Introduction to Custom Display Names in Exchange 2003
With a very large Global Address List (GAL), you may wish to sort the names by Lastname then Firstname. (The default
being Firstname Lastname.) Changing the way names are displayed in the GAL is a triumph for planning your Exchange 2003
installation. This is because changes will not, repeat not, affect existing users, so it only makes sense to change the display order before you create any email addresses.
Custom Display Names for the Global Address List
Let us start by reviewing the rules of how addresses are displayed in the Global Address List. The default for 'Full Name' is Firstname Lastname. Once again, Exchange 2003 relies on Active Directory to
generate this Full Name field. With ADSI Edit, you can adjust how this Full Name field displays in the GAL. You can install ADSI Edit from the support tools on the Windows Server 2003 CD.
Launch ADSI Edit, then
persuade it to display the Configuration Container (not the Domain Container). Next navigate to DisplaySpecifiers and select, CN=409. (This means sort order for US English.) The crucial property is
user-Display. right-click User-Display and select createDialog. When you user-Display, it not only affects Full Name in the GAL, but also the Display name field in Active Directory Users and Computers.
Lastname, Firstname = %<sn>, %<givenName>
(Note the space between the two parts.)
Firstname Lastname = %<givenName> %<sn>
(Once again make sure of a space between > and %).
Note 1. The the space between > and % is vital.
However, the presence or absence of a comma is optional and is not part of the syntax. The diagram above is thumb-nailed therefore will expand if you
need to see more detail.
Note 2. Surprisingly, givenName is case sensitive. I was shocked when givenname did not display the firstname at all.
Note 3. Another surprise came when I tried,
Firstname Lastname = % <givenName> %<sn>
the space between % and < meant it did not display properly.
Note 4. After making this change, as you create a new user, in Active Directory Users and Computer, note the format of the Display name field. My point is that createDialog configures both the
Full Name in the GAL and Display name in Active Directory.
It's a disgrace, but changing the Display Name will only affect future email accounts. Even if you run the Recipient Update Service (RUS) the Firstname Lastname sequence will not change for existing
users. The lesson is, plan your
display names as part of Exchange 2003's installation.
Microsoft's PSS (Product Support Services) have a utility called ADModify that can modify existing accounts, see here how to configure ADModify
See another example of GAL and ADSI. How to set Address List permissions with ADSI Edit
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If you are going to change the Global Address List display from Firstname Lastname, to Lastname Firstname then do it before you create the user accounts. The reason is that this change will only
affect future display names. For those who like a challenge and a chance to use ADSI edit, then they will enjoy finding and editing createDialog.
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