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Quick tip: Dots are meaningless in your Gmail address

It makes no difference how many dots you include in your Gmail address or how you capitalize it.

It would seem like common sense - if your Gmail address is Albert.Einstein@gmail.com, the dot between your first and last name and the way in which your name is capitalized should uniquely identify you to rest of the emailing public. But, then again, everything is relative - in space-time and in Gmail accounts.

In fact, the dots in your Gmail address are meaningless and are completely ignored. The same goes for capitalization. To put it in perspective, every one of the following emails will end up in the same Gmail account's inbox:

  • albert.einstein@gmail.com
  • alberteinstein@gmail.com
  • Al.Bert.Ein.Stein@gmail.com

The dots and capitalization can help make the Gmail address easier to read for humans, but the Google Gmail servers don't even notice them.

Note: These rules don't apply to Google Apps accounts. If your organization is using an enterprise installation of Google Apps, your email address is your email address - dots count. I want to send a thank you out to Donovan Colbert who mentioned this tip in one of his Google+ posts.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

17 comments
rapidasia
rapidasia

I just broke Google and generated a 500 server error by registering an email account with a dot in the middle.


with.dot@gmail.com  --      in my primary gmail settings / accounts it shows the account withdot@gmail.com but I can't verify -- trying to send email says no such account exists, trying to register it again says it is taken  


limbo...  which is a major drag because it is a business name


lwillford
lwillford

This issue is quite a pain - my husband receives emails often which are addressed to someone who set up their account with a dot in it, which ends up being my husbands email without the dot. The sad thing is that these are important emails, like reservation confirmations and the like. Sometimes he gets personal emails too, and we've told those people to alert their friend about the email address mixup, but he still seems to use it on occasion!

swv-phx
swv-phx

I have had problems now and then where when entering my GMAIL address which does have a dot/period in it, has returned an error as an illegal address by random firms. I can only guess that they do not have a savy web master or something, in any case I've had to use an alternate email.

keshar.hayat
keshar.hayat

However as a common user I don't understand what the author want to say.

SKDTech
SKDTech

Using dots in differing ways within your GMail address can aid in filtering mail. Placing a dot between first and last name allows one to create a rule for filing email based upon what address it was sent to without needing to create multiple accounts for receiving email.

SCCMSTL
SCCMSTL

Did Mark Kalein graduate from high school? The punctuation marks are "periods', not "dots". Kalein probably writes "pee" when he means "urinate". A pox on all those who contribute to the dumbing down of discourse...

griesner
griesner

Most other providers do look at the dots. With email, addresses are not case sensitive anywhere so that Albert.Einstein@someisp.com, albert.einstein@someisp.com and ALBERT.EINSTEIN@SOMEISP.COM are all the same. Passwords, however, are almost universally case-sensitive, so that MyPassword, mypassword and MYPASSWORD would be 3 separate passwords

spdragoo
spdragoo

Because other free email providers [b]do[/b]distinguish between them. Because -- and rightly so -- they understand that [u]punctuation matters[/u]. What's next... saying that it doesn't matter whether your password is case-sensitive, because "the letters are the same"?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

part of the address for the intended server.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Dots is the terminology used by Google - so that is what I used. You'll get better response around here if you assume a more professional posture. This is not a Call of Duty forum.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the punctuation mark to show the end of a sentence and is to be followed by a blank space before the first letter of the next sentence. Since an email address is NOT a sentence then it can not be a punctuation mark and not a period. It is a dot as in the use of a dot to indicate something in a list or similar type non-sentence type usage. Oh, and as Eric reminds us, it's only in the USA that a sentence is finished with a period, most other countries call it a full stop.

Eric_the_Viking
Eric_the_Viking

So when did things become "period com" not "dot com" - a period is a female's cycle innit? If you are going to be pendantic it is a full stop not a dot.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

take off all this hardware and put it back in the armoury. I was SOOO looking forward to a nice shoot-out.

Slayer_
Slayer_

What about a rolling stop?

inouyde
inouyde

Full stop in UK; period in US

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

That's a cop draw, for sure, for sure. A semi colon is more like a quarter-stop, with a colon as a half-stop.

Tea.Rollins
Tea.Rollins

But full stop happened in the UK about 50 years ago.