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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.
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. 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.