Using the Simple Display Name as an External Display Name

So one of my favorite little known features of Exchange 2003/2007 and now Exchange 2010 is the use of the Simple Display Name field as an External Display Name.  The gist of using the Simple Display Name (SDN) field as an External Display Name is to mask any company specific or custom information included with or appended to the Display Name field that is included on the Global Address List inside of the company.  It is fairly common in the world of directory services to append additional company contextual information to the Exchange display names when there are multiple employees with the same name (i.e. John O?Leary (Marketing) and John O?Leary (CEO)).  While this information is useful inside of the company for internal email, this information may be better kept inside of the company in certain circumstances.  The below guidance will help with that exact task.

Exchange 2003 provided a registry setting to modify to use the SimpleDisplayName in the SMTP friendly name for external email. Details are included in this kb article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/888416.

Exchange 2007 provided version after Exchange 2007 SP2, so if you?re running Exchange 2007 SP1 RU3 or prior, the below guidance won?t work until you get to Exchange 2007 SP1 RU4.

 Firstly, we have to update empty Simple Display Name(SDN) s with external emails for all mailboxes.

Below scripts can do this and tested Exchange 2010 SP2.

#Simple Display Name UpdateYou can set SDN for all users:$Users = get-Mailbox  -ResultSize UnlimitedOr you can do it for  mailboxes in an organizational Unit: $Users = get-Mailbox -organizationalUnit erdaldinc.com/test -ResultSize UnlimitedOr even can use a filter to set it for mailboxes with primary email address from some specific domain:$Users =get-Mailbox -ResultSize Unlimited|where{$_.PrimarySmtpAddress -like ‘*@domain.com’}

Once you got your users, you can use their exising first name, last name, and title fields to make SDN, and then apply on all mailboxes using set-user command like this:

foreach ($mbx in $Users)


      $user = get-user $mbx

       $sdn = “$($user.FirstName) $($user.LastName)-$($user.Title)”

       $sdn = $sdn.Trim()

       Write-Host “$mbx’s SDN Setting: ‘$sdn'”

       Set-user $user -simpleDisplayName $sdn





Once the editing of the SDN field has been completed, you need to run a Powershell script to enable this feature to work for all email domains.  That script looks like:

Get-remotedomain|set-remotedomain -UseSimpleDisplayName $true

Additional information on this topic as well as how to enable this feature for only certain domains can be found in the following KB article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/944831