Getting Comfortable With The Basics

E-Mail – What is Bcc?

BCC stands Blind Carbon Copy. It refers to the practice of sending an email to multiple recipients without disclosing the individual emails addresses. While sending the same email/message to multiple recipients, it is a common practice for most of us by separating the email addresses with a comma or semi-colon and insert all those addresses in the To: filed. When emails are sent in this way, each receiver is able to see the complete list of recipient email addresses to which the same message is being sent to. Unlike To:, the BCC: option allows you to hide the recipients in email messages. In other words, when emails are sent using BCC:, the receiver will not be able to see the list of recipient email addresses. Thus using BCC is a smart way to protect the privacy of the recipients.

To specify recipients, an e-mail message may contain addresses in any of these three fields:

  • To: Primary recipients
  • Cc: Carbon copy to secondary recipients—other interested parties
  • Bcc: Blind carbon copy to additional recipients who receive the message without anyone else (including the To, Cc, and Bcc recipients) seeing who the extra recipients are.

It is common practice to use the Bcc: field when addressing a very long list of recipients, or a list of recipients that should not (necessarily) know each other, e.g., in mailing lists.

Benefits of using Bcc:

There are a number of reasons for using this feature:

BCC is often used to prevent an accidental “Reply All” from sending a reply intended for only the originator of the message to the entire recipient list.
To send a copy of one’s correspondence to a third party when one does not want to let the recipient know that this is being done
To send a message to multiple parties with none of them knowing the other recipients. This can be accomplished by addressing a message to oneself and filling in the actual intended recipients in the Bcc: field.

When sending an e-mail to multiple recipients, one can hide their e-mail addresses from each other.
This is a sensible anti-spam precaution because it avoids making a long list of e-mail addresses available to all the recipients (which is what happens if one were to put everyone’s address in the To: or Cc: fields). For this reason, it often makes sense to use the Bcc: field for mailing lists. Some viruses also harvest e-mail addresses from users’ cache folder or addressbook, and large CC lists may further the propagation of viruses, giving another reason to use Bcc:

How to BCC an email message?

Most email clients provide the BCC: option under a few lines below the To: field. All you have to do is just enter the list of recipients in the BCC: field instead of entering in the To: field. You may enter only your own email address in the To: field. Once you do this just hit the Send button.

You should use BCC: when sending bulk messages so as to protect the privacy of your recipients.