Send a message to several people without revealing their identities to one another

You can create a distribution list to protect the privacy of your recipients, but there's a quicker way if the message is a one-time effort.

When you send an E-mail message to the same group of people, frequently, you probably create a distribution list. Then, you specify the list instead of all the individual addresses. A list is more efficient than specifying each recipient for each message.

A list has a second benefit: It protects the identity of each recipient.

Now, if you happen to be sending just one message to several people but you want to protect their identities, you might create a distribution list, but doing so would be overkill. You don't need a list at all. If you want to send a message to more than one person while protecting the identify of each recipient, send the message to yourself and enter the real recipients in the Bcc control. Bcc stands for blind carbon copy—it's a throwback to the stone age… I mean… an earlier time when people still used typewriters and carbon paper to send letters.  Any recipient entered via the Bcc control will have complete anonymity—no other recipient will see any other names or addresses.

Bcc a quick and easy alternative to creating a distribution list when you'll never use the list again.

Can't find the Bcc control?

If the Bcc box isn't visible in Outlook 2007, click the Message Options tab and click Show Bcc in the Fields group.


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.

Editor's Picks