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MyUW Madison - Update Name in Use (Preferred Name)

MyUW provides a central location for anyone with a UW-Madison NetID to update the name they want to display across most campus applications and systems.

Campus systems of record at UW-Madison, including the Student Information System (SIS) and the Human Resources System (HRS) display your primary/legal name in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Unless you set your Name in Use with the capitalization you want, your name will continue to display as your primary/legal name in campus applications in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.


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Access the Name in Use (Preferred Name) App

Anyone with a UW-Madison NetID can access the Name in Use app directly.

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"

Update Name in Use

  1. Click Change to create or edit an existing name in use. Alternatively, click Delete to remove an existing name in use. 

     Image of the Name in Use (Preferred Name) App displaying primary/legal name: Buckingham U. Badger with Name in Use: Bucky Badger and Change or Delete options.

  2. Enter your first, middle and/or last name in use into the corresponding text fields. Click Save

     Image of MyUW Name in Use App after clicking Edit displaying Buckingham U. Badger changing name in use to Bucky Badger.

    After clicking Save, a "change pending" message will appear on the screen until the change or deletion has been completed. 

Error Messages

You may only change capitalization, spacing, apostrophes, 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.

If you attempt to enter your name in use with characters other than a-z, you will receive an error message. At present, the Name in Use application can only accept a-z characters. Non-a-z characters result in errors to some downstream applications and reports that will consume your name in use. There is no workaround at this time, but MyUW is actively working with our campus partners to enable entry of your name as 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 (formerly preferred name), 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.
  4. If you follow these steps and experience a problem, please see MyUW Madison - Bug - Updating Name in Use After Legal Name Change for additional guidance. 


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 or 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

See Also:

Keywords:name in use preferred all caps all capital letters display module specauth special authorization update change set edit delete legal primary remove policy policies rule rules spouse different last first middle names capitals all caps capitalized pending nickname nick   Doc ID:56644
Owner:Amanda M.Group:My UW-Madison Portal
Created:2015-09-22 15:37 CSTUpdated:2023-01-17 22:21 CST
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, My UW-Madison Portal, Office of the Registrar
Feedback:  21   9