Whenever I look at an e-mail in Outlook 2011 for Mac, weather in my inbox, in the message view, or even when composing, Outlook hides the e-mail address and replaces it with the "real name" field from the e-mail.

This is infuriating - I have the same name at home and at work, my Dad has the same name as me, and spammers can put things in the real name field to make them sound like a legit business.

How can I disable this behaviour, and get it to display the actual e-mail address first?

(if it can display addresses as something like Robert Munro <name@example.com>, that would be ideal).

  • Modify your contacts to display the email address in the name field. That's how I've been doing it for years. Otherwise, physically type the email address. Outlook will replace it with the name, but at least you know it's going to the right place. – user3463 May 2 '12 at 17:26
  • I have heard that on some occasions, Outlook will replace a user's secondary address with their name in the view, then use their primary address when it sends the message. But I'm more concerned about seeing who an incoming mail is from in the inbox. – rjmunro May 8 '12 at 18:36
  • Hmmm ... That can be masked by the sender, so I think you're out of luck. – user3463 May 9 '12 at 1:03
  • @RandolphWest Exactly, and the fact that it can be masked by the sender is a great big huge security vulnerability. – rjmunro Jun 26 '12 at 13:50
  • I really wish there was a good answer to this question. – andersoj Jun 11 '13 at 16:42

One easy-but-slow method is the double-hover: put the mouse cursor on the name field and a contact 'hint' pops up, again with the name and some options - hover on this name again, and the email address is revealed.

I cannot fathom the stupidity of routinely masking this information: people have multiple addresses, multiple people have the same name, spammers disguise themselves, etc. etc. It really is infuriating.


I drag the 'name' into a TextEdit window where I can then see the email address. There must be a better way and I'd love to know what that is.


You can visualize the actual email addresses in a single keystroke by creating a forwarded mail. You do not actually need to forward anything; as soon as you select Forward or click Command-j, a screen will appear for composing a forwarded mail which displays the original email addresses, e.g. "John Doe" You can then quit the message, e.g. with Command-w.


The fastest way I have found from the inbox is to right click on the message, choose "View Source" from the menu, then look for the line starting "From:".

Once a message is open, there doesn't seem to be a way to view the source (yeah, stupid), so you have to double click on the from icon, then select the view this contact icon, and look through the contact for their e-mail address. If the contact has multiple e-mail addresses, I don't know what to do.


I have found a workaround that will indicate which of your email addresses an incoming message was addressed to and, usually, show the actual address in the TO: field.

  1. create a new category for each of your email addresses - I called mine gmail address, hotmail address, etc
  2. create a new rule for each of your addresses: I named mine gmail category, hotmail category, etc

    for each rule, choose "If any condition is met"

    When a new message arrives:

    • change the default to Any Recipient Contains your email address for that category

    Do the Following:

    • I deleted (clicked the - button) the default rule about junk mail

    • change the remaining default rule to: Set Category and choose whatever category you created step one above for this email address.

In this manner, create one rule for each of your email addresses that categorizes emails to that address to the category you created for that address.

Voila! the actual email address to which the message was sent will appear in the TO: field, unless your sender has you under a real name in their contact list. But even in that case, the email will be color coded in your inbox according to the TO: address, and you can choose to group them by category (i.e., TO: address), if you like.

I could not get a similar trick to work for the from field.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.