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How do I get outgoing mail to display "Undisclosed-Recipients:;" in the TO field?


When using BCC to send out emails from Outlook Express, the recipient should
see “Undisclosed-Recipient;” in the TO field. However, the recipients in my BCC
list that I sent out see my own (the sender) email instead. Eventually, it is
showing as FROM:, TO: How do I get it to display “Undisclosed-Recipients:;” in the TO field?

I don’t believe that it’s something you can force.

By that, I mean I don’t believe the exact phrase “Undisclosed-Recipients;” is
any kind of standard or something that you can put in place yourself.

I don’t think it’s even controlled by the sender of the email.

I’ll show you what I do instead.


TO, CC and BCC (from Hotmail)

Using BCC

BCC is a way to send email to someone without their email address appearing in the To: or Cc: line. It’s considered a polite way to send email to a large number of people without exposing everyone’s email address. It’s also often a “cover your behind” approach in business allowing you to secretly include a superior or other recipient on an email message.

In some cases, you’ll want to send a message to only BCC’ed recipients. The To: and the Cc: fields of the message that you’re composing would remain empty.

That’s technically valid, although some email programs react differently to the lack of a public recipient.

The required To:

Your email program may require that you put an email address in the To: field.

There’s really no way around this. Not only is something required, but it must be an email address.

There are two ways to deal with this:

  • Put in an email address that you know is invalid. It has to look like a valid email address, but that’s all. When you send your message, you may get a bounce for that email address, which you can ignore.

  • Put in a valid email address. I typically use my own. The email is From: me and To: me, with a number of BCC’ed recipients who never see any email addresses on the message except for mine.

I typically recommend the latter. It’s pretty obvious that when you get a message on which you are not listed as a recipient that you – and possibly others – were BCC’ed.

The blank To:

If your email program does not require you to place a valid-looking email address in the To: line, then several things can happen when you send the mail:

  • Your email program may add the phrase “Undisclosed recipients,” or something like it, in the “To:” line.

  • The email program of some of your BCC’ed recipients may display the phrase “Undisclosed recipients”, or something like it, in the “To:” line.

  • The email program of some of your BCC’ed recipients may do nothing, and simply display an empty To:

Again, all of this is pretty much out of your control.


Having an empty “To:” line is actually a mark against your email when it comes to making it through various spam filters, so I’d recommend putting something there.

It’s unclear if having the recipient be the same as the sender is a mark against you or not. I tend to think not, because it’s common to do so for exactly the reasons that we’re dealing with here.

Thus, my ultimate recommendation is to send the email “To:” yourself and BCC all the recipients.

(This is an update to an article originally published May 30, 2004.)

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60 comments on “How do I get outgoing mail to display "Undisclosed-Recipients:;" in the TO field?”

  1. Thanks for the reply. One thing I noticed is that the email program I am using is actually Outlook 2000 (even the icon is Outlook icon), the title of the program is Outlook but the menu and functions belong to those in Outlook Express! Is that possible? It seems that the 2 programs integrated with each other…

  2. No, the two didn’t integrate. They’re quite different :-). But if you are in fact using Outlook 2000, then that does explain that we’re seeing the same thing.

  3. What I usually do is create a group and drop your email address in there. call that group undisclosed recipients:

    create another group with names and send email, undisclos* in To field and the other name in bcc, or the list of names in bcc field.. everyone just sees undisclosed-recipients.

  4. Sirs:
    Thank you very kindly for the information! I have searched and searched and realized that I should go to……! And, it was very easy to find! It answered all my questions.
    Thank you very kindly!

  5. Sir,

    Please can u tell me how to configure undisclosed receipients in TO ,Bcc and Cc bar of my INTERNET ACCOUNT such as yahoo and rediff. i am not getting the right way to configure this.


  6. I don’t think Yahoo supports BCC, and I’m not familiar with rediff at all.

    In general web-based mail services often don’t support BCC.

  7. Dear Leo,
    Your tips are really great. i actually logged on to see how to get “UNDISCLOSED RECIPIENTS” and your site was very handy.
    Basically what I could gather was that you need to dump all the address in the Bcc field.Am I correct?? If yes,then there is no necessity for the To and Cc field.
    How do i remove it from view??

    Ramesh Kashyap

  8. To send outgoing mail with “Undisclosed-Recipients:;” in Outlook Express simply do this :

    1. Leave your To and CC fields empty.
    2. Add all your Recipients in BCC field

    To add BCC :
    1. click “Add Recipients” or “TO” button
    2. select Recipients and click BCC-> button
    3. click OK button

    i hope it will be helpfull to you.

  9. I use outlook express, I’ve tried every which way, but I seem to have to put my name in the To section and then of course I put all the other names in BCC. BUT, I want to get undisclosed recipients there. I have tried all the ways that are suggested. Got anoter one?

  10. I don’t believe that you’ve to type your email address neither in the TO nor CC fields. Maybe, it depends on your mail provider.
    I’m used to do so :
    To : “Undisclosed-recipients” to let know my recipients that their address has been protected.
    CC : my email, but any valid email should be convenient
    CCC : my hidden recipients list

    I never tried to remove the FROM field


  11. Just learned this trick. I have Outlook. Go into Address Book, make a New Card. Include your own e-mail address, but “Display As: Undisclosed Recipients.” Then when you send an e-mail, for “To” box select Undisclosed Recipient”, and then put all other addressees in Bcc – Blind Carbon Copy.

  12. Sarah, and what’s the point of displaying yourself as Undisclosed Recipient if all it takes is to look at the properties of your email to find out what your address is. You can display yourself as Fred if you want, people can still find out your address from properties if no specific steps were taken to hide it properly. Changing display name isn’t the same as concealing your email address.

  13. Yes, your answer is probably correct, except for an AOL Member! Can you tell me HOW to do it with AOL? All I can find pertain to Outlook, or some other ISP providers!

  14. I’ve visited your site before, very informative. My question is I have AOL Security Edition SE, and want to use the Undisclosed-Recipients feature all the time. Can you email me this infomation, I’d appreciate it!
    Jim Hamlin

  15. To send an email to undisclosed recipients:

    Create a new message in your email client.
    Insert “Undisclosed Recipients” in the To: field, followed by your email address in “” braces.
    The To: field should look like: “Undisclosed Recipients “.
    Put all the recipients’ email addresses in the Bcc: field, separated by commas.
    The Bcc: field could look like: “,,“.
    Compose your message.
    Send it.

  16. I have MSN Explorer and would like to know how to send e-mails with undisclosed recipients displayed in the to: field. I have tried putting addresses in the bcc: field and nothing is showing up in the to: field, and undisclosed recipients is not present on the receiving end. What am I failing to do? Thanks

  17. Hi Leo,

    Is there a way to get Outlook Express to send a bulk email to a group of people, and instead of saying “undisclosed recipient”, (which I think looks unprofessional), to get the software to say the recipients name or email without showing any of the other email addresses please? So that it looks like a personal one to one email?



  18. No. You’re really looking for mailing list software such as mailman (typically a Linux server-side solution) or a service, such as Aweber.

    Hash: SHA1

    Use the BCC line.

    Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)


    Hash: SHA1

    You don’t. There’s no way to tell.

    Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)


  21. hi leo
    i have tried sending as undisclosed msg but it tell me to change email address, but when i send i send it works fine, i want to know that you are telling me to create a distribution group as undisclosed recipeint

  22. To display Undisclosed-Recipients in the To field just do the following steps:
    1) In the To field write your email address with brackets in them eg (
    2) Then send the receipts in the BCC hence you will never see any address of the persons you send the mail to.
    Try it out and see for yourself.

  23. Hoe do I hide recipients in BCC with Gmail? I address the email to myself with recipients in the BCC field, but when I click on the ‘Sent’ mail, all the addresses are there on display.

  24. When I use gmail to send Bcc emails to a list of recipients, I don’t even bother putting any info into the To: block. All the addresses go into the Bcc: block as you’d normally send a list of email addresses. Hit ‘send’ and away it goes. Naturally when you look at the email message you just sent you’re goint to see all the email addresses listed in the message, but on the recipients’ end, they’ll either see nothing identifying how the message got to them (except for your From: address) or they’ll see it came to just the one address as a Bcc from you. Make sense? Anyway, it’s a cool way to send to friends and not have to worry about getting someone’s nose out of joint who doesn’t want their email addy shared with everyone else. Cheers, d’P

  25. I think my e-mails go as ” Undisclosed Recipients ” but I also always get an e-mail When I click on the “TO field ” after I click on all the contacts I want to send to in the BCC field it gives my e-mail address in the to field. Is that the way it is suppose to go.
    Thank you Shirley

  26. Hi
    I’d like to know why is it that i cannot receive mail (external) that has been bcc’d?
    And i received internal bcc’d mail?
    Our IT guy says nothing can be done, is this true?

  27. I use outlook express. I put undisclosed recipients in my address book with my email address in the email space. I tried leaving out my email address out of the address space. I put all the send to addresses in BCC. When I send email this way, I always get a copy of the email too. I tried having to “TO” space blank and it will not send. What am I doing wrong?

  28. I sent a test e-mail from my Gmail account to two other non Gmail accounts using bcc. One of them showed in the header, but the other did not. What makes that difference? Do you know of anything I can change to make that appear or not as I wish?

  29. Hi, I want to send the same email to different email id’s, but the recipient should not see the other email id’s for which it has been sent. The recipient should feel that the email is sent only to him. Is it possible???? Please help me with this…..

    Send separate emails. All other solutions leave traces that it wasn’t just to them.


  30. Dear sir am using ms-outlook 2003 i want to send mail to some E-mail id’s but it should show as undisclosed in the other end how to do this pls help me

  31. How do I find a listing of bcc: recipients after sending an email to them, using a to: address of myself?
    As the sender, I should have access to the bcc: listing after the fact. Thanks.

    It depends on the email program you’re using. Look in your sent mail – some will show it, some will not.

  32. I make a new email contact.
    First name: Undisclosed
    Last name: Recipients
    Email Address: my own

    This sends me a copy of the email, but keeps my friends’ email addys private when I send to multiple people by using the “bcc” field.

  33. If you put “Undisclosed recipients ” (without the quotation marks), you’ll get just what you want. At least it works for me in Outlook 2003.

    I frequently use modifications of this to indicate to blind copy recipients why they are receiving the email. For example: “Choir members ” or “Society mailing list “.

  34. I’ve used Mozilla’s Thunderbird for years, and most often the entire list of my email recipients are posted with BCC. I don’t need to do anything else to get the desired privacy for my friends’ addresses. And the amt. of spam has dropped dramatically. I also end each email document with this signature: “I have entered your personal email address in the BCC: (Blind Carbon Copy) column and not in the To: or Cc: column so your email address is always hidden from spammers and everyone else…If you are about to forward this or any other mail I send, will you please do me the courtesy and delete any visible address before you hit the send icon…

  35. I use only Bcc when forwarding mail, but when I send to many recipients I use a special program for that. I send email to 235 members of our sporting club, and use a special email sender program, which lets me send a certain number of emails (like 10 or 15) then pause for 10 seconds, then send the next 15, and pause again, until they are all sent. I have a spreadsheet of all members and it pulls the columns I choose for “Hi, (first name) and the column for the email address. Works great, and my ISP does not send me any warning of spaming. Much better than grinding thru email address books.

  36. Unix Pine recognizes “phantom” addresses using the “:;” tail, so manually putting “Undisclosed-Recipients:;” (without the quotes) in the “To:” header works just perfectly. In fact you could put just about ANYTHING  there — for example, “Empty-Address:;” — and it would be accepted!

    Yup, Unix Pine is great  for customization of headers!!!     :)

  37. i found that out by accident 1 time-by forgetting to put my email in “from”! It automatically was sent with “undisclosed Recipients”, when i checked my “sends” Now that may be because “google chrome” does that-not sure–worth a try!!


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