Understanding E-Mail Address Policies


Applies to: Exchange Server 2010 SP3, Exchange Server 2010 SP2

Recipients (which include users, resources, contacts, and groups) are any mail-enabled object in Active Directory to which Microsoft Exchange can deliver or route messages. For a recipient to send or receive e-mail messages, the recipient must have an e-mail address. E-mail address policies generate the primary and secondary e-mail addresses for your recipients so they can receive and send e-mail.

By default, Exchange contains an e-mail address policy for every mail-enabled user. This default policy specifies the recipient's alias as the local part of the e-mail address and uses the default accepted domain. The local part of an e-mail address is the name that appears before the at sign (@). However, you can change how your recipients' e-mail addresses will display. For example, you can specify that your recipients' e-mail addresses display as firstname.lastname@contoso.com.

Furthermore, if you want to specify additional e-mail addresses for all recipients or just a subset, you can modify the default policy or create additional policies. For example, the following figure illustrates a configuration in which the recipient David Hamilton can receive e-mail messages addressed to hdavid@mail.contoso.com and hamilton.david@mail.contoso.com.

Example of multiple e-mail addresses

E-mail address policy property page

Looking for management tasks related to e-mail address policies? See Managing E-Mail Address Policies.

Behaviors of Recipient Policies

Exchange applies a policy to all recipients that match the recipient filtering criteria:

  • The recipient policy functionality is divided into two features: e-mail address policies and accepted domains.


    A detailed discussion about accepted domains is outside the scope of this topic. For information about accepted domains, see Understanding Accepted Domains.

  • When you run the Update-EmailAddressPolicy cmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell, the recipient object is updated with the e-mail address policy. For detailed syntax and parameter information, see Update-EmailAddressPolicy.

  • Each time a recipient object is modified and saved, Exchange enforces the correct application of the e-mail address criteria and settings. When an e-mail address policy is modified and saved, all associated recipients are updated with the change. In addition, if a recipient object is modified, that recipient's e-mail address policy membership is reevaluated and enforced.

Creating E-Mail Address Policies

When creating an e-mail address policy, you can use the following e-mail address types:

  • Precanned SMTP e-mail address. Precanned SMTP e-mail addresses are commonly used e-mail address types provided for you.

  • Custom SMTP e-mail address. If you don't want to use one of the precanned SMTP e-mail addresses, you can specify a custom SMTP e-mail address.

    When creating a custom SMTP e-mail address, you can use the variables in the following table to specify alternate values for the local part of the e-mail address.

    Custom SMTP e-mail address

    Variable Value


    Given name (first name)


    Middle initial


    Surname (last name)


    Display name


    Exchange alias


    Uses the first x letters of the surname. For example, if x = 2, the first two letters of the surname are used.


    Uses the first x letters of the given name. For example, if x = 2, the first two letters of the given name are used.

  • Non-SMTP e-mail address. The following types of non-SMTP e-mail addresses are supported:

    • EX (Legacy DN Proxy Address Prefix DisplayName)

    • X.500

    • X.400

    • MSMail

    • CcMail

    • Lotus Notes

    • Novell GroupWise

    • Exchange Unified Messaging proxy address (EUM proxy address)


    In Exchange, all non-SMTP e-mail addresses are considered custom addresses. Exchange doesn't provide unique dialog boxes or property pages for X.400, GroupWise, or Lotus Notes e-mail address types. If you add a non-SMTP custom e-mail address, you must have the appropriate dynamic-link library (DLL) files. If you don't provide the appropriate DLL files, you won't be able to create a customized e-mail address policy. The following error will be logged in Event Viewer: "The e-mail address description object in the Microsoft Exchange directory for the 'SADF' address type on 'i386' machines are missing."

For detailed instructions about how to create an e-mail address policy, see the following topics:

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