The user rename problem

What’s in a name? The Confluence team found this question to be more than just philosophical while fixing the problem that has been voted up by over 480 customers. The problem was simple. As an admin how can I rename users in Confluence, so that when someone got married, divorced, or just had a name change they could be identified by their new name but still have access to all of the old content they had created or been tagged in?


My company didn’t start out with LDAP integration but are changing to it now. I’m having in issue with a few usernames which belong to very active users and are different than they are in LDAP. If nothing else, people’s names can change and I’ve found many users like to have their usernames updated when this happens.

Andrew Forsey


The solution wasn’t quite as simple. Luckily, our Enterprise dev team that is focused on tackling big problems that affect our biggest customers, stepped up to the plate. We not only solved the user rename problem, but built some awesome stuff on top of that work. Admins, today is your day to rejoice.

Why can’t I change a user’s name?

The problem was rooted in how users were represented in the Confluence database, index and the content itself.


I’m a SQL jockey so this really looks like no big deal, but the risk factor is there. Plus, in a large enterprise environment, I can’t simply write up SQL and fire it off, it has to involve the DBA team and a full deployment with CCB and everything (modifying production data manually is a big deal here).

Eric Wells


To change the user name you were required to change a large number of tables, columns and even data within the XML content stored. This meant a large number of complex, time consuming SQL queries which was pretty hairy, liable to get out of date and extremely unsupported.

Rename users with ease

The team absolutely nailed all of the challenges associated with renaming users, and some. Now in Confluence 5.3 you can easily rename users from the admin console. If you have configured an external user management system, then any renames you make will also be automatically detected and applied in Confluence.

Confluence user management

Just edit the users details from the admin console:


LDAP or Crowd User Manager

Rename the user in your LDAP server or via your Crowd management console. Confluence will automatically recognize the change.

In all cases, not only is it easy to rename a user, but all of the content that references that user will automatically reflect the change. The rename operation is immediate and complete: Page history, permissions, mentions, assigned tasks, macros, settings, preferences and calendars – all will continue to function for the renamed user.

No more broken macros!

Not only did we fix the rename user problem we also fixed another highly voted issue in the process. Now, when a page is renamed it no longer breaks page include or excerpt macros that it is included in. This is another huge win for admins who have to fix-up broken pages.

Never fear renaming a user again

This is one of a few big improvements coming in Confluence 5.3. Stay tuned to see what else we are shipping in our latest release.

Note: This feature will be shipped in Confluence 5.3 in less than a week, and will only available for download customers.

Rename users in Confluence: Satisfying over 450 customer votes