Limitations on characters in filenames and entities

When you name files and entities, such as users and clients, be aware of the following limitations.

Character Helix Core Usage Not allowed for the entity you create with




recursive subdirectory wildcard

file matching wildcard

positional substitution wildcard

p4 user, p4 client, p4 depot, p4 label, p4 job, p4 stream


separating pathname components

OK for p4 user, p4 label, and p4 job

p4 client, p4 depot

and not allowed in the name of a file


No special meaning for Perforce.

(Allowed, but be aware that Microsoft Windows uses the backslash as the separator for pathname components.)


prefix to the identifier of a changelist, label, client, or datespec.

p4 user, p4 client, p4 depot, p4 label, p4 job, p4 stream


specifying the revision number

p4 user, p4 client, p4 depot, p4 label, p4 job, p4 stream

1 or 1234

changelist numbers are purely numeric

A purely numberic identifier is NOT allowed for a user, client, depot, label, job, or stream, so consider something like 1a or 1_234

To refer to files containing the Perforce revision specifier wildcards (@ and #), file matching wildcard (*), or positional substitution wildcard (%%) in either the file name or any directory component, use the ASCII expression of the character’s hexadecimal value. ASCII expansion applies only to the following four characters:

Character ASCII expansion









To add a file such as [email protected], force a literal interpretation of special characters by using:

$ p4 add -f //depot/path/[email protected]

When you submit the changelist, the characters are automatically expanded and appear in the change submission form as follows:


After submitting the changelist with the file’s addition, you must use the ASCII expansion in order to sync it to your workspace or edit it within your workspace:

$ p4 sync //depot/path/status%40june.txt
$ p4 edit //depot/path/status%40june.txt

Most special characters tend to be difficult to use in filenames in cross-platform environments: UNIX separates path components with /, while many DOS commands interpret / as a command line switch. Most UNIX shells interpret # as the beginning of a comment. Both DOS and UNIX shells automatically expand * to match multiple files, and the DOS command line uses % to refer to variables.

Similarly, although non-ASCII characters are allowed in filenames and Perforce identifiers, entering these characters from the command line may require platform-specific solutions. Users of GUI-based file managers can manipulate such files with drag-and-drop operations.