One of the limitations of SharePoint Online and One Drive for Business is the special characters that are not allowed in file names and folders you upload to the Server. For a more detailed explanation of this see this link (Microsoft Help on File Name & Folder Restrictions).
This can be a daunting challenge since the limitations include characters like # and % which are very commonly found in many file names and & which many people use in file names and folders. Fortunately there are a set of tools that are very inexpensive to allow you to do mass changes to cover these scenarios. The tool we used is called File Renamer Deluxe by Sherrod Computers. There is a Free basic version, but like most Free basic versions the usefulness of the tool is very limited and to do what you need to do easily you really need the deluxe version which costs about $30. The Deluxe version will allow you to scan folders and subfolders through a familiar file explorer type interface and find file names that contain those special characters.
You can then use the program to do a global find and replace on those characters so that all the offending characters are replaced with non restrictive ones or in our case we just chose to replace with a space. The program even has a nice preview feature which will allow you to see the new file name after the change before actually making the change which for the really careful people is a nice feature.
Of course this tool is not just useful for getting rid of special characters. The tool can also be used to modify files names that people either made too long or when they used words you want to change or remove.
Having gone through the process of loading tens of thousands of files onto SharePoint Online / One Drive for Business I can strongly recommend taking this first step of cleaning up your names of files and removal of invalid characters as a huge time savor and high value added activity in the preparation of your migration plans.
To learn more about FinServ Consulting’s Office 365 and Microsoft related services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (646) 603-3799.
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FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.