Defining Distinguished Name Entries

The LDAP API references objects by its distinguished name (DN). A DN is a sequence of relative distinguished names (RDN) separated by commas.

An RDN is an attribute with an associated value in the form attribute=value. The attribute names are not case-sensitive. The following table lists the most common RDN attribute types.

String
Attribute Type
DC
domainComponent
CN
commonName
OU
organizationalUnitName
O
organizationName
STREET
streetAddress
L
localityName
ST
stateOrProvinceName
C
countryName
UID
userid

The following are examples of distinguished names:

DN=CN=John Smith,OU=Accounting,DC=Fabrikam,DC=COM
DN=CN=Tracy White,CN=admin,DC=corp,DC=Fabrikam,DC=COM

The following table lists reserved characters that cannot be used in an attribute value.

Character
Description
 
space or # character at the beginning of a string
 
space character at the end of a string
,
comma
+
plus sign
"
double quote
\
backslash
<
left angle bracket
>
right angle bracket
;
semicolon

To use a reserved character as part of an attribute value, you must precede it with an escape character, a backslash (\). If an attribute value contains other reserved characters, such as the equal sign (=) or non-UTF-8 characters, you must encode it in hexadecimal format—a backslash followed by two hex digits.

The following are examples of DNs that include escaped characters. The first example is an organizational unit name with an embedded comma; the second example is a value containing a carriage return.

DN=CN=Bitwise,OU=Docs\, Support,DC=Fabrikam,DC=COM
DN=CN=Before\0DAfter,OU=Test,DC=North America,DC=Fabrikam,DC=COM

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