Outlook 2011 for Mac "Default User Nam"

As of the time of the writing of this post, there is no other information about this situation anywhere online I can find--and that's exactly why I'm writing this post! So hopefully, going forward, if you search for "Outlook Default User Nam" or "Default User Nam Outlook" or some other similar thing, you end up here. 2012-02-28 UPDATE: I can see that this post has already been indexed by some search engines and is appearing first in the results for the relevant searches. Great!

The problem:

When you create a reply to a message in Outlook 2011 for Mac, in the included message (that is, the part beneath where the message you're composing is, the part that shows the message that was sent to you, the message thread), where it shows your information, it shows your name as "Default User Nam" (or perhaps for you it is showing something different but still wrong; this post will help you too) in a manner such as this:

From: Kendall Adams <kendall@whateverdomainyouuse.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 08:30:00 -0800
To: Default User Nam <josh@whateverdomainyouuse.com>

See that instead of "Josh Adams" it says "Default User Nam" for me? Not cool. So why does this happen--and most importantly, how do you fix it? You'd think it would be as simple as changing the name associated with your email account; it's not. But I figured out what you need to do--read on!

The solution:

If you don't already have On My Computer folders turned on, do the following:
  1. Click the Outlook menu and then choose Preferences...
  2. In the Outlook Preferences dialog box, choose the General item in the Personal Settings section.
  3. In the General dialog box, clear the checkbox next to Hide On My Computer folders (that is, make sure that checkbox is not checked).
  4. Close the dialog box (use the red circle/x in the upper left corner).

Once you can see On My Computer folders, here's what you do to actually fix the problem:

  1. Go to Contacts.
  2. You should see My Contacts in the navigation view (the tree view) and one of the items in that view should be On My Computer; click On My Computer.
  3. In the list of Contacts, you will see the culprit: a contact with the name "Default User Nam" (it might be the only thing listed, particularly if you're using Exchange because in that situation generally the rest of your contacts are kept on the Exchange server, not on your computer).
  4. Now you either simply change the name on that contact to your name or, if like me you already have a contact for yourself set up, you can tell Outlook that the contact for you is in fact you by clicking on your contact then clicking on the Contact menu and then choosing This Contact Is Me. Note that after you do this, you'll want to delete the offending "Default User Nam" contact. Also note that Outlook won't let you choose This Contact Is Me for contacts on an Exchange server; however, you can copy your contact for yourself from the Exchange server to On My Computer: find your contact for yourself and hold down the alt key while you drag & drop it onto On My Computer.

If you have any problems with the instructions above, please let me know via a comment. I want this post to be helpful to people so if you hit a snag with it, please let me know so that I can help you work through it.

sam polsky's Gravatar Thank You! This problem for an associate at our firm was driving me crazy (after IT people tried but failed to fix a wrong name on Outlook for Mac replies)...your solution was right on. Thanks again, Sam
# Posted By sam polsky | 6/27/12 4:15 PM
Tom's Gravatar Thanks for this! Just resolved a case for a guy who was having this very issue, though the name was different (Company Employee). Once I found this, I had the issue resolved in a good one minute. Nicely done!
# Posted By Tom | 7/19/12 7:54 AM
Josh Adams's Gravatar @Sam and @Tom: I'm glad the post was helpful to you! Thanks for taking the time to let me know!
# Posted By Josh Adams | 7/27/12 1:56 PM
Arun's Gravatar This worked perfectly... Thanks.
# Posted By Arun | 11/16/12 5:11 PM
Jeremy's Gravatar Thanks, this had been annoying me forever. You rule!
# Posted By Jeremy | 3/11/13 5:58 PM
Rob's Gravatar Thanks for taking the time to write this post. This problems has been bugging me ever since my laptop was rebuilt.
# Posted By Rob | 4/3/13 5:08 AM
Jason Coltrin's Gravatar Thank you worked as expected!
# Posted By Jason Coltrin | 4/16/13 7:26 PM
Chris's Gravatar Thanks! I took over someone's computer at work and I'd rather him not haunt my email replies for my stay here!
# Posted By Chris | 6/20/13 4:10 PM
Chike E.'s Gravatar Thanks a lot...I really did resolve mails issues; My mail replies and forward came with 'Apple user' attached to my name...and this was rather embarassing for my official mails...but following your steps through...it got resolved. Thanks
# Posted By Chike E. | 7/24/13 8:42 PM
Jim Ferris's Gravatar THANK YOU, very helpful
# Posted By Jim Ferris | 8/29/13 9:55 AM
Shaalan's Gravatar Thank you, Just what i was looking for
# Posted By Shaalan | 8/30/13 3:01 PM
Adam's Gravatar Thanks for that, great help. It had been set up as a different user name but we changed who the Mac was for. We thought we had changed all the details but it was still showing the wrong name in replies. Thanks again!
# Posted By Adam | 9/26/13 5:31 AM
Mary's Gravatar Thank You!! I inherited a computer from someone else at work and could not figure out how to change this. Much appreciated.
# Posted By Mary | 10/8/13 9:23 PM
CR's Gravatar I think this issue is related to your Office Suite properties. I never put my own name on it, and I think I just put "private" in the name fields, and I think that's what's been showing on my emails. I've never seen it, because most emails are sent within the Outlook system, but I just noticed it when I was forwarding something. So I guess all my emails to non-Outlook people have had "private" in the name field! I think this is fixed when I tested a forwarded message.
# Posted By CR | 11/3/13 6:14 PM
Mark D's Gravatar Thanks a bunch! This was a very annoying problem that your post helped resolve. Much appreciated.
# Posted By Mark D | 11/18/13 5:51 AM
Ethan's Gravatar Thank you, this was exactly what I was looking for. In our case, the user's "me" contact had the name "Information Technology." Changing this immediately resolved the issue.
# Posted By Ethan | 2/20/14 12:01 PM
Suzanne's Gravatar This has been driving me nuts! Thank you for making my day!
# Posted By Suzanne | 4/5/14 6:41 AM
Marvyn's Gravatar Thank you so, so much. I've been searching for this answer for weeks and finally found this solution and it works!
# Posted By Marvyn | 4/8/14 11:28 AM
Jeff's Gravatar Still relevant as of May, 2014 - Thank you for the post, you helped me out!
# Posted By Jeff | 4/30/14 12:24 PM
Jenni J.'s Gravatar Thank you so much! I had exactly the same problem with the wrong names, but with your help I made it! :)
# Posted By Jenni J. | 6/17/14 4:54 AM
Ron's Gravatar Worked! I searched for "wrong user in outlook from field mac 2011"
# Posted By Ron | 8/7/14 3:45 PM
Josh Adams's Gravatar Thanks everyone for your comments: although I've been quiet here for a long while, I appreciate them. It's great to see that this post I published over 2.5 years ago is still helping people!

@Arun, @Rob, @Jason, @Chike, @Jim, @Shaalan, @Mark, @Ethan, @Jenni: you're welcome! I'm glad I could help!
@Jeremy: you're welcome! I'm glad I could help--and thanks for the compliment!
@Chris, @Adam, @Mary: I'm glad I could help you get rid of your "ghosts!" ;)
@Suzanne: awe, that's sweet! You've made my day by taking the time to tell me I made yours!
@Marvyn: I'm glad I could help but so sorry that you had to search for weeks before finding my blog post. I'm sure I need some better search terms in the post--and if you'll post some better search terms in a comment, that will certainly help others who find themselves in our shoes down the line.
@Jeff: you're welcome! I'm glad I could help. Thanks for letting me know about the continued relevance of the post!
@Ron: awesome! Thank you for posting the search term you used; hopefully that will help others who run into this issue get to this post in the future.

@CR: thanks for your comment; it's a little hard for me to follow but it sounds like you're saying you were able to fix the issue so that's great news!
# Posted By Josh Adams | 9/15/14 3:29 PM
Graeme Hammond's Gravatar Hi Josh, I bumped into this blog while googling a solution to the same problem. The problem in our house is that emails sent from my wife's business eventually (in the reply-to-reply status) showed my name, which she didn't want. I couldn't find an "On My Computer" list where you described, but I did find my name, with a list of email accounts we have on our computer (including the one for my wife's business). Within that, I found an option to make my name private, which I clicked. That seems to have solved the problem. In the reply-to-a-reply status in subsequent emails, it now seems to show only her email address and not my name. But many thanks.
# Posted By Graeme Hammond | 2/12/15 6:14 PM
MPW's Gravatar Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
# Posted By MPW | 3/31/15 4:04 PM
Jason's Gravatar I've spent two weeks trying to solve this issue for a client. Your solution worked. Thanks so much!
# Posted By Jason | 5/28/15 9:22 PM
Giorgio's Gravatar Thanks from Italy!
# Posted By Giorgio | 6/21/15 5:01 AM
Torontoian's Gravatar Thanks! Such an odd issue, thank you for helping me resolve quickly
# Posted By Torontoian | 7/21/15 11:52 PM
Gratitude's Gravatar Immensely helpful - thanks!
# Posted By Gratitude | 7/26/15 6:54 PM
Onne's Gravatar Thank you - the only nit is that Outlook capitalizes the name - i wonder why - but it is much better than before!!
# Posted By Onne | 9/8/15 9:22 AM
Niki's Gravatar Wow! So dang thankful I found your post. Can't believe you posted it 3 years ago and the problem still persists - well, not for me anymore! Thanks again!
# Posted By Niki | 9/28/15 11:43 AM
Anon's Gravatar Thank you - very helpful. This is happening even with Mac Outlook 2016.
# Posted By Anon | 10/1/15 1:00 PM
Andrew's Gravatar You are an absolute superstar. This was driving me crazy...now, thanks to you, it is fixed!
# Posted By Andrew | 1/24/16 9:51 AM
Jaspreet's Gravatar Thanks so much sir... hats off to you...
# Posted By Jaspreet | 5/23/16 4:28 PM
Christopher's Gravatar Thank you - this information was VERY helpful. Have a great day!
# Posted By Christopher | 3/1/17 1:53 PM
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