Quick Fix : Office 2011 Outlook for Mac – Wrong name shown in Sent Items..

I had a customer email me to show me a very weird issue.

When a user of a mac replied to one of there messages, the email came through showing the display name as a previous user of that mac.

ie. Homer Simpson

(as you can see in the example to the right, even emails received by the user showed the wrong name)

Of course Mr Burns wanted this corrected.

The issue did not occur in Outlook for PC or using OWA / iPhone ActiveSync.

It was definatley an issue caused by the Mac.

I checked everywhere i could to find a setting – but couldnt find one within Outlook.

The only thing i could find referencing Homer Simpson was the reigstration info of Office.

So we followed this article – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2394111

Unfortunatley this did not help, and actually left Excel a little unstable but that was easily fixed with a few restarts.

We then resolved to research the issue for a few days and come back to it.

A second conversation started up when i questioned if the same thing happend on a secondary account that Mr Burns had setup in Outlook.

It did.

Again i hit google, this time i turned up this page..


The very bottom comment solves the problem.

So thank you very much PSnell – i once again have a happy mac user. (And we all want to keep Mr Burns happy right?)

EDIT – 14/07/2011

It seems that after posting this, erm, post, that the office mac site has gone down. I don’t know if that is permanent or just a glitch, but having just posted a link to the solution was obvioulsy not my smartest move. Thanks to Adrian for pointing this out to me, i found the post in google’s cache, so i did a quick screen shot of the solution entry.

About Robert Pearman
Robert Pearman is a UK based Small Business Server enthusiast. He has been working within the SMB IT Industry for what feels like forever. Robert likes Piña colada and taking walks in the rain, on occasion he also enjoys writing about Small Business Technology like Windows Server Essentials or more recently writing PowerShell Scripts. If you're in trouble, and you can find him, maybe you can ask him a question.

46 Responses to Quick Fix : Office 2011 Outlook for Mac – Wrong name shown in Sent Items..

  1. Adrian says:

    Hi. We are also having the same problem. However this link is dead. Can you post the solution here. Thanks!

    • Hi there Adrian,

      The issue was that a local contact existed in the mac address book (not outlook) and this had both the old users name, and the new name associated. When we removed the old name this resolved the issue. Sorry the link is dead ill see what i can do about that.

  2. Tony Huang says:

    You mean i just change the name on the macbook user account will resolve this problem?

    • No i think you are misunderstanding.

      You need to search your MAC for a contact, not within Outlook, on the MAC itself. The contact will have both the current email address and any older email addresses used.

      You need to follow the advice above to remove one of the addresses from that contact item.

      Hope that helps,

      • Shaleen Vashisht says:

        Using Spotlight i searched for the wrong contact, and deleted it.. Thanks for the help

  3. Jamski says:

    It’s easier than all this if you’ve got the whole Office suite. Close Outlook and open Word. Click the Word menu and select Preferences, then click the User Information button under Personal Settings. Pretty much the same way we used to have to do it in the PC versions of Office. And just as inane.

  4. Thank you for this. All my business emails were some silly name that I used for when I registered the software!

  5. ZAnthony says:

    Any Ideas what is causing this to happen, and how we can prevent it?
    Correcting the entries in the local address book has worked for us, but the issue is re-occurring for the same user!

    • Hi Zack,

      I don’t know to be honest, the solution seems to work, what is causing it.. I would imagine user behaviour. It would be interesting to see what happens after the resolution is applied and what happens before it reoccurs.

  6. grayprice says:

    Thanks! This has been bugging me for ages!

  7. Dan says:

    Thanks! I had fixed once and upon restart the problem had come back. Lets hope this fixes once and for all!

  8. ileanit4 says:

    Hi all!
    I’m still having this problem after trying the above.
    An email sent to/from someone else (different email address from mine) is showing up as having been sent to/from me so if I sent them an email you see my name in both the To and From fields – as if I had sent it to myself. When I hover over my name in the To field it shows the other person’s email address but still my name and if I open that person’s contact it shows their name properly. I’ve deleted all contacts on my Mac Address Book as well as Outlook where that person’s email address shows up and restarted my Mac but the issue is still there.
    Also – at one point I had added this person’s Outlook calendar to my view under delegated administration but I cleared all that out and I have no delegates anymore – issue persists.
    I don’t know what else to try :(
    Thanks for all your help!

    • Jason says:

      Try opening a new email in Outlook 2011. Type the name that shows wrong. Right-click and select “Open Outlook contact…” There will likely be multiple email addresses for one name. The problem should be there. A little easier than using Spotlight to do basically the same thing.

  9. Heather Bell says:

    Like! Like! Like! Like!! This worked for me!

  10. Seymour says:

    Thank you good sir!
    Been looking for a solution to this for a couple of days.

  11. matchstic says:

    Thank you!!!!

  12. itwizard says:

    Thank You. I looked like an IT wizard in front of my boss!

  13. extde says:

    Here is workaround, which worked for me:

    1. Open Microsoft Word.
    2. Open Preferences by clicking Word > Preferences (you must have a document open to see preferences)
    3. Click User Information under Personal Settings
    4. Change the First and Last name to your first and last name.
    5. Click OK and close Word
    6. Close and re-open Outlook before sending a test email.
    7. Done!

  14. Brandon says:

    Hi everyone,

    Super thanks to OP Robert for the find and the quick-fix, this was so helpful!

    Something I discovered as part of this was that Outlook 2011 for Mac appeared to be using the Account Description field (as opposed to Full Name field) in my Account settings to set up and edit my signatures. So for example, if you had multiple users that had put “Work Email” under their Account Description field, when they would go to edit and assign a Signature, their own identity was not showing up under “Default Signatures” and instead they would see a “Work Email” name.

    I can’t say what will work in anyone else’s environment, but so far in ours having users put their first and last name in both the “Account Description” and “Full Name” fields (under TOOLS | Accounts) has been successful in keeping this problem from re-occurring. Before this change I could “cause” the incorrect email assignments to happen to my own Contact information by just trying to add a default Signature.

    Hope this helps someone, cheers!


  15. Jessie says:

    THANK YOU! This issue has been driving us crazy in the office and this worked perfectly!

  16. J.P. Babiera says:

    Dangit, as promising of a solution this looked, it hasn’t dealt with the issue.

    In my case, its a distribution list which name isn’t showing correctly. It does not only show up on a single Mac Outlook 2011 client, but on all Mac clients. I’ve verified in Exchange that the display name is correct. I’ve forced the update on the GAL. I’ve verified it also in Active Directory. Verified that the name is correct and showing up on Windows Outlook clients (not using cached mode).

    I’ve also tried:
    * On the Mac client’s tried I’ve adding the Directory Service Account, although it may not be necessary (http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/onlineservicesexchange/thread/8a9c2e3f-7e7a-4c90-bb7f-662bae3f2495/).

    * Renaming the registered account name in Office (Open Word->New Document->Preferences->User Information. Change First & Last Name). This may be related to other posts saying that your User account “Me” is what is storing the information, so changing this forces the update.

    * Some have said to delete the ~/Library/Caches/Outlook/(identity name)/# folder, but for some reason, this folder does not exist on the my test Mac (10.7.5) (http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/exchange2010/thread/cf6b7fa2-be0b-49a5-9da6-978f8218cea7/)

    * Tried searching for the mis-named contact on Spotlight, but it was not showing up either.

    What eventually worked, was deleting the Users/usr_acct/Documents/Microsoft user Data/Office 2011 identities/Main Identity/ folder. Deleted the account, restarted the computer, launched OL2011, recreate the Exchange account, and tada… updated. (http://www.experts-exchange.com/Apple/Software/Q_26729496.html)

    It may have been one of those or a combination of all the stuff I tried above, but now to do this on an business/enterprise level would be quite a trick :-/

  17. Scotty says:

    Powerful. To be sure.

  18. Bobby Likis says:

    Help…I have had ongoing issues with my Outlook for Mac. The current one is my “search contacts” does not link. My e-mail addresses work just fine, but there’s no names in any searches?

  19. Mazueli says:

    Mazueli says: tks a lot for the tip. It worked!!!! I no longer confuse anybody with 2 different names.

  20. Andy says:

    Hi Robert, soooo simple yet this has been bugging me for months! Baffled as to why I had a contact (me) with many different email addresses (my colleagues) but this was the issue; I wonder if it’s something to do with calendar sharing, that would be the common denominator. Anyway many thanks!

  21. WOW! Thank you for posting this. Would never have found that needle.

  22. K says:

    Been having this problem for three years. I’m a female with a male’s name attached to my email contact. Asked everyone I know to figure it out. Thanks to you, I fixed it myself. I really appreciate your help!

  23. UmSat says:

    I have a bit of a problem with my mac outlook 2011. In the sent items folder, it shows the name of the person I sent the email to as well as all of the cc’ed recipients as well. I need it to only show the name of the person in “to” field to make it easier for me to search through my sent emails. Would anyone be able to help me out with this?

  24. Aaron says:

    Legend! Thanks mate.

  25. E says:

    Thank you! This solved something that has been bothering me for AGES.

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