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How to hide recipient details in Outlook and Gmail

If you send emails to a group of people who don't know each other you might like to ensure you keep each recipient’s email address private from the other recipients. This is commonly known as emailing to ‘undisclosed recipients’.

A good example could be when you are sending your clients a company newsletter or invites to a company event.

If they don’t know each other you could upset a few people if you share their information without their prior agreement.

How to send an email to a group of recipients without showing all the email addresses

In this post I'm going to share with you how to make sure you don't upset anyone by sharing their private information with all of the recipients of your email.

I hear way too often, people telling me that they've done this and they've gotten into trouble and I don't want it to be you!

Creating the email

So, let's cover what to do if we were creating a new email.

First start a new email message.

Now the last thing you'd want to do is copy and paste everybody's email addresses into the To field or the CC field because when people receive the message they can actually see all their email addresses have been popped into either of those fields. Instead, click on the Options tab and click onto the BCC button.

Turn on BCC field

BCC stands for ‘Blind Courtesy Copy’ although, some people call it Blind Carbon Copy’. I think the “blind” bit is the bit that we're kind of focusing on here. This is the area where you will enter the email addresses for the recipients of your message.

Now insert your email address (only) into the To field. A lot of people do this so that when people receive the message, it will only show your email address and of course, it's come from you anyway, so it's no big deal, right?

BCC field in Outlook

[Optional]. If this was an agenda of some kind and people did need to actually want to see who was going be there, it would be fine to add these people’s names into the message body. Their private information is still safe, only their names are shared.

What the email recipients see

 Here’s an example of what the recipients see when they receive the message in Outlook.

And what the message looks like in Gmail. As you can see, there is no way that others can actually see the email addresses that were placed in the BCC field. All they see is the address of the Sender, in this case Anne’s email address.

So, that's going to keep you safe and it’s going to keep your recipients information safe, AND it looks very professional as well when people can see that you are actually protecting their private information.

 And if you use Gmail, just Compose a new message and you click BCC to use the BCC field and do exactly the same thing to get the same result.
Gmail BCC

I hope you found this helpful.

It's really important to us that we keep you safe. So, if you've never seen this before I’m hoping this will be super helpful for any group emails in the future.

In fact, what I would suggest you do is maybe leave the BCC field turned on. It may act as a reminder to ask yourself, “should I actually be using the BCC field?”. Better safe than sorry, right?

 So remember, placing email addresses in the BCC field is an excellent way to make sure that the email addresses of all of the recipients are kept private AND everyone remains happy.

Sharyn is an expert trainer.  She became the first certified Microsoft® MOUS Authorised Instructor in New Zealand.

She is endorsed by Microsoft® as a qualified Microsoft® Office Specialist and has more than 20 years of experience in the training industry, developing and delivering technology training workshops. Her approach to taking the “techie-speak” out of technology training has placed her as a preferred supplier to many of New Zealand’s leading organisations.

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