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Support / FAQs / Services / Address Capture

Can I generate coordinates at property level?

You can generate 'best guess' property level coordinates. The system will take a house number and a postcode, and predict where within the length of that postcode the property appears. As the data does not contain information on exactly where each house within a postcode lies, the results won’t always represent the exact property location. Geocoding at this level consumes an extra credit.

Do you have a free test postcode I can use?

Yes, if you lookup our postcode WR5 3DA then credit will never be consumed when looking up the addresses in this postcode. However lookups with this postcode still require credits on the account. Please bear in mind this is a real postcode though.

How can I alter the county options in my drop-downs?

Getting the right county for an address can be a surprisingly complex and contentious issue.

Although many businesses still use the county field to identify sales areas, it is no longer required by Royal Mail as part of the address so is no longer supported by them.

The county field problem stems from the late 1970s when there were a series of boundary changes, especially around London. In the mid 1990s the situation became even more complex with the introduction of unitary authorities around the major cities. The government recognises counties on the basis of administrative authority - for example, Derby isn't actually in Derbyshire - at least administratively speaking!

Because Derby is a unitary authority, it is not administratively associated with Derbyshire, although it remains a geographic island within the county. Combine this complexity with the complete abolition of counties like Avon, and you can begin to understand that providing definitive County data is not as easy as it sounds.

For each part of the country, there are actually three types of county listed: Administrative (the strict top level administrative unit), Former Postal (as used by the Royal Mail in the mid 90s but not updated since and including places like Avon) and finally Traditional (as used before all the changes in the 1970s).

With this in mind, we have made significant changes to the county information that is provided by default as part of our service. Previously, we had taken the strict administrative approach, but we were aware that providing "Greater London" or "Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly" wasn't ideal. Therefore, from 26th July 2005, we changed the names that are returned to better reflect the county that is typically used in addressing.

Summary of changes

All unitary authorities will carry the county name of the geographic county they are situated in (e.g. Derby in Derbyshire etc.). London addresses will not carry the county information - for example, Greater London will be removed. This includes addresses with the postal town "London" and surrounding boroughs e.g. Wembley, Harrow etc. "Preserved" county names will be used for Wales. County names will be provided for 99% of mainland localities.


If you have a specific requirement for using the former postal county, traditional county or admin county, these are still available through web services by calling the ListAliases method.

County list

  • Aberdeenshire
  • Angus
  • Argyll and Bute
  • Bedfordshire
  • Berkshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Cheshire
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Clwyd
  • Cornwall
  • Cumbria
  • Derbyshire
  • Devon
  • Dorset
  • Dumfries and Galloway
  • Durham
  • Dyfed
  • East Ayrshire
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • East Lothian
  • East Renfrewshire
  • East Riding of Yorkshire
  • East Sussex
  • Essex
  • Falkirk
  • Fife
  • Gloucestershire
  • Greater Manchester
  • Gwent
  • Gwynedd
  • Hampshire
  • Herefordshire
  • Hertfordshire
  • Highland
  • Inverclyde
  • Isle of Anglesey
  • Isle of Wight
  • Kent
  • Lanarkshire
  • Lancashire
  • Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire
  • Merseyside
  • Mid Glamorgan
  • Midlothian
  • Moray
  • Norfolk
  • North Ayrshire
  • North Lanarkshire
  • North Yorkshire
  • Northamptonshire
  • Northumberland
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Orkney Islands
  • Oxfordshire
  • Perth and Kinross
  • Powys
  • Renfrewshire
  • Scottish Borders
  • Shetland Islands
  • Shropshire
  • Somerset
  • South Ayrshire
  • South Glamorgan
  • South Lanarkshire
  • South Yorkshire
  • Staffordshire
  • Stirlingshire
  • Suffolk
  • Surrey
  • Tyne and Wear
  • Warwickshire
  • West Dunbartonshire
  • West Glamorgan
  • West Lothian
  • West Midlands
  • West Sussex
  • West Yorkshire
  • Wiltshire
  • Worcestershire

How often is the UK address data updated?

The Postcode Address File (PAF) ® data is owned and maintained by Royal Mail. We take and apply daily updates (around 5000 each day), to ensure the information you receive is as accurate as it is possible to be.

The address look-up service isn't returning the house name or number.

Postcode Anywhere offers both premise and street-level address look-ups. Premise-level address look-ups will return everything including the house name or number. The "street level" option will not return the house name or number. If you are not getting a house name or number when doing a lookup it may be the case you are either using a street-level licence or using one of our methods which return street-level data.

What benefits does international addressing provide?

As well as validating overseas addresses, PCA Predict International allows you to choose the language and format for the country in question, e.g. Cyrillic script. This means that any mailings sent to foreign addresses will be in the appropriate format and language, reducing the likelihood of misspellings or causing offence. There are over 120 different address formats globally, and 30 different language scripts, so keeping global address data correct is no small task.

Why do I have an address which is not returned when I do an address look-up?

If you can't find an address, then the most likely reason is that it's new, and hasn't been added yet to the Royal Mail's PAF® dataset. We get updates daily from Royal Mail, so as soon as it is added to their database you should see the address reflected in our service. If your property is not new please contact us and hopefully we'll be able to help. Remember, though, we can't make any actual changes to the data ourselves (because it's owned and maintained by Royal Mail), so if an address is missing or incorrect you should contact Royal Mail direct at