A friend has recently started sending me text messages (from a phone) that I receive as email. The sending email address is of the form 0123456789@mms.att.net, and this is what Outlook 2010 displays for the sender's name. I'd like to have the sender's actual name displayed instead. (That name is not part of the email header on the messages I get. On those messages, both the "From" and "Return-Path" fields contain only the sending email address.)

I've set up an Outlook Address Book entry for the sender's email address, and in that Address Book entry I've given useful values for the Full Name, the File As, and the Display As fields. However, Outlook continues to show me only the email address for the sender when I get this kind of message.

How can I tell Outlook 2010 that when I get email from 0123456789@mms.att.net, it should be displayed as coming from, say, "Joe TextsTooMuch"?



VBA is probably your only option to accomplish this.

A solution using VBA:

Copy this simple VBA procedure into an Outlook VBA project :

Sub ChangeSenderName(itm As MailItem)

    itm.SentOnBehalfOfName = "Joe TextsTooMuch"

End Sub

Now create an Outlook rule that checks for incoming emails from 0123456789@mms.att.net. I suggest using the condition called 'with specific words in the sender's address'.

Then for the rule action, select 'run a script'. Set the value to the script called ChangeSenderName.

Once you have saved and enabled this rule, any incoming email that matches the sender address will be passed to the VBA code, which will modify it.

Notes on this solution

This code is actually modifying a field called SentOnBehalfOfName. As a result, it only appears to take effect in the Outlook Message View - not when you open up an individual email. I looked into changing the actual sender field, but it is not able to be modified with VBA.

Alternative solutions

Of course, the most elegant way to do this would be to configure the service that is sending the emails, but I am assuming you have no control over that.

Another option is to configure the mail server which receives the emails, to modify the From header before it delivers to your copy of Outlook.

  • I tried this, but it didn't seem to have any effect. I created the macro and the rule to run it, then ran all my rules on a mailbox with a message from this sender in it. In the "From" column of my list of messages in the mailbox, nothing changed. – KnowItAllWannabe Feb 18 '15 at 6:21
  • OK, I tried it myself so I know it works on my setup. Is the rule you created the first one to run? Another rule might have stop processing more rules as an action. Alternatively, on the last step of creating/editing the rule, there is an option to 'Run this rule now'. Try running this rule by itself. Another thing to check is the Outlook Trust Center - are macros enabled? – Garrulinae Feb 18 '15 at 10:24
  • So here's an oddity. In Rules and Alerts, my rule is shown. It's #2 on the list. If I then choose "Run Rules Now", my rule is not listed in the "Select rules to run" list, although it appears that all other rules in the "Rules and Alerts" rules list are present. Any idea why my rule isn't in the "Select rules to run" list? Is there some other way to manually run a rule? – KnowItAllWannabe Feb 18 '15 at 17:19
  • Yes, edit the rule, and on the last page of the Rules Wizard, there is an option to 'Run this rule now'. Did you also check to make sure that macros are enabled in Outlook? – Garrulinae Feb 18 '15 at 23:48
  • It seems that I had to restart Outlook to get it to work, but it seems to be working now. Thanks! – KnowItAllWannabe Feb 19 '15 at 0:47

If the e-mail address is always the same (0123456789@mms.att.net) you can create a contact and input the address, then save. After that it will show with the name. I find for me I cannot use the solutions offered above at work so instead of "saving" the contact, i "create" it and then it shows me the name just how i want it.

  • The email address should be the same, yes: as I understand it, it's actually the phone number of the person who sent the text that was converted to email. – David Richerby Aug 6 '15 at 10:29

Unless you want to use Garrulinae's VBA solution, you can't do this from Outlook. Outlook will process the display name based on how the e-mail you receive is formed. When you reply to the e-mail, the details from your Contacts entry will be used in the reply.


This solution Show sender’s e-mail address as a column in message view solves the problem for the message views in Outlook.

Its based on a user defined form which has to be included for every view in Outlook. Unfortunately its too long to be quoted.

I tested it on Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013.

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