Change a user name and email address in Office 365

Last updated 1 August, 2017

You may need to change someone's Office 365 email address and display name if, for example, they get married and their last name changes.

Change a user's email address

You must be an Office 365 admin to do these steps.

  1. Sign in with your Office 365 admin account at https://portal.office.com/adminportal/home.

    Sign in with your Office 365 admin account.

    Sign in to Office 365 operated by 21Vianet

  2. In the Admin center, select Users.

    Click on User.

  3. On the Active Users page, select the user name you want to edit.

  4. Next to the person's User name / Email address, choose Edit.

    Next to the primary email address, choose Edit.

  5. In the Alias box, type a new email for the person, and then choose Add.

    Type a new email address and then choose Add User

  6. Now you'll see two email addresses for the user. Choose the new one and then choose Set primary.

    Type a new email address and then choose Add User

  7. You'll see a big yellow warning that you're about to change the person's email address. Select Save, and then Close.

  8. Tell the user the following info:

    • What their new user ID is. They’ll need it to sign in to Office 365

    • If they are using Skype for Business Online, tell them they will need to reschedule any Skype for Business Online meetings, and they will need to tell their external contacts to update the old contact info.

    • If their password changed too, tell them they will be prompted to enter the new password on their mobile device on or it won't sync.

Change a user's display name

  1. Next to the person's display name, choose Edit.

    Next to the person's display name, choose Edit.

  2. Type a new name for the person and then choose Save.

    Type a new name for the person and choose Save.

The user's previous primary email address is retained as an additional email address. We strongly recommend that you don't remove the old email address.

Some people will likely continue to send email to the person's old email address and deleting it may result in NDR failures. Office 365 will automatically route it to the new one. Also, do not reuse old SMTP email addresses and apply them to new accounts. This can also cause NDR failures or delivery to an unintended mailbox.

It might take up to 24 hours for this change to take effect across all services. After the change has taken effect, the user will have to sign in to Outlook, Skype for Business and SharePoint with their updated user name, so be sure to tell them about this change.

If they are using Exchange Online or if their Office 365 account is linked with your organization's on-premises Exchange environment, you may see this error when you try to change a user name and email address: "This user is synchronized with your local Active Directory. Some details can be edited only through your local Active Directory."

Error when  user details can be changed only in Active Directory

This is due to the Microsoft Online Email Routing Address (MOERA). The MOERA is constructed from the user's userPrincipalName attribute in Active Directory and is automatically assigned to the cloud account during the initial sync and once created, it cannot be modified or removed in Office 365. You can subsequently change the user name in the Active Directory, but it will not change the MOERA and you may run into issues displaying the newly changed name in the Global Address List.

To fix this, log in to the Azure Active Directory Module for PowerShell with your Office 365 administrator credentials. and use the following syntax:

Set-MsolUserPrincipalName -UserPrincipalName anne.wallace@contoso.onmicrosoft.com -NewUserPrincipalName anne.jones@contoso.com

Tip: This changes the user's userPrincipalName attribute and has no bearing on the user's email address. It is best practice, however, to have the user's logon UPN match their primary SMTP address.

To learn how to change a user name in Active Directory, in Windows Server 2003 and earlier, see Rename a user account.

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See Also

Admins: Reset a password for one or more users in Office 365

Add additional email addresses to a user in Office 365

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