How do I hide the email addresses I’m sending to on a message?

It's possible to send email to someone without having their email address show up on the To: or Cc: lines by using blind carbon copy or Bcc.

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How do I hide the email addresses that I’m sending to on a message?

Have you ever gotten a piece of email where you weren’t listed as a recipient? Your email address wasn’t present on either the To: line or the Cc: (carbon copy) line, but somehow you got it anyway. What you didn’t see was what’s called the blind carbon copy line, or Bcc: which allows the sender to specify a list of people to get the message without their names appearing on it.

Why “carbon” and what’s this about it being “blind”?

The term carbon copy dates from the pre-photocopy typewriter days where the way to make a second copy was to insert a sheet of carbon paper between two sheets of typewriter paper. When the typewriter struck an image of a letter on the top, it would also press an image through the carbon paper onto the second page.

In today’s digital age, the term simply means any copy of a document or email sent to someone in addition to the primary recipient. It’s common courtesy on business correspondence to let the recipient know who else is getting the document by listing them after a Cc: somewhere on the document.


In today’s digital age, the term simply means any copy of a document or email sent to someone in addition to the primary recipient.
Email, of course, does this automatically with the Cc: field into which you enter email addresses.

Blind simply means that someone else gets a copy, but they’re not listed on the Cc: line as getting one.

Here’s the rub: how you access the blind carbon copy function will depend on your email client. Look in the online help for Bcc or blind carbon copy. In Outlook, there is a Bcc: field that’s simply not visible by default. When you compose a message, hit the View menu and you’ll find an item labeled Bcc: field, which will turn it on. In Outlook Express, hit the View menu while composing a message and you’ll see an item All Headers that does the same.

Bcc: can be a courtesy if used correctly. If you’re sending email to a large number of people, you can reduce the size of the message and the To: or Cc: headers that people might have to wade through by bccing your message to them. On the other hand, it can also be somewhat rude to Bcc: what someone might think is a personal message to others as well.

Bcc:. Use it responsibly.

There are 29 comments:

  1. harsha Reply

    please,tell me ,how i do hide my email addres
    on my sent masegess? i wornt to hide it from my sent masseges.

  2. Leo Reply

    You can try the technique’s here: http://ask-leo.com/archives/000097.html but it’s difficult (and some would say unethical) to *completely* hide your from address. There are anonymous email services out there, if that’s what you’re looking for. Try googling for that if so.

  3. Anton Reply

    Hi,

    There is another option to hide your email address and protect it from email bots.

    We have developed a software product which is a perfect automated solution to hide the email you publish on the site from email harvesting bots.

    Visit http://linkdisguiser.com and try our free product. We would appreciate your feedback positive or negative.

    Thank you.

  4. Bill Russell Reply

    You probably already know this, but what should a
    person do to send a BCC if their e-mail doesn’t
    show BCC in the TO field? ANSWER: Usually your
    e-mail will have a CC blank. In this space, list
    the outgoing e-mails with a parenthesis “(”
    before the first and a “)” after the last e-mail.
    I learned this when I had an account with JUNO.
    Their outgoing mail has no BCC.

    ALSO, when attempting to send e-mail to
    UNDISCLOSED-RECIPIENTS, many e-mails REQUIRE a
    domain. Thusly, you must address the e-mail to
    UNDISCLOSED-RECIPIENTS@yahoo.com, or the domain
    you are e-mailing from. Naturally, you’ll get a
    ‘unknown’ e-mail back saying it couldn’t be
    delivered. However, all of the ‘OTHER’ e-mails
    will be delivered.

    Keep others from knowing who SENT the e-mail?
    Try:
    http://www.anonymizer.com/
    http://eng.mafiamail.ru/
    http://www.usmessage.net/index.html?1017

  5. Rick Palmer Reply

    The solution to a personalized message without a long Cc list is to use a mail merge program like PC iMail (http://www.prosoftapps.com/pcimail). It will let you add mail merge fields such as “Dear [FirstName]” and will insert each recipient’s name in the message, and it will also send the message individually to each recipient for a personalized touch.

    The other issue these days is the limitations many ISPs place on the number of messages that can be sent in a given time period. My ISP limits me to 25 messages per minute, and so PC iMail’s time delay feature helps out by letting me specify the number of messages that will be sent for a given time interval (e.g. Send 20 messages every 60 seconds).

  6. aiden Reply

    Hi Leo,

    had the same question as someone before:

    “Good afternoon.
    I would like to know if there is any trick in Outlook to Hide my e-mail address once I send an e-mail from my outlook.
    If there is such a feature I would also like to know if instead of my e-mail it would be possible to appear “Customer Services” or something like that.

    Thank you very much for your answers and tips!
    Posted by: Oriol at February 21, 2006 12:42 PM “

    is there a solution for this?
    Thanks
    Aiden

  7. Leo A. Notenboom Reply

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    Yes and no.

    You can change the “From:” address on email you send. This article covers that:
    http://ask-leo.com/how_do_i_send_mail_from_my_mail_forwarded_address.html

    However that does not *hide* you. Your actual email address may still be in
    the mail headers, as may be the IP address from which you’re sending email.

    Leo

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)

    iD8DBQFHF7p2CMEe9B/8oqERAvQrAKCJfq6Xh4mbWtQR8/ynkNfHdLZ/wACeN/p3
    /voNoJEvrb0wC5kLv27KUAU=
    =1la+
    —–END PGP SIGNATURE—–

  8. debb Reply

    How do I see who I’ve sent an email to once it’s been sent bcc? Want to check and be sure I didn’t already send it. Thanks.

  9. Smith Reply

    You may want to try akapost (www.akapost.com)

    akapost is a simple and easy way to protect your email identity from being exposed on the Internet.

  10. miguel Reply

    Hello,
    there is a webpage, http://www.emailhide.org, that encrypts your email address in a secure manner. All you nedd to do is type in your email address and is returned html code with a link with your encrypted email. I’ve tried and now i use it everytime. There’s also a automatic gen for webmasters. Check it out.

    While interesting, that has nothing at all to do with what this article is about.

    - Leo
    05-Feb-2009
  11. Anna Reply

    If i need to send out a message to a lot of people, but i want them to only see their own name on the email, as if i personally sent it to just them and not 25 other people as well, how would i do this in Microsoft Outlook?

    The only way to do that is to send 25 individual emails. You can do that yourself, or you can use a mailing service like aweber.com.

    - Leo
    28-May-2009
    • Vicki Reply

      You can use mail merge in Outlook. It requires a word processor, I believe, like Microsoft Word.

  12. GLORIA Reply

    I have gmail and I’ve tried everything in the book to prevent my mail recipients to see other’s addresses, but it won’t work. I use the BCC feature but the addresses still show. I know this because I tried sending a message to multiple recipients, where I put one of my other mails in the TO box and the rest in the BCC box. That’s when I found that the addresses were displayed.
    Thank you very much for your help.

    If you’re looking in your own sent mail, then they may still be there, since you’re allowed to see what you sent. You need to check the actual email received by one of the people getting the email in their account. I’ll bet the BCC line is not visible there.

    - Leo
    01-Jul-2009

  13. abhishek Reply

    this article describes how to hide email ids of recipients from other recipients. i was wondering if there is a way to have the individual recipient’s id alone in the ‘to’ space for every recipient, without other ids being visible to him/her.

    Only by sending individual messages. Mailling list software can do that. “Mailman” is popular for do-it-yourselfers (somewhat geeky) and aweber.com is the service I use.

    Leo
    22-Dec-2009

  14. spiderman Reply

    To send emails to a lot of people, without the recipients knowing each other, you should list the recipients as bcc, or use a mailing list.

    If the problem is that you don’t want people knowing your real email address, then you can use some pseudo email address generator. There are some nice services out today, like hidemails.com.

  15. Karen Williams Reply

    You can do a mail merge with Outlook 2003 and 2007, under Tools, that sends the same message to a group of people and doesn’t reveal the other recipients. You can even address each recipient by name in the body of the message. However, I have Outlook 2002 so I have to start the merge in Word, using a folder within my Outlook contacts as a souce of e-mail addresses. Instructions are at http://www.howto-outlook.com/howto/mailmerge.htm.

  16. Shapaka Phillipus Panduleni Reply

    Its good to hide your e-mail address because someone can create an address on your behalf and make your life a living hell.

  17. dave Reply

    i visited a cite called christinas and they gave #s and letters to replace name and @ etc

  18. Michael Peverett Reply

    There are several other situations when it’s right to use BCC. If you’re sending something to a rather miscellaneous bunch of people who don’t necessarily know each other or have any connection except via yourself, you protect each recipient’s privacy. You prevent the use of indiscriminate reply-to-all that could be embarrassing to you or others (Reply-to-all does not extend to BCCs of the initial message). And you prevent your recipients’ addresses being re-used or sold for commercial purposes.

  19. Jim Gardner Reply

    When sending email in Outlook 2007, I do not want the recipients email address to show but I do want the recipients to know who all received the email. How do I do that?

  20. Mark J Reply

    @Jim
    If I understand correctly what you want, you can send using BCC and include a list of the names in the body of the email.

  21. Old Man Reply

    Leo,

    Just a minor point. When I took typing in the mid 50′s, CC: was also called Courtesy Copy. That was because we often had to send copies to more than just one person.

  22. Judy Newton Reply

    Sometimes the Bcc option does not appear. The cc one does. I know it is possible to get the Bcc option but I have forgotten what to press.
    Can you help?

    Judy Newton

    • Mark Jacobs Reply

      Getting the BCC field to appear is different for each email program and webmail interface, so you’d have to be more specific on what you are using.

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