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DoIT - O365 - How to Change Your Preferred Name

Employee legal names by default display in uppercase and use full first names and middle names. Employees can update their preferred name to display in proper case, use nicknames instead of full first names, and not display their middle name.


  • Every employee  in Extension has a legal name that is set in their Human Resources System (HRS) record.
  • Legal names by default display in all-uppercase when an employee record is created.
  • Legal names by default display full first name and middle name or initial.
E.g. Your UW-Madison O365 account profile will display the default legal name when it is activated: 
Example of default legal name when your O365 account is activated
If an employee would like to:
  • Change the format of the O365 account profile name to be proper case vs ALL CAPS (e.g. "Nathaniel Shay" vs "NATHANIEL SHAY")
  • Use a nickname instead of a legal name (e.g. "Nate" vs. "Nathaniel").
  • Not have a middle name display at all (e.g. "Nathaniel Shay" vs. "Nathaniel J Shay").
Then make these changes by changing their preferred name in the Preferred Name app in MyUW

How to Change Your Preferred Name

My UW - Preferred Name Application

Campus systems of record at UW-Madison (such as the Student Information System (SIS) and the Human Resources System (HRS)) display your primary/legal name in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. You can update your Name in Use to have your name displayed in your preferred capitalization. 

Jump to:

Access the Name in Use (Preferred Name) App

The MyUW Name in Use widget links to the new UW-Madison Profile application (
In Profile, you can see your campus Personal Information and Contact Information.

Image of a square tile with title Name in Use (Preferred Name) with the icon off of a person and bar at the bottom that says "Launch full app"

UW-Madison Profile is designed to display information to individuals with a valid NetID that have an active role at UW-Madison. At this time, users without an active role at UW-Madison (e.g., applicants, former employees) are not eligible to use Profile. Please contact Admissions, Human Resources, or whichever campus unit you are affiliated with to update your personal information.

If you believe you have an active role at UW-Madison (e.g. current student, employee, or affiliate) but you cannot access Profile, please contact the DoIT Help Desk: Get Help from DoIT.

Update Name in Use

  1. Navigate to the Personal Information tab.
  2. Under Name in Use, you will see your default legal name or current name in use. Click Edit to create or edit an existing name in use. 

    Name In Use field showing BUCKINGHAM U BADGER

    You can change or delete your first and middle names. You can only edit capitalization, spacing, apostrophes, periods, and hyphens in your last name.
    For more information and instructions on how to change your last name in use, see Last Name Policy.

  3. When you've updated the field, click Submit. Or, to remove your Name in Use and revert back to your default legal name, click Delete

     Updating Name In Use from BUCKINGHAM to Bucky

    After clicking Save, a "change pending" message will appear on the screen until the change or deletion has been completed. Changes may take up to 48 hours to be reflected in campus systems. 

Error Messages

You may only change capitalization, spacing, apostrophes, periods, and hyphens in your last name in use.

You will receive an error message if you attempt other changes to your last name in use. See the Last Name Policy for more information and instructions on how to change your last name in use.

Currently, the Name in Use application can only accept A-Z, a-z, spaces, single quotes, periods, and hyphens. If you attempt to enter your name in use with characters other than these, you will receive an error message. Some campus applications and reports that use your name in use are unable to handle other types of characters and will cause errors. While there is no workaround at this time, the MyUW team is actively working with our campus partners to allow you to enter your name exactly the way you want to be identified. 

When will I see my new Name in Use?

It may take up to 2 hours for your changes to appear in MyUW. Changes to other campus applications may take up to 48 hours, including the UW Directory and Office 365 email accounts.

If you have changed your legal name or name in use, you can automatically obtain a new email in the Wisc Account Administration site after your new name is reflected in UW records.

Policy and Restrictions of Name in Use

Last Name Policy

Your first and middle names in use can be different from your legal name. However, when updating your last name in use, only changes to capitalization, spacing, apostrophes or hyphens are allowed. Any other changes will result in an error message being displayed.

You must first change your legal last name in order to change your last Name in Use on campus. 

  1. Legal last name changes should first be completed through the Social Security Administration.
    1. Employees should then contact Human Resources.
    2. Students can then change their legal last name in Student Center.
  2. After changing your legal name, you may also request to change your NetID.
  3. Once your legal last name has changed and appears in the Name in Use app, you can proceed to edit your last name in use.

If you follow these steps and experience a problem, please contact the DoIT Help Desk: Get Help from DoIT.

Note: Your name in use does not automatically update after a legal name change. Visit UW-Madison Profile to edit your name in use after a legal name change. The last name will need to match your new legal last name


Your primary/legal name may still appear alongside your name in use in some places, such as transcripts or diplomas. If you have any concerns about your primary/legal name appearing, or if you would like to hide your legal name from the campus directory, please contact

Any name in use that would be generally considered to be an attempt at misrepresentation, fraud, or interpreted as offensive will be removed. Fraud and misrepresentation may also violate UW System Student Non-Academic Disciplinary Procedures. 

For more details regarding student Name in Use on campus, please visit the Name in Use FAQ or contact the Office of the Registrar.


Employees can update their personal information using HRS Self Service.  Faculty and staff who professionally use a different last name than their legal name (e.g. after taking a partner's last name) may continue to do so as an exception to this policy. Please contact the DoIT Help Desk or see Name in Use - Faculty Exceptions to the Last Name Policy



Students can update their first and middle names in Profile.
Their legal name will still be displayed in some places unless they
legally change their name and update their record, per campus policy.

Name in Use and Legal name are different


Employees can update their first and middle names in Profile.
They can also request to change their last name if they do not
professionally use a new legal last name (e.g., after marriage, etc.).

Name in Use has a hyphenated last name for professional use while the legal last name is unhyphenated

How to Get Help

  • For more information on the preferred name application, please visit 
  • For more information on the use of preferred name, please visit the Preferred Name FAQ.
  • For any issues using the preferred name application, please contact the DoIT Help Desk.

KeywordsName Change Legal Preferred HRS Self Service Portal First PREF_FIRST_NAME HRS EPM   Doc ID95224
OwnerNathaniel S.GroupExtension Handbook
Created2019-10-23 17:26:23Updated2023-03-06 11:59:18
SitesExtension Handbook
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