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How to Change Your Name on Gmail

Make sure the emails you send come from your real name—or the name you like best. Find out here how to change your name on Gmail. (Yes, you can add titles and emoji, too.)

First, Is It Dorsal?

“Dorsal… you mean like the fin on the dolphin’s… dorsal side? Is it the back? So it’s on top?”

Dolphin with D for dorsal (Fin)
It’s clearly a D.

Oh, the words physicians use to make locations on the body precisely confusing.

In any event, the dorsal fin is on top. That is the dolphin’s back. Dorsal refers to the back, for animals and for humans. The back is your dorsal (from Latin dorsum, back) side.

With that out of the way, let’s find out how to change the name that appears on your email’s dorsal side… umm, on top!

How to Change Your Name on Gmail

To change the name that appears as the sender in the From: line when you send an email from Gmail:

  1. Click the Settings gear icon in your Gmail inbox.
  2. Select Settings from the menu that has appeared.Select "Settings" from the menu in Gmail
  3. Go to the Accounts and Import tab.
  4. Click edit info next to the email address for which you want to change your name under Send mail as:.Click "edit info" for the address whose name you want to change
  5. Now, make sure the text field is selected under Name: in the Edit email address dialog if you do get the choice.
  6. Change the name to what you want to appear as the sender in the From: line when you send an email or reply.
    • Tip: You can include a title in parentheses, like “Lillian Mitchell (Customer Happiness Specialist)”. See below for including emoji.
  7. Click Save Changes (if you change the name for a Gmail address) or Next Step » followed by Save Changes (if you change the name for a non-Gmail address you have set up for sending in Gmail).
    • Note: Make sure you enter your SMTP password under Password: on the Send mail through your SMTP server page before clicking Save Changes.Click "Save Changes"

You can also change the name for your Google account. Any Gmail account and sending address in a Gmail account not configured to use its own name should automatically use that new global name.

Can I Change the Name on Gmail Using a Gmail App or Mobile Site?

No, unfortunately not.

Changing the name is possible only through Gmail’s desktop web interface.

How to Include Emoji and Special Characters in Your Name with Gmail

To add emoji, emoticons and other special characters to your name and From: line when sending emails from Gmail using macOS:

  1. Go to the Name part of the email address options dialog. (See above.)
  2. Put the text cursor where you want the emoji or special character to appear in your name.
  3. Select Edit | Emoji & Symbols from the menu.Tip: You can also press Command-Control-Space.
  4. Find and double-click the desired emoji or character to insert it.
    • Tip: You will find the emoji you use often, say in instant messages, under Frequently Used.
  5. Close the Characters window.

To insert an emoticon, emoji or other special Unicode character to your name in Gmail using Windows:

  1. Open the email address options dialog. (See above.)
  2. Position the text cursor where in your name you want the special character or emoji to show.
    • Note: You can replace characters or parts of your name with a special character; do keep in mind that this may make finding your name difficult if recipients add it to an address book, for example.
  3. Open the Windows emoji keyboard.
  4. Find and click the desired character.
  5. Close the on-screen emoji keyboard.

(Tested with Gmail in a desktop browser; title image: StockUnlimited)

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Heinz Tschabitscher

Has been writing about email, communication and technology in an engaging and informative manner since 1997. Find out more.