Software

E-mail multiple recipients without sharing e-mail addresses

Don't share e-mail addresses with the crowd. When sending e-mail to several people, use this trick to hide their addresses.

Sharing e-mail addresses is frowned upon, but that's exactly what you do every time you send an e-mail to more than one person -- whether you're creating or forwarding the message. Everyone who receives the e-mail has the address for every other recipient.  Within the same organization, or an intimate group of friends and family, that's okay. However, it isn't okay if you're sending a promotion or special discount to 100 clients who don't know one another. Depending on the nature of your business, you could lose your job.One quick option is to send the e-mail to yourself and bbc all the recipients. Doing so hides all e-mail addresses but yours. The downside of this technique is that bcc messages tend to get snagged by spam filters. That means your mail might never reach some of the recipients.

A more dependable way to send an e-mail to a list of undisclosed recipients follows:

  1. Open the New button's drop-down list and select Contact.
  2. Type Undisclosed recipients in the Full Name control. You don't have to use that name; give your list a meaningful name that describes the recipients or the message's intent.
  3. Enter your e-mail address in the E-mail field. october2008officeblog11fig1r.jpg
  4. Click Save And Close.
  5. Create a new e-mail message.
  6. Click the To button and choose Undisclosed recipients.
  7. Click To and highlight the necessary addresses.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Enter your message and click Send.

Remember that the name you give the undisclosed contact (step 2) will show in the e-mail's header, so give that name a bit of creative and careful thought.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

31 comments
gregg
gregg

Good grief, just use the mail merge feature in Word in conjunction with Outlook, or use OpenOffice and its mail merge feature. You can send a personalized email to hundreds of people and each email is sent to one email address.

lpretorius
lpretorius

Very poorly written and explained - idea was to create a Distribution List - titled "Undisclosed Recipients", Then add names to list and then mail to all + BCC the list. - I think?!

xavier.merlet
xavier.merlet

Can the author give us an update with a solution pls?

ishull
ishull

The instructions as written in the original note are incorrect. Please correct this before sending it out again.

sapna_mj
sapna_mj

This tip doesn't work at all. Firstly, it says that "Undisclosed recipients" should only be typed in the 'Full Name' section - whereas the fact is that it should also be typed at 'Display as' section, so that in the header it won't show the email address. Secondly, even if we did that, the other person can still find out the email id of Undisclosed recipient. Because everybody is smart, if we right click on the 'undisclosed recipient' and check the outlook properties, it will show the ....so called undisclosed recipients' email address and everybody will know who this undisclosed recipient is. SO....THIS DEFINITELY DOESN'T WORK.....!!!!

dlandry
dlandry

The description should have said to send the other recipients as blind copies BCC.

basil.cinnamon
basil.cinnamon

So you have yourself as the "undisclosed recipient" in the To line, along with everyone else you have added to the To line. Where's the advertised confidentiality? The only way to blind addresses is to enter them in the bcc field.

amentf
amentf

that this feature is useful in Outlook Express or another specific email package rather than a universal tool? I am not positive, but I do not think an email service such as Yahoo supports this function.

webSebert
webSebert

All you have to do is: 1. In the To: field, use your email address. 2. Use the BCC field for everyone else. That is it.

reader2
reader2

Seems like this (attempts) to tell you to do it the exact same way that it tells you NOT to do it because of spam filters - obviously this tip should have been reviewed the way the other tip suggested reviewing emails before sending! :) I do hope that they clarify - I really was hoping for something other than just sending it to myself and blind cc'ing everyone else.

onsite
onsite

Based on my experience and all other posts, I think the author needs to rewrite the article. The instructions do not produce the desired results and you're still forced to use the BCC method which I thought was what we were trying to avoid in the first place.

Zookz1
Zookz1

Did anyone else get this to work? No matter what I tried, it always showed up all the addresses in the TO field when I received the email. I'm using Outlook 2007. BTW, shouldn't it be BCC, not BBC? Also, if you are using Word, if you right click the second numbered list and choose continue numbering, it would have started with 4 instead of starting over at 1.

Amnezia
Amnezia

Enter ALL the addresses in the Bcc field, and leave the "To:" field blank - when received, the email will show "Undisclosed Recipients" in the "To:" field

TomMerritt
TomMerritt

I created a mail list called A-List, and added myself as the only recipient. I manually BCC everyone else. I've gotten comments thanking me for putting someone or other on my A-List!

She_B_Buggin
She_B_Buggin

I believe what the intent of this was is to show how to create the contact for "Undisclosed Recipients", but what they failed to mention is you put "Undisclosed Recipients" in the 'Display As' portion of the newly created contact, so your own name or e-mail address doesn't show up in the e-mail you're sending. Some programs won't allow a blank "To" field when sending an e-mail, so this would allevieate that; however, unless there's something I'm not aware of, you still have to BCC the recipients to keep their information confidential. Even then, in some cases if one of the recipients does a "Reply All", the addresses will be disclosed, if I'm not mistaken. Sorry I can't be more specific with the programs involved - I do know that Outlook doesn't require an entry in the "To" field, though, in order to send a message. I hope this helps! :o)

reader2
reader2

I agree - I think this article needs to be re-written. I read this a couple weeks ago and when I saw it on today's "best of" topics again, I'd hoped it was fixed. NOPE!!! The body specifically says: "One quick option is to send the e-mail to yourself and bbc all the recipients. Doing so hides all e-mail addresses but yours. The downside of this technique is that bcc messages tend to get snagged by spam filters. That means your mail might never reach some of the recipients." But apparently that is what the technique describes nonetheless, as far as I can tell. Perhaps I will try to contact the author and see if we can get an update.

CTattersall
CTattersall

I couldn't get it to work either. I am using Outlook 2007.

sapna_mj
sapna_mj

I would like to try this.....tivi... thnx

Nairb03101
Nairb03101

I guess that was a while ago that you downloaded GROUP MAIL by Infacta as it is no longer free.

tivi
tivi

Try a great software GROUP MAIL by Infacta It's free and you will be able to send PERSONALIZED mails I use it to send a small weekly newsletter. It takes about 3 seconds to send each individual mail and my friends receive a nice e-mail with a warm welcome as "hello Jane" Just try it.

user support
user support

1 - When sending to co-workers on the same email system, just send as Bcc. If you send to same group, create a distribution list. This maybe where you can change the display name. There is a limitation of approximate 400 recipients using this method. 2 - Create a email resource account to handle replies. Setup a Listserv account to send from. Add recipient emails to a text file (notepad). Upload recipients to Listserv. Send desired email message from Resource Account to Listserv. Wait for message for Listserv asking to confirm your identity. After you confirm, Listserv will send message and follow-up with report on how many messages were sent. 3 - Test these methods by using your own and a few co-workers email addresses and see what is picked up by spam filters. You can then adjust accordingly. 4 - For personal email accounts such as Yahoo or Gmail, you may have to use the Bcc option.

n2iph
n2iph

Create a Contact Group (Windows Mail) or Distribution List (Outlook) and set the name of the group to "Undisclosed Recipients".

She_B_Buggin
She_B_Buggin

This may be a dumb question, but did you put your address in the "E-mail" field? We still use 2003 (SP3), as well... The only other suggestion I have is for you to list the exact steps you did here, and we can try to figure out what might be different. ??? Maybe I forgot to list a step, myself?

jlcopp
jlcopp

I kept trying to follow the instructions, but "Undisclosed recipients" never showed up in my Contacts. I even put "Undisclosed recipients" in the "Display as" box. Then I tried typing in Undisclosed recipients in the "to" box and hit send. Got the message, "MS Outlook does not recognize "undisclosed recipients." I guess my version of Outlook is behind the times - we use Outlook 2003 here.

She_B_Buggin
She_B_Buggin

I'm thinking (watch out) some spam filters might block e-mails that don't have a recipient in the "To" field, and alleviating that was the intention of the original blog. I do know some e-mail programs (AOL?) won't let you send an e-mail without putting an address in the "To" field. Please see my response in the other segment of this blog for more confusing details on what I thought the blogger's intent was. ;o) Also, if you have the same recipients all the time you can create a contact for a group, name that (in Outlook, at least) group as "Undisclosed Recipients" or whatever, and then the individual's e-mail addresses won't show up in the "To" field. Beware, though, because even then, the recipient may be able to expand the "Undisclosed Recipients" in the 'To' field in some programs and see the addresses of the other recipients.

jeffrey.bollman
jeffrey.bollman

I work for a state government agency. Our state is consolidating to one Exchange server/system. On our individual PCs our agency uses OL2007. Our agency has email "bulletins" that are issued from time to time. In the past, (before converting to Exchange), we were able to use an "alias" in both the To: field & From: field when creating & sending distribution lists. The "new" Exchange server/system now prevents this from happening. This action is designed for "transparency," to prevent what appears to be spam type emails from state-related email addresses. I will guess that there is a Group Policy setting in Exchange or Active Directory that blocks the use of an "alias" in place of actual email addresses. OL2007 Solution: =============== 1. Place your own email address in the To: field. 2. Place the distribution list in the Bcc: field. 3. Click Send.

Zookz1
Zookz1

Didn't the original blog state that spam filters might cause problems with BCC messages? From what I can see, the best way to do this would be to address an email to each person individually through a mail merge. Unless someeone else has a better solution...

klwatts
klwatts

Step 7 should read: Click Bcc and highlight the necessary addresses

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