I wanted my Gmail account to show only my first name, but they insist on requiring you to enter a last name. I entered “Chris” as my first and last name. You can also enter a “nickname” which is supposed to be the name displayed when you send an e-mail; however, it doesn’t always work. I recently sent myself a location from Google Maps (click a location pin on the map, click “more,” then click Send), and the “from” name on the message I sent myself was “Chris Chris,” not my nickname.
I tried entering a blank space for my last name but that didn’t work. I figured out you could use an “alternate” blank space to successfully accomplish this. Instructions are below, but this only works on Windows computers (maybe someone will read this and post instructions for how to do it on a Mac).
- Go to http://accounts.google.com.
- Next to the “Email” heading click the “Edit” link.
- Remove whatever is in the “Last Name” field. (Click anywhere in the field, hit Ctrl-a, then the Delete key.)
- With the cursor still in the “Last Name” field, hold down the Alt key and enter the following numbers from your keyboard’s keypad: 0160
- Click “Save.”
Note that you must enter the above numbers from the keypad; using the regular number keys in the main part of your keyboard won’t work. Also note the Alt key needs to be held down the entire time you are entering the four numbers.
After I did this I came back to the Google account email settings page later to see if the blank space was there and it wasn’t. The “Last Name” field was empty; no blank space, no nothing. It looks like they will accept an alternate blank space without throwing up the “Required field cannot be left blank” message , but filter it out later. I sent myself a test message and there was no blank space where my last name should have been; the “from” name was only “Chris.”