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Bcc Explained

Thursday, February 17th, 2011 by | Filed Under: E-Mail Help

Paul from Maplewood, MN asks

Why do I sometimes get e-mails that are not addressed to me? In the To: line in the e-mail header is a e-mail address totally different from my own for a different e-mail client.

Why do you get emails that aren’t addressed to you? You’ll be glad to know it isn’t because of anything you’ve done! The answer lies in the Bcc field. This tip describes some the role of the Bcc field and its uses.

The Role of the Bcc Field

The Bcc field in an email client enables you to send an email to anyone, while displaying someone else’s email ID in the To: field. The following image displays an email being sent to


In addition to being sent to, this email will also be sent to,, and because their email IDs are in the Bcc field. When these recipients open the email, they’ll only see the email ID as specified in the To: field. The image below displays the email received by the recipients. Notice that the To field does not display the email IDs stated in the Bcc field.


Enable the Bcc Field

To use the Bcc field, you need to first enable it. In the email program, locate the Bcc link. The name of the link varies one email program to another. For example, in Yahoo! Mail, the Show Bcc link is used, as shown below.


Similarly, in Gmail, the Add Bcc link is used. To see how to add a Bcc field in Microsoft Outlook Express, take a look at at earlier WorldStart tip, Keeping Your Mass Mailing Contacts a Secret is Easy as BCC.

Uses of the Bcc Field

You might be wondering why anyone would bother using the Bcc field. Here are a couple of reasons:

Sending a Mass Mail: Suppose you want to send a Happy Easter email to several people. Instead of writing a personal email to each person, you could send all of them an Easter greeting by putting their names in the Bcc field and addressing the mail to yourself. If you put all their names in the To field, their email addresses will be displayed to everyone in the To list. This might not be appreciated by all recipients as it would be a violation of their privacy.

SPAM: The Bcc field is commonly used by Spammers. If you receive Spam emails, check the To field. If it doesn’t contain your email ID, then the Spammer has put your email address in the Bcc field.

~Rupen Sharma


7 Responses to “Bcc Explained”

  1. Tom says:

    I would like to know if there is a way to keep the addresses that you send to in the Bcc: line in the Sent To file. I sometimes go back to see if I sent an email to a certain person, but there are no addresses in the sent email folder. If you use the To: Cc: lines, the addresses are there to check. I use the Bcc: line all the time, and hardly ever put anything in the To: line.

    • Karen Moore says:

      I use Yahoo mail and sent out all my e-mail using the Bcc field. I do not have to put anything in the “To:” field — yahoo automatically puts my e-mail address in there. The e-mails show up in friends in-boxes saying they’re from me and to “undisclosed recipients”.

      In my sent folder, if I open up an e-mail, I can click on the recipient list and up pops the entire list of who I sent it to. Like you, I sometimes like to go back to see if I sent something to a specific person and Yahoo mail lets me do that.

  2. EDDIE says:

    i look forward to your computer advice everyday, i have learned so much from your advice. thanks to you , i have come a long way with the understanding of how my computer works.thank you very much.. EDDIE IN FLORIDA

  3. Steve says:

    I liked your comment about Bcc. I forward by using Bcc. removing all email addresses that people have sent me. I have asked my friends to remove their friends’ emails address before they forward it on, some do and some don’t. How do I explain the dangers of leaving these addresses?

  4. Errett L "Reb" Allen says:

    I send out “A Thot for the Day” to over 100 people. I use BCC, but in the To Field I put my own address. That way I know that my email has been delivered, since I immediately get my own message back. This serves two purposes: I know my message has been sent, and none of the other addresses are revealed. I have also created a list of E-Mail addresses in my word processor, so I don’t have to type the addresses. I just copy all of them at once to BCC. Since my address is at the top of the list, I just select it, hit Ctrl+x, and copy it into the To line. This saves lots of time, and assures that I have not left anyone out.

    Like Eddie above, I too really appreciate your tips, and read them every day. Keep up the good work.


  5. Barb says:

    Worldstart, I love you. I’ve been receiving tips from you for years. I learn something each time I open one of your newsletters. Thank you so much. Barb

  6. Dianne says:

    Thank you so much for all your valuable tips and help..So very much appreciated by all

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