Mac OS X: Adding User Account Aliases

So your family has one Mac that you all share. You’re the administrator, and the kids have a standard account. When you install Software Updates, say, on your admin account, all you have to type in is your password. But every time you need to authorize something under the kids’ name (like when one of them would like to add a new program), you have to enter your administrator name along with the password. 

Since you weren’t warned of this when you were setting up your Mac, you may get sick of typing in “J. P. McGillicuddy, Master of the Universe” every time. Curse your account-name creativity! There is a way, though, to add aliases to your account, so instead of the moniker above, you could just type in “jp” or whatever works for you. Or if you administer a number of machines, you could add a common alias to all of them. That way, you don’t have to try to guess if the account name should be Workstation1 or WorkstationOne or Workstation_1 while you’re cursing the old IT guy under your breath.

So let’s walk through this together. First of all, go to System Preferences > Users & Groups. (For those of you who haven’t jumped aboard the Lion Train yet, you’ll go to System Preferences > Accounts.) Click the lock in the lower-left corner to unlock the window, and then enter your administrator name and password when you’re asked to do so.

The next step is to right- or Control-click on the account you want to add an alias to and select Advanced Options.

Be very careful about changing any settings within the following window except for the aliases. As Mac OS X is kind enough to point out, doing so could damage your user account, which is really, really bad juju if you enjoy things like being able to log in.

Since we can safely add an alias, though, click the plus button as shown above to create one, and you’ll be prompted to type in the name you want.

You can add as many as you please, so if it suits your fancy, continue putting ’em in there.

Click OK, and you’re done! If you find that your new alias isn’t working, reboot your machine to force the change. In my testing, though, I haven’t needed to do that. 

From now on, instead of typing in the super-long name you thought was necessary when you configured your Mac, you can use your alias, too. Makes letting the kids do stuff much simpler, doesn’t it? Assuming you like letting the kids do stuff, that is.