MyUW Madison - Update Preferred Name

The Preferred Name app provides a central location for anyone with a UW-Madison NetID to update their preferred name as it will display across most campus systems.

Please note that there are some restrictions on Preferred Name changes and display.

Access the Preferred Name App

Anyone with a UW-Madison NetID can access the Preferred Name app. It can also be searched for and bookmarked on MyUW at

Preferred Name app in MyUW

Update Preferred Name

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

    Preferred Name app displays Legal Name and Preferred Name with buttons to "Change" or "Delete" the Preferred Name.

  2. Enter your preferred first, middle and last name into the corresponding text fields. Click Save.

    After clicking "Change", Preferred First, Middle, and Last Name fields appear with the options to "Save" or "Cancel" changes.

    After clicking Save, a "change pending" message will appear on the screen until the change or deletion has been completed.
    Please note that it may take up to 2 hours for your changes to appear in MyUW and up to 48 hours for your changes to appear in the campus directory.

    Any active email addresses based on your name will automatically update. You can verify these changes in Wisc Account Administration.

Update Preferred Name in HRS

To update the name that will display in HRS (including Timesheet), employees can update their Personal Information using HRS Self Service. This name will only display within HRS.  

Preferred Name Policy and Restrictions

Last Name Policy

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

In order to change your last name as it appears on campus, you must change your legal last name through the Social Security Administration and Human Resources. After changing your legal name, you may also request to change your NetID. Once your legal last name has changed, remove your current Preferred Name and the Preferred last name will update. For more details on this bug, please see MyUW Madison - Bug - Updating Preferred Name After Legal Name Change 

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 Preferred Name - Faculty Exceptions to the Last Name Policy 

Student Policy

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

Any preferred name 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 Nonacademic Disciplinary Procedures. 

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

See Also:

Keywords:module specauth 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:Laura S.Group:My UW-Madison Portal
Created:2015-09-22 16:37 CDTUpdated:2022-04-25 11:22 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, My UW-Madison Portal, Office of the Registrar
Feedback:  6   6