters will be turned on by default if the tenancy was provisioned in June 2017 or thereafter.
The PowerShell commands, as described in Baer's post, have to be invoked by a SharePoint Online global administrator. In addition, the SharePoint Online Management Shell module needs to be installed.
Baer also cautioned that organizations should check to ensure that third-party software solutions are supporting "the new APIs necessary to support this change."
For those organizations wanting to get the character support earlier than Microsoft's rollout schedule, contact Betach Solutions to assist.
The new # and % character support doesn't apply to Web objects and Site objects. It just applies to files and folders in document libraries, Baer clarified.
It seems that end users can't create file or folder names with these characters. Baer stated in the blog post that "while SharePoint lists and libraries can have # and % in their URLs, there are no plans to enable their use through the SharePoint user interface at this time."