Outlook: Displaying a Profile Name in Outlook 2003

I have two profiles and choose one when I start Microsoft Office Outlook 2003. How can I get Outlook to display the profile name—maybe in the banner area—to remind me which profile is loaded?

In Outlook 2002 and earlier versions, an easy way to show the profile name is to change the name of the top group in the Outlook Bar to show the profile name instead of Outlook Shortcuts. This technique works because the Outlook Bar shortcuts are specific to each profile.

The new navigation pane in Outlook 2003 relegates the Outlook Bar to obscurity. You can still view it as a collection of shortcuts, but not as a bar, by clicking the Shortcuts icon at the bottom of the navigation pane. Unless you plan to use the Shortcuts list as your main Outlook 2003 navigation tool, however, you need to look elsewhere for some way to display the current profile name.

To find out which data is profile-specific in Outlook 2003, I checked the files in the \documents and settings\%userprofile%\application data\microsoft\outlook folder. I learned that three types of files are profile-specific:

  • the .nk2 nickname file for resolving addresses vthe .srs file for send/receive settings
  • the .xml file, which contains navigation bar Favorite Folders and Outlook Bar shortcuts

The nickname file never appears on screen; Outlook just uses its information when you resolve addresses. However, both the .srs and .xml files affect the user interface (UI), so you can use either the send/receive settings or the Favorite Folders list to create a profile-specific label.

If you want Outlook to display the profile name all the time, rename one of the search folders in the Favorite Folders list to use the name of the profile. A new profile always includes the Unread Mail and For Follow Up search folders, so these folders are good candidates for renaming. Figure 1 shows the Unread Mail folder renamed to Sue EXS Unread Mail to match a profile named Sue EXS.

If you don't need to see the profile name all the time, you can rename the primary send/receive group. Choose Tools, Send/Receive Settings, Define Send/Receive Groups. Select All Accounts, then click Rename and give the All Accounts send/receive group a new name, such as Sue EXS Accounts (to match my Sue EXS profile). After you make this change, you can check the profile name by choosing Tools, Send/Receive to see the list of send/receive groups. This technique also works in Outlook 2002, which has profile-specific send/receive groups.

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