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Written by: ronen ariely
20/04/2022 04:36 RssIcon


By default when we add a new external user to a team on Teams using his email, then the user gets a default name based on the email address. 

For example if we add a user with the email xxx@gmail.com then the new user on the team will have the name xxx. In addition, Teams recognizes the format of dot separating, so if the user first name is xxx and the family name is yyy and his email address is xxx.yyy@gmail.com then the default user name will be "xxx yyy", which is great.

Unfortunately, in most cases when we want to create a new email with our name in a free email providers like Gmail then the exact name will be taken already and Gmail will suggest us an alternative name which is a fake name like xxx456@gmail.com and using such email address will lead Teams to create a user with that fake name xxx456.

if xxx is not the user real name, then other members on the team will only see the fake name xxx and the email address xxx@gmail.com instead of real name. This mean that other members cannot know who is the person behind the name and no one will be able to find the person by searching his real name - this is an issue!

So let's move to the "Best practice" when adding a new user using his email...

Adding new external user to a team on Teams using his email

Note! I will demonstrate the scenario using the Microsoft Community Ninjas team at the Microsoft Community tenant.

(1) navigate to the team -> right click on the three dots on the right of the team's name -> click on "Manage Team"

(2) Click on "Add Member"

As a result a new form will be opened where we can add the email address which we want to invite as a new user.

When we fill the email address, the Teams search for such email in the existing users in the tenant and if such email is using an external domain and not exists in the team, then we will get option to add the new user with this email as a guest in our team.

Click on "Add xxx@gmail.com as Guest"


After we selected to add the user's email as guest, Teams select the user name using internal rules as I explained above in the background of the post. This is the issue! I did this mistake as well when I started to manage teams on Teams and probably most owners on teams do the same - do not click add, but edit the user name in this step.

Edit the default name during the invitation of new guest user 

Click on the "Edit Guest Information" button

Fill the person full real name so it will be used as his user name, and click on the approve icon ✔

Now, that you configure the name which will be used for the new user, you can ADD the user.

You can add multiple users at this step and when finished, click on Close

You have created a new user in the right way

Well... I cannot close the post without the next sections since as I mentioned it's a very common mistake to use the default name, which Teams created for external guest users, when we invite then using their email. So let's go over the steps to fix the information of such users

How to change my displayed name?

unfortunately Some details, like name and job title, are provided by your IT or human resources department or the tenant/team owners or even by the default name which Teams selected for you. Therefore, if you want to update those details and you are not controlling your account, then contact the person who manage the users.

You can always check if you can change the information yourself by following the next steps.

(1) Click on the Profile icon at the top right of the screen -> Click on "Manage account"

This will open your account management page on your browser.

As mentioned in most cases, you will not have the option to change your name. In case that you cannot change the name then you can notice an alert: 

Some details, like your name and job title, may be provided by your IT or human resources department. If you want to update those details, contact them or your admin. Learn more

Well.. in this case, you have no option but contact the person who control the account, unless your IT team prepared an API to manage accounts as I will speak about in the case of the Microsoft Community Tenant.

Fix an existing user display name in the Microsoft Community Tenant

Microsoft Community Tenant is a Microsoft Teams platform where community leaders can manage their team. I am planning to write a full post about what Microsoft Community Tenant is and how to use it, but here I just want to provide the basic steps to manage users using the Microsoft Community Tenant API. This solution will not fit other tenants obviously.

If you are an owner of a team in the Microsoft Community Tenant and you want to manage a user name then you do not need to contact the tenant owner or Microsoft team. Instead, you simply need to use the Microsoft Community Tenant API website.

Click on "View Members" -> select "Your Team" -> a list of members and guests will be presented

Select the member which you want to edit -> Click on "Edit"

You will get a form where you can edit all the user information except of the email which only the tenant owners can edit.

Once you fill the new information, simply click "save"


We saw the problem when using the default configuration when adding a new external user to a team/tenant on Teams. As I explained, changing the user information after he is already a member or guest can be a bit complex in some cases. Moreover, in other cases we will have option to add members but not to edit their information after they are already in. We might have to contact the team that control the domain directory or the owners of the Teams tenant. 

Therefore, the best practice is to configure the name of the user while we invite him to the team by changing the default name based on the email to his full name.

I hope this will help you manage your future new users :-)