Distinguished Names

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

An RDN is an attribute with an associated value in the form attribute=value; normally expressed in a UTF-8 string format. The following table lists typical 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.

CN=Ami ,CN=admin,DC=corp,DC=amitly,DC=COM

The following table lists reserved characters that cannot be used in an attribute value without being escaped.

Note  See the guidance below the table about using the escape character with these reserved characters.
Reserved character Description Hex value
space or # character at the beginning of a string
space character at the end of a string
, comma 0x2C
+ plus sign 0x2B
double quote 0x22
\ backslash 0x5C
< left angle bracket 0x3C
> right angle bracket 0x3E
; semicolon 0x3B
LF line feed 0x0A
CR carriage return 0x0D
= equals sign 0x3D
/ forwards slash 0x2F


If a reserved character is part of an attribute value, it must be escaped by prefixing it with a backslash (\) in the attribute string. If an attribute value contains other reserved characters, such as the equals sign (=) or non-printable characters, it must be encoded in hexadecimal by replacing the character with a backslash followed by two hex digits.

The following are examples of some distinguished names 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.

CN=ami,OU=Docs\, sethu,DC=amitly,DC=COM

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