Photo courtesy of Rahego from Creative Commons
Bcc, or blind carbon copy, is a handy email tool that allows a sender to copy recipients without their names or addresses appearing on the email. The term “blind carbon copy” dates from the time when people used carbon paper in a typewriter to make additional copies. The letter or memo would state who was receiving copies of the document, but extra copies could be made and distributed blindly.
There are several instances when a sender might want to make use of this feature.
- Privacy – None of the recipients will see the email addresses anyone on the Bcc list. If you don’t want any of your recipients to see who else is getting the email, list them all as Bcc.
- Spam-prevention – Since Bcc doesn’t generate a long mailing list, it offers some protection from viruses that gather email addresses from the cache folder.
- Confidentiality – A copy of the email can be sent to another person secretly. The sender might want to copy a colleague, boss or manager without the listed recipients knowing.
- To prevent accidental “Reply All” – The reply won’t go to anyone listed on the Bcc list. If all recipients are Bcc, the reply will only go to the original sender.
It’s fairly straightforward to use the Bcc feature. Email software varies somewhat, but you need to click on the Bcc button and enter the addresses just as you would for a regular recipient. For example, in Outlook, you click on the “To” or “Cc” button and a new window will open that allows you to enter addresses as either regular recipients, Cc or Bcc. You have to have at least one email address in the Cc or To field. If you want all of the addresses to be blind, you can enter your own address in this field.