Outlook 2011 for Mac Email Reply Name Is Wrong + Changing Registration Name for Office 2011 for Mac

I recently wrote a blog post about Outlook 2011 for Mac showing my name as "Default User Nam" in replies. I had no idea why Outlook 2011 for Mac was using "Default User Nam" so I presumed that, in keeping with the name itself, it was a program default. But then I noticed something: when any of the Office 2011 for Mac apps loaded on my machine, they showed that "Default User Nam" in the load banner. Maybe that's what you get if you install Office 2011 for Mac and don't put something else in--but maybe it's just what ended up in there specifically in my case when Adobe IT did this install. But in any case, it makes one thing pretty clear: in my case, the name that shows on the load banner for Office 2011 for Mac programs (you might also refer to this as the name used to register Office 2011 for Mac) is the name that was used to create the initial contact for "me" in Outlook 2011 for Mac. So, for what it's worth, that's certainly how the issue I described in my referenced blog post above (the issue of Outlook 2011 for Mac showing "Default User Nam" for me when writing an email reply) came about.

Now, if you want to change the name to which Office 2011 for Mac is actually registered, check out this forum thread. This will change what appears in those Office 2011 for Mac load banners. However, I strongly suspect that this won't fix the issue with Outlook 2011 for Mac using the incorrect name for you when you write a reply--but the good news is that the instructions in my blog post linked above will help you fix that issue. And note that while in my case there is strong evidence that the two issues were related, they don't have to be. So you might have your name properly entered for Office 2011 for Mac such that it shows up correctly in the load banners and yet you still might be getting the right name showing up for yourself in reply emails--well, that's okay: my blog post linked above will still help you solve that issue. It doesn't matter if you're getting "Default User Nam" as the wrong name for yourself when replying to email or if you're getting some other random wrong name or even if you're getting the name of one of your real contacts: it's all ultimately the same situation and going through the instructions on my blog post linked above will help you.

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.

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