What is UPN (User Principal Name)?

Written By Mohit Jha
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh 
Published On January 2nd, 2019
Reading Time 3 Minutes Reading

As the name suggests, User Principal Name (UPN) is the name of Office 365 user. This is available in the format of email address. Every new user gets a UPN, which is also their active directory ID (primary email ID). For example, a user named Alice becomes a user of Office 365 domain “tastyicecream” and both her primary email address and UPN will be [email protected].

Now, if she moves to another domain called sweetcake, her UPN will be [email protected].

However, her primary email address will be the same: [email protected].

Users must remember that in case of domain change, the UPN of a user will change but not their primary email address. So, a user’s current UPN and primary email address can be the same or different.

Components of Office 365 UPN

A standard UPN consists of three parts:

  • Username
  • Separator
  • Domain name (also known as UPN suffix)
    To elaborate, we will take the example of [email protected]. In this UPN, “Alice” is the username, “@” is separator and “tastyicecream.onmicrosoft.com” is the domain name.

What Happens If Office 365 Users have Different Primary Email and UPN

As it has been discussed earlier, there can be situations when the login UPN and primary email address does not match. In that case, users may face difficulties accessing different Office 365 applications. Here, we will provide a list of situations when the confusion regarding UPN may occur:

  • Office subscription-based activation
    – The end user has to provide their UPN, and NOT their email address for authentication.
  • Skype for Business
    – To authenticate, UPN has to be entered.
    – Though the default Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) address in MS Office 365 is UPN, users can change this manually.
  • Office 365 Web Portal
    – UPN should be used to authenticate in place of email address.
  • Exchange ActiveSync (EAS)
    – In this case, also, users must use their UPN. EAS profile’s automatic configuration requires users to input on a second screen.
  • Office Mobile Applications
    – The end-user should provide their UPN rather than their email address to access mobile applications of Office 365.

How to Verify or Modify Office 365 user UPN

  • Microsoft Office 365
    In Order to Check UPN address present in Office 365 (assigned to every new user by default), go to Microsoft 365 admin center. Then click on Users > Active users.


If Office 365 users face the problem when UPN contains domain.onmicrosoft.com format in place of your domain’s suffixes (e.g. my-organization.com), they have to edit UPN address. For this, take the help of Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell.

  1. To import Azure Active Directory Module for your PowerShell:
    import-module MSOnline
  2. To connect to Office 365 by running this cmdlet:
    $msolcred = get-credential
    connect-msolservice -credential $msolcred
  3. To change the UPN address of the user:
    Set-MsolUserPrincipalName -UserPrincipalName -NewUserPrincipalName
  • Microsoft Exchange Server

In Exchange, follow these steps to check or change a UPN.

1. Launch Active Directory Users and Computers on the domain controller (DC) machine. Right-click on the mane of any users and click on Properties.

2. Select the Account tab and go to the User login name section to change the UPN.

Tip: Users can also use PowerShell command to change the UPN address.

import-module activedirectory
Get-ADUser -Filter * -SearchBase 'ou=,dc=,dc=' -Properties userPrincipalName |

foreach { Set-ADUser $_ -UserPrincipalName ("{0}@{1}" -f $_.name,"")}

By Mohit Jha

Meet Mohit, an accomplished professional serving as an Assistant Digital Marketing Manager and content strategist. As a content strategist, Mohit combines creativity and strategy to craft compelling narratives that captivate audiences and align with brand objectives. With a dual expertise in digital marketing and content strategy, Mohit is your trusted partner in achieving digital excellence.