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I'm one of today's best-selling computer book writers, with more than 15 million books in print.

This website keeps you up-to-date on my books, and your computers. Each week, I answer a reader's question on-line.

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Using “Blind Carbon Copy” when sending e-mail

to_ccIt’s considered bad e-mail etiquette to send or forward e-mail to friends by adding their addresses to the To: or Cc: areas. The recipients probably don’t know each other, and they may wish to protect their privacy by not revealing their e-mail addresses to strangers. (Messages are often forwarded many times, leaving everybody’s e-mail address in the hands of strangers.)

to_cc_bcc The solution? Place the recipients’ addresses in your e-mail program’s Bcc: field, not the To: field or the Cc. “Bcc” stands for “Blind Carbon Copy.” Everybody listed in the Bcc: box still receives the message, just as if they had been listed in the To: or Cc: boxes. However, the message’s recipients won’t be able to see the e-mail addresses of all the other recipients. Most e-mail programs list an option for Bcc: near or below the Cc: area.

Unfortunately, Windows XP’s Outlook Express doesn’t usually show the Bcc: box as an option when sending mail. To turn on the Bcc line in Outlook Express, follow these steps:

  1. Open any message stored in your Inbox.
  2. Choose All Headers from that message’s View menu.
  3. Close the message.

That’s it. You probably won’t see anything exciting happen.

But the next time you try to send or forward a message, you should be able to see the Bcc spot, ready for use. The Bcc area should then be available for use on all your future messages.

If, by some twist of Computer Fate, the Bcc: area suddenly disappears, repeat the three steps listed above to put it back in place.

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