How to customize the SMTP e-mail address generators through recipient policies

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In Microsoft Exchange System Manager, a recipient policy determines how a user's e-mail addresses are generated.

By using the information in this article to modify any recipient policy, you can define specific settings that allow you to meet the naming conventions required for your organization.


By default, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server have only one recipient policy, named Default Policy. The default Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) e-mail addresses generated by this policy are in the following form: The user_name field is generated based on the Exchange alias property of the user. The is based on your Active Directory domain name.

To modify any recipient policy:
  1. Start Exchange System Manager.
  2. Click Organization, click Recipients, and then click Recipient Policies.
  3. Double-click the policy that you want to change. If you are going to generate your SMTP address by using the replacement strings listed below, do not modify your Default Policy. You may encounter problems if the Default Policy is based upon attributes such as Given Name or Surname.For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    271339 XADM: Cannot Mount Database and Event ID 9546 Occurs
  4. Click the E-Mail Addresses tab, and then edit the appropriate SMTP Generation rule by using the following switches.

    The default format is:
    The following replacement strings are available:
    %s = surname (last name)
    %g = given name (first name)
    %i = middle initial
    %d = display name
    %m = Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2000 Alias
    %rxy = Replace all subsequent characters x with character y in username. If x = y, then the character will be deleted.
    You can place a number in front of any of the preceding switches to define how many characters of the switch should be used, for example:
    %1s = Uses the first letter of the surname
    %5g = Uses the first five letters of the given name
    NOTE: Invalid characters (in accordance with Request for Comments [RFC] 821/822) are removed from the user's name.
    More Information on the %r Replacement String
    If a %r is used for the purpose of substituting a valid character for an invalid character, the entire %r string is ignored. Additionally, %r should be used immediately before replacement string where you want to replace characters.

    Therefore, in cases in which you want to replace character "x" with character "y" in the last name (represented with %s) an SMTP e-mail address is generated as follows:
    The proper use of %r replacement string is:
    Putting %rxy in front of the whole e-mail will not work properly in the above case and will not replace character "x" with "y" in the last name.

    NOTE: When using the %rxy string, x can equal blank space. This string can be used to merge spaces in the name with a valid character.

    NOTE: You cannot use the %rxy string as %r to remove manually typed periods from the Initials field in Active Directory Users and Computers. We recommend that the manually typed period be removed from the Initials field in Active Directory as this also affects other attributes.

Examples for User Logon Name = "hbarrett"

Display name = "Holly E. Barrett"
Surname = "Barrett"
Given name = "Holly"
Format string          SMTP address generated for sample user
-------------          --------------------------------------
282314 Site addressing generates incorrect SMTP address for "%g.%s.%m"


Article ID: 285136 - Last Review: October 25, 2007 - Revision: 2.4
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Standard Edition
kbhowto KB285136

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