E-mail courtesy: use the “Bcc” option when e-mailing more than a few people

The Bcc field is your friendWhen you send or forward an e-mail to a group of people, please be courteous and use the “Bcc” field instead of the “To” or “Cc” field — unless you specifically want your recipients to know who received the e-mail.

If you are forwarding an e-mail with a list of recipients already on it, please be kind and delete the prior list of recipients.

It is so annoying to receive an e-mail that has a half page of e-mail names and addresses on it, and doubly so when you are using a mobile device with a small screen.

Reasons to use the “Bcc” field:

  1. Common courtesy.  Don’t make your recipients wade through a long list of names and e-mail addresses before they get to your actual message.
  2. Privacy.  Maybe everyone on your list doesn’t want the world to know their e-mail address.
  3. Spam protection: (of sorts).  If one of your recipients has a virus or malware, the entire address list may get automatically spammed.
  4. The (sometimes) dreaded “Reply All” person.  Protects the recipients from a “Reply All” response.

Of course there are valid business reasons as well.  Sometimes you want to include a recipient that the other person doesn’t need to know about (think paper trail).

When you forward an e-mail, you should always do some basic due diligence.  Also—this is really important—please be cognizant of the other person’s time.

Here’s some help in finding and using the Bcc field in Outlook and Outlook.com.

Lastly, just in case you are not familiar with the term, Bcc explained (for those of you too young to remember typewriters and carbon paper.)