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How to Use BCC in Email – A Walk-Through Guide (2021)

How to use BCC

Want to learn about the BCC email feature and how to use it?

In this article, I’ll show you how to use the BCC function in Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, and Apple Mail correctly.

I’ll then explain when you should use the blind carbon copy field and four critical problems associated with the BCC method.

And super important…

The BCC address field is a completely outdated approach to send emails to multiple recipients.

That’s why I’ll also give you a really easy and effective way to send emails to multiple people.

This Article Contains:

(Click on the links below to jump to specific sections.)

The Basics

However, before we get started, let’s get familiar with a few terms commonly associated with the BCC feature.

Here’s a Breakdown of the Terms I’ll Be Using in This Article:

  1. Recipient: the person who receives your email.
  2. Primary recipient: refers to the main addressee of your email (the person addressed in the To field).
  3. BCC/CC recipient: additional recipients who receive copies of your email (they are not addressed in the To field but the CC or BCC fields).
  4. Email list/mailing list: a large group of email addresses to which you send an email.

Now that you know what these terms mean, let’s dive deeper into what BCC means.

What Is BCC in Email?

The abbreviation BCC stands for “Blind Carbon Copy” or “Blind Courtesy Copy,” and it’s a feature that helps you send an email to multiple email addresses. The term “carbon copy” comes from carbon paper used to make copies of original documents.

When you enter a recipient email address in the BCC field, that address receives a blind copy of the email. And the primary recipient of the BCC’d mail will not be aware of the BCC’d recipient.

But wait, what does that mean?
In simpler terms, an address included in the BCC field is “blind” or hidden from every other email recipient. Although a BCC’d recipient can see the direct recipient, they can’t tell who else was BCC’d in the email.

However, while your BCC recipient can’t tell who else has been added, they will know that they were BCC’d in the email.

The BCC label lets them know that they weren’t the only BCC recipients of your email.

Here’s what the primary recipient would see:

Here’s what a BCC’d recipient would see:

We’ve now covered what BCC is.

However, there’s another feature, CC, that also lets you email multiple recipients.
Let’s see how they differ from each other.

How Is BCC Different from CC?

Almost every email program or mail app comes with a Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) feature and a Carbon Copy (CC) feature. While both these features help you send an email to additional recipients, they differ in intent.

What makes them different?
The main difference between the BCC field and the CC field lies in the privacy of the recipient.

When you use CC, the email addresses in the CC field are public to all recipients of the email. In other words, CC makes the email addresses viewable to all recipients. That lets everyone know who else received the message.

But with the BCC feature, any email recipient in the BCC field is hidden. While everyone can see who is in the To or CC line (the primary recipient), no one in the To or CC line can see the BCC email address.

Next, let’s see how you can use the BCC feature while sending an email.

How to Use the Blind Carbon Copy Feature (Step-by-Step Guide)

Here’s a walk-through guide on using the BCC field to send emails to multiple email recipients from your computer and Android or iOS mobile device.

I’ll illustrate the process for:

Note: you can usually use these steps as a template for an email service provider like Yahoo Mail or AOL.

1. Microsoft Outlook

Step 1

Log into your email account (or use an alias or alternative email address if you have one). Under the Home tab in the Outlook email window, click on “New Email.”

Step 2

A new message window opens up. To add BCC recipients, select the Options tab on the Menu bar and then click on “BCC.”

Step 3

Click on the “Message” tab in the Menu bar and enter the email address of the primary recipient in the To field.

In the BCC field, type the email address of your BCC recipient.

For multiple addresses or a long list of recipients, you can separate each with a comma, space, or by pressing the enter key.

Now, you can compose the message and then click “Send” when done.

Note: Peter is the intended recipient of this email, and I’ve included John in the BCC line.

In this case, while John will know that he’s a BCC recipient and Peter is the primary recipient, Peter won’t know that I’ve sent a copy of the message to John. 

2. Gmail

Step 1 

Log in to your email account and click “Compose” to open the Compose window.

Step 2

Enter the email address of the original recipient in the To field of the new email. You can separate multiple addresses for a long list of recipients using a comma, space, or by pressing the enter key.

To add recipients to the BCC list, click on the Bcc button on the header, as shown below.

Step 3

Once you’ve clicked the Bcc button, the BCC field will appear. Add the email ID of each hidden email recipient in the field. Now you can compose the message and click “Send.”

Note: Here, I’ve included Peter as the intended recipient, and I’ve put John on the BCC line.

On receiving my email, Peter won’t know that I’ve sent a copy of the message to John. However, John will see Peter as my primary recipient and himself as a BCC recipient.

3. Apple Mail

Step 1

Log in to your Apple email ID online on icloud.com.

If you’re using an Apple device, launch the built-in macOS email client and click the New Email icon.

Step 2

In the New Message window that appears, click on the drop-down arrow located at the top and select the “Bcc Address Field.” The BCC field will now be displayed in your message header.

Step 3

Enter the email address of your primary recipient in the To field.

In the BCC field, type the email address of your recipient.

If you’ve got multiple addresses to send to or a long list of recipients, you can separate each with a comma, space, or by pressing the enter key.

Now, draft your message and then click on the Send Mail icon when finished.

Note: In this email, Peter is the intended recipient. And John is a part of the BCC line.

Here, John will know that he is a BCC recipient for this email and that Peter is the primary recipient. However, Peter would be unaware that I’ve sent a copy of the message to John.

Now that you know how to use the BCC field in Gmail, Outlook, and Apple Mail, I’ll cover a couple of scenarios when it’s perfect to use the BCC field:

When Should You Use the BCC Field?

Here are two scenarios in which the BCC field is helpful in an email chain:

1. When You Want to Maintain Privacy

BCC helps protect the privacy of your secondary recipients by keeping those email addresses confidential.

Alternatively, you can use it if you simply don’t want the recipients to know who else was added to the communication loop.

This can happen when:

  • You are sending emails to a list of multiple recipients, such as the members of a club.
  • Your boss or office colleague wants to stay in the loop about an email conversation with a customer, without the customer’s knowledge.
  • Your client wants to receive a notification when you send emails to a third party without their email address being disclosed.
  • You are sending a forwarded email to a group and need to keep your boss or colleague informed.
  • You are sending emails to external recipients (recipients outside your Google Workspace organization) and need to keep the identity of internal recipients (recipients within your organization) private.

In these cases, it’s helpful to use a BCC list.

Using the BCC email feature helps you maintain the privacy of your recipients because:

  • Primary and CC’d recipients of the email can’t see recipient addresses in the BCC field.
  • Your BCC’d recipients can’t see the email IDs of other undisclosed recipients in the BCC list. They’ll only see their email address in the BCC line.

2. When Someone Has Introduced You to Someone

When it comes to introductory emails, it’s polite to include the person who introduced you in your response mail. This notifies them that you’ve followed up on the introduction.

However, adding them to the To or CC list makes them a recipient of all incoming messages to the original email.

By BCC’ing them, they’ll know that you’ve responded to the introduction. You can simply forward all relevant future emails to them if they require updates on your progress.

However, the BCC feature isn’t foolproof and has some drawbacks.
Let’s look at the major issues you may face when using this method.

4 Key Problems with the BCC Method

Here are four problems commonly associated with using the BCC method:

1. Unintentional Reply All

A BCC’d recipient may accidentally click “Reply to All” instead of “Reply” when responding to your original message.

This broadcasts their response to every address in the email thread, resulting in an embarrassing breach of privacy for the sender and irrelevant emails for the recipients.

2. Creates Suspicion among BCC’d Recipients

As all your BCC email addresses know that they aren’t the only recipients of your message, it could create a sense of suspicion. They’ll start questioning who else was copied to this mail, making it an inappropriate tool for formal conversations.

3. No Personalization

Whether it’s BCC in the Outlook email client, Gmail, or any other email provider, the BCC feature doesn’t allow you to personalize your emails. When composing an email, the original sender can only personalize it for your primary recipient.

If you add the names of your BCC’d recipients to the email thread, they’re no longer hidden!

But without personalization, your BCC’d recipients will receive an email that omits their names and needs.

It’s far harder to make a connection with someone by simply copying them onto a generic email or adding them to an email conversation that wasn’t written specifically for them.

Additionally, adding them to the email conversation in secret could make them wonder why you added them in the first place.

4. Error-Prone

Manually adding tons of email IDs to the same email is a tedious and error-prone process.

You can:

  • Misspell an email address
  • Forget to add someone
  • Mistakenly add someone as the primary recipient
  • Add a BCC recipient in the CC field

The list is endless!

But is there a way to address all these issues and still benefit from using the BCC field?
Of course, there is!

Just use GMass.

A Better Approach: How GMass Helps You Privately Send Mass Emails

Using BCC in an email thread is useful when you want to maintain the privacy of recipients or when you want a colleague to stay informed of a conversation you’re having with someone.

However, using BCC is a risky move as it has many drawbacks, especially when it comes to email etiquette. Instead, using a tool like GMass is your best bet when you want to email a large group of different people separately.

What Is GMass?

GMass is powerful email outreach software that makes it incredibly simple to send bulk emails to multiple recipients from your Gmail inbox.

Its mass email features have made it a popular Chrome extension used by employees of large companies like Google, LinkedIn, Uber, and Twitter.

Individuals in charge of social societies such as clubs, schools, and churches, and anyone else can use GMass to send out mass emails to targeted audiences.

Essentially, if you send bulk email campaigns to multiple people, then GMass can help you.

And it’s a lot easier than using email BCC!

When you use GMass to send mass emails to multiple recipients, each sent email is delivered as an individual email. This way, your recipients won’t be able to see other recipients’ email addresses. (Learn more about this here.)

Why Using GMass Is Better Than Using the BCC Option

Here are three reasons why it’s better to use GMass over BCC emails:

1. Add Tons of Email Recipients in Seconds

Manually adding lots of people as recipients to your bulk email campaigns in a BCC or CC address list can be incredibly tiring. It’s also error-prone, as you may forget to add someone or mistakenly add the wrong ID to your email.

Fortunately, GMass gives you two convenient, error-free ways to include tons of recipients in seconds:

a. Use GMass’ Build Email List Feature

The Build Email List feature is GMass’ powerful way to identify email recipients automatically. Instead of manually searching through your address book, just enter a search term, and GMass will instantly pull up all the relevant addressee details from your email inbox!

Here’s a detailed guide on how to use this feature.

b. Use Google Contacts

If you’re using Google Contacts, you can select the contacts you want as recipients, and GMass automatically adds them to your address field. It’s a far more straightforward method than manually going through lists of email addresses to identify the right people.

2. Send Personalized Emails

A major issue with BCC’d emails is that they’re devoid of any personalization.

Your only option is to create a general email for all the recipients or send your BCC recipients an email that only addresses the primary recipient.

As you can’t address each BCC’d recipient personally, you’re sacrificing your chances of making a personal connection with them.

Some of them might even mark your email as spam!

Fortunately, GMass offers settings for the automatic personalization of your emails.

You can add email personalization variables, such as:

  • {FirstName}
  • {LastName}
  • {Company}

GMass uses the recipient’s email address and other data to find the personalization values and automatically adds them to each email addressed to that recipient.

It also provides you other features such as:

1. Auto First Name Detection — the software accurately auto-detects someone’s first name from their email address. Using the {auto-first} personalization variable, you can automatically insert a recipient’s first name anywhere in your email.

2. Include personalized links — GMass will help you automatically include customized links or URLs in your emails.

For example, if you have to send unique files to each recipient in an email list, sending email attachments isn’t possible. But you can host these files in your server or a cloud drive like Dropbox or Google Drive and send customized links to those files through GMass.

3. Include personalized images — you can personalize an email by automatically including images unique to each recipient.

4. Customize entire paragraphs of text — you can also auto-personalize large blocks of text in your email message.

5. Add multi-word names — in addition to {FirstName} and {LastName}, you can use {Name1}, {Name2}, {Name3}, and {Name4} for multi-word names. Name1 corresponds to the first word in the name, Name2 to the second word, and so on.

3. Easily Schedule Your Emails

You’ll naturally want your emails to reach the people’s inboxes at the right time.

And with GMass’ scheduling feature, this becomes a breeze.

You can craft your emails in advance and decide when to send them. When the time arrives, GMass will automatically send the emails for you. This way, you don’t have to be online when your emails go out.

You can also choose from a set of default times or enter a custom date and time to schedule your emails. If you need to reschedule your emails, you can find the related emails in your Drafts folder and edit them there.

Final Thoughts

Using the BCC feature to send an email to multiple recipients is a thing of the past. It’s impractical, time-consuming, and risky.

Why settle for that when you have modern tools to do the job for you?

With innovative mail-merge programs like GMass, you can quickly draft, send, and manage mass emails in seconds.

Why not try GMass today and get the benefits of the BCC field and more with none of its drawbacks?

  1. Can you still maintain the privacy element? Looks like all recipients will be able to see each others’ email addresses.

    1. Hi Shomi,

      You don’t need to use BCC when using GMass; our software sends your message as an individual email to each of the recipients you have in the “TO” field. As long as you press the RED GMass button, your contacts will not be exposed to each other since each email will only be addressed to 1 recipient. So if you have 50 addresses in the TO field, 50 individual emails will be sent for each of those addresses.

      You can test this out by opening a new compose window and add a couple of email addresses you have access to in the TO field. Draft out a test campaign and click the red GMass button. What GMass will do is send an individual email for each of those addresses in the TO field.

  2. Hello
    I need to send gmass to several people, for which I am using google sheets. But I need to send that same email to one BCC and one CC email also.
    So does that mean that the bcc and cc will receive all the emails send thru to? There are 19 emails.

  3. Curious why so many people have this incorrect. “However, take note that when a Bcc recipient “replies to all,” their recipient status will suddenly be exposed to the rest of the recipients. If you believe a “Bcc” recipient may respond, consider using “Cc” instead to ensure transparency.” This is from another Internet article, but you state something similar. There should never be a Reply All when the BCC list is only used. Your email client and the RFCs if they follow them should only allow for and give you the option to Reply, never Reply all, because it is impossible to Reply to All because there is only 1 sender. Nobody is magically revealed to anybody. That is the point of BCC as well. You can ONLY reply to the original Sender and nobody else, hence, there is no Reply All option. You shouldn’t be mixing CC and BCC email addresses at the same time. Your method of sending mass emails isn’t a BCC method, it is actually sending a CC message one at a time from an original sender. These are different ideas.

  4. Hi sll. Ok, so is it then safe to say that once I use gmass and sending emails to 50 recepients, and one would reply all, that the email addresses of the other recepients wont be exposed?

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