Boring Rails

Tip: Improving your Rails mailers with `email_address_with_name`

:fire: Tiny Tips

In almost all email programs, you can add a display name before your email address like so:

To: Matt Swanson <>

It’s a small touch, but it is a more human-readable way of addressing an email. Rails provides a helper utility to format email addresses in this style without resorting to manual string manipulation.


Use email_address_with_name to add a name in-front on an email address in a standard way

ActionMailer::Base.email_address_with_name("", "Matt Swanson")
=> "Matt Swanson <>"

This helper is available in all Rails mailers.

class UserMailer < ApplicationMailer
  default from: ''

  def welcome_email
    @user = params[:user]

      to: email_address_with_name(, @user.display_name),
      subject: 'You have a new message'


This helper handles nil gracefully as well.

ActionMailer::Base.email_address_with_name("", nil)
=> ""

And it handles escaping characters automatically:

ActionMailer::Base.email_address_with_name("", "Michael J. Scott")
=> "\"Michael J. Scott\" <>"

ActionMailer::Base.email_address_with_name("", 'John "Chip" Smith')
=> "\"John \\\"Chip\\\" Smith\" <>"

Additional Resources

Rails API: ActionMailer::Base#email_address_with_name

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