ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to email undisclosed recipients using Gmail

Updated on December 9, 2010

Undisclosed recipient lists are a very powerful feature of an email client, but perhaps one that only the power user generally knows about. Why would you want to send a message to undisclosed recipients? Well, the reasons are plentiful and varied, but to understand you need to know what it means.

Often in business, and sometimes in our personal lives, it is necessary to send an email to a large number of people. While many might immediately put all the names into the "to" field, or perhaps the "cc" field, the problem with this is that it exposes the addresses to everyone who receives the email. If you are a business then you can get into a lot of trouble for letting people see the address list of your customers, and if you do this to your friends you stand a chance of annoying them. If other people get their email address they may use it, when you purposefully hadn't given it out. Worse, many trojans and viruses target the address list of users' computers and so an ill advised formatting error could lead to your email recipients getting a lot more than they bargained for.

The key to avoiding such a disaster is to use the BBC field. CC stands for "carbon copy" and stems from the days where a secretary might put carbon paper into the typewriter to produce an exact replica of a letter and send it to a second person. When email came around, it became possible to send one "letter" to vast numbers of people but the term stuck. BCC stands for "blind carbon copy" and that blindness is what you want to achieve. When you BCC a message each individual gets the email, but none of them have any idea who else received it. In fact, they may not even know they weren't the only recipient.

If you use gmail to email people in this way, you can choose to put a single address in the "to" field, or to leave it blank. If you leave it blank, the recipients will see that it was sent to "undisclosed recipients".

Another powerful feature in gmail is the contacts list. You can set up all the details of the people you know in there, making it easier to add them to the "to", "cc" or "bcc" fields when you send a message. Better still, you can arrange your contacts into groups, and if you regularly want to blind copy the same individuals on messages this is an excellent idea. Here's the step by step detail on how:

  • Go to "contacts" in the leftmost navigation options on the page.
  • Tick the checkbox next to the people you want added to your list.
  • Click the "groups" button at the top of the screen and create a new group with an appropriate name by typing it into the box and then clicking "accept".

All the people you chose should now have the list name in a label attached to their contacts entry, displayed at the right of the screen. You can adjust the list whenever you like using the "groups" button again, so you can add and remove people at will.

When you want to send an email to the entire list, compose it as usual in the email page, but instead of putting anyone in the "to" box, click the "bcc" option below it. The first time you click it a new box appears. Click it again for a popup list of your contacts. There is a drop down list here that will let you select the list you created earlier. Choose "all" when given the option, and everyone you have in your list will be added to the BCC field for your message.

Hit "send" like you usually would, and you're done! One email, one list, nobody any the wiser about everyone else's email addresses.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      When i send email from my yahoo to Gmail on BCC, to all the people and to my 3emails, the adresses appear.. wow.. no privacy? why is that? BCC means privacy.. please help


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)