Set Username to Display Name Instead of First and Last Name

    • 9 posts
    March 28, 2022 10:53 AM EDT

    Hello, I've read some articles, but I need some clarity.  Is there a way to keep the First and Last name fields but display a username instead of the First and Last name for communities that use Usernames and do not want to reveal first and last names to other members?

    Does SE have a tutorial on how to do this?

    I really appreciate any help you can provide.



    • Moderator
    • 6302 posts
    March 29, 2022 5:30 AM EDT

    It's always a good idea to do a search first. This way you don't have a delay in getting answers. I searched "username" and found the following where I told how we do it here and gave a suggestion for still having the first and last name. Hope it helps.

    • 9 posts
    March 29, 2022 9:37 AM EDT

     Thanks, Donna,

    That post you mentioned is from 2017; links are broken, and a lot of going back and forth. However, I did search the Social Engine Help Section. Here's the link and what it turns up.

    Is there anything more concrete, like a tutorial vs. a few people going back and forth talking about ideas? Because When you remove the last name, is there a way to get it back if it doesn't work out the way it is anticipated? Because in the post the user said they had to get custom work done..  clarity is what I need here before I make any changes like that.


    Thank you for taking the time to help me on this issue.

    • Moderator
    • 6302 posts
    March 29, 2022 10:11 AM EDT

    The search I meant is for this forum to search for other posts. 


    As for the tips,  I did them on this site. I think users find it easier to have a "displayname" as opposed to the current way things are with First/Last name.  If you follow the steps I posted you can do the same which others have done too. I think many want to hide the real name but still have it. Here's how to do the display name as we nave it here:

    • I set the last name to not required and then I deleted that field.
    • I then changed the name of the First Name field to Displayed Name. This makes it easier to figure out for users.
    • If you still need the first and last name, you can make a custom field but it can't be "First Name" and/or "Last Name" as those are special for the script. But, you can make one field named "First & Last Name" or just one that says "Name" and then that satisfies getting their real name and also the issue of the display name vs the username. 

    If you decide you want to go back to First Name/ Last Name, you just change the Display Name back to First Name and create the Last Name field which you can set as required or not required. Those are special fields for those particular input types. You will want to experiment on a development site to see if it works as you want it to. I haven't done it in quite a while since I set up this site and my author site.


    The client in the other thread mentioned a customization because he said he wanted both to display next to each other. In order to do that, he needed to customize the css and such.

    Hope that helps. 

    • 9 posts
    March 30, 2022 12:19 PM EDT

    Ahh, great, Thank you. So, in this case. If the Username is "User_123" or "User-123" or "User 123," How do we make that work since special characters are not allowed in the first name question?

    • Moderator
    • 6302 posts
    March 31, 2022 5:49 AM EDT

    Special characters break the username tags. If you wanted to put that back in, you need a customization but it wouldn't be a cheap customization I think because of how it breaks the username tag. They can put spaces in the other profile questions if you make one for Name though.

    • 9 posts
    April 1, 2022 10:26 AM EDT

    Thanks, I hired Social Networking Solutions to customize this for me.