People are sometimes not satisfied with their email address or the display name in their email address. They want to change them. However, there are certain restrictions when it comes to changing the name or email address. In this article, I have explained the basic facts as to what is name, username, display name and email address with regard to your email account. Later in the article, I have described the procedure for changing them (wherever allowed) for Gmail, Hotmail (or Windows Live or Outlook.com email) and Yahoo Mail.
Firstly, let’s understand different terms used in connection with an email account. For example, let’s presume that your name is “John Doe” and that your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org (please note that this name has been chosen only as a fictitious name and any similarity with a real person is only an unintended coincidence). When you send an email from this account, the sender’s details in the “From” field of the email will be shown as “John Doe <email@example.com>”.
With reference to this, we can now try to understand different terms used herein:
- firstname.lastname@example.org is the “email address”.
- John Doe is the “display name” (as well as the “name” if you wish to call it like that).
- john.doe is the “username” for the email address email@example.com.
Having understood these terms, let’s now try to find out what can be changed and what cannot be changed. We’ll using these terms (as we defined them hereinabove) in the following discussion.
Can I change my “email address”?
The simple answer is “No”. You cannot change your “email address” (such as firstname.lastname@example.org). Please remember that the email service provider, such as Hotmail, identifies you by your email address, and thus it has to be unique for you. It cannot be changed. Of course, if you so wish, you can obtain a new email address from the same email service provider and thereafter, transfer your existing contacts, etc., to the new email address, and then delete the old email address if you so wish. However, it is not possible to change your email address.
[Note: I may point out that Gmail allows you to put as many dots as you like in your “username” and yet your email address remains the same. For example, if your email address is email@example.com, then you can also write it as firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, and the like. These email addresses may look to be different, but in fact they point to the same email address, since Gmail ignores dots in your “username”. Other than putting additional dots or removing one or more dots in your “username”, even Gmail does not allow you to change the “email address”. For more details on this, please see my previous article: Have many Gmail addresses from one Gmail account]
Can I change my “username” in my email address?
The answer is again similar to the one for changing email address. Thus, you cannot change your “username” in your email address. The reason is very simple: the only part in the email address that identifies you uniquely is the “username” since the remaining part is the same for everybody for a given email service provider. For example, in the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, only the “username” part, namely, john.doe is unique to you that identifies you, while the remaining part of the email, namely, @hotmail.com is the same for all email addresses at Hotmail.
Therefore, it is not possible to change the “username” in your email address, though as mentioned earlier, you always have the option to create a new email address with a different username.
[Note: Here again, I must clarify that Gmail allows you to put as many dots as you wish in your username. For example, if your email address is email@example.com, then your username john.doe can also be written such as johndoe, or jo.hn.doe, or j.o.h.n.d.o.e, or joh.nd.oe, and the like. As explained earlier, these usernames may look to be different, but in fact they point to the same username, since Gmail ignores dots in your “username”.]
Can I change my “display name” for my email address?
Finally, there is good news. You can do it. The answer is “Yes”. You can change your “display name” (or simply the “name”) displayed along with your email address.
As mentioned above, when you send an email, the sender’s details in the “From” field of the email are shown something like this: “John Doe <firstname.lastname@example.org>”. Here, John Doe is the “display name” or simply the “name”. You can easily change it to anything, for example John D. or something else.
The method for changing “display name” for your email address is described for Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, separately, as under.
How can I change my “display name” for Gmail?
To change the display name for Gmail, proceed as under:
(1) Login to your Gmail account. Click the Settings icon (of the shape of gear) in the top-right corner of the window, then select Settings from the drop-down menu.
(2) On the Settings page that appears, click the Accounts and Import tab.
(3) Locate the “Send mail as:” section. Click “edit info” next to the email address for which you want to change the display name.
(4) In the new window that appears, in the “Name” section, type what you want to display as your “display name”, and then click “Save changes” button.
Your display name for Gmail account will now be changed accordingly.
How can I change my “display name” for Hotmail?
Follow these steps:
(1) Login to your Hotmail account. Hover the mouse over your name displayed in the top-right corner of the window (or click on your name). Select Options from the drop-down menu that appears.
(2) On the next page, your “Account Summary” is displayed. Click “Edit name” just below your name displayed on this page.
(3) On the next page called “Edit name”, change your First name and Last name appropriately in the manner you want your display name to be shown.
(4) Click Save button to save your changes. Log off from the Hotmail account and login again so that the changes could take effect.
Your displayed name will now be changed in your Hotmail account.
How can I change my “display name” for Yahoo Mail?
This procedure is for the latest version of Yahoo Mail as of the date of this writing:
(1) Login to your Yahoo! mail account. Click “Mail Options” from drop-down menu from the Settings icon in the top-right corner of the window.
(2) From the left side bar, select “Mail Accounts”.
(3) Under the “Sending Mail” section, in the field “Sending name”, type the display name as you would like it to appear.
(4) Click Save button in the top bar of the window.
This process will change the display name for your Yahoo! mail account.