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Don’t send attachments to CC and BCC recipients

I’ve been working in a team on a project and now am ready to submit it by email with quite a few attachments.

I want to keep all the team members in the loop, but they obviously don’t need all the attachments as they already have it.

Is there any way to send out this email to everyone but only have the people in the To field receive the attachments but not the ones in CC and BCC?

No CC or BCC Attachments buttonUnfortunately, this is something Outlook cannot do and it’s actually not even Outlook’s fault as it is a limitation of the mail protocol (SMTP) itself. In all fairness, the second C stands for “Copy” so it does exactly as advertised.

Of course, there are still alternative ways to approach this dilemma.

Send a second copy without attachments

Button ForwardThis would be more a solution for informational messages for which you don’t expect a reply or for the people who were in BCC since the To recipient(s) wouldn’t have seen them anyway and a Reply All would not have addressed any of the BCC recipients either.

After sending your original message with attachments, go into your Sent Items folder and Forward the message to the rest. You can now remove the attachments and also write a small note that you forwarded it without attachments so people won’t mail you back with “You forgot the attachments!”.

In the original message, you might also want to include the names and or addresses of the people you CC-ed with an additional message for full disclosure reasons.

Extra tip: You can also fill the “Have replies sent to” field with additional addresses of the people you “CC-ed” via the second copy to include them when a recipient presses “Reply”.

  • Outlook 2003 and previous
    Press the Options… button while composing.
  • Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016
    tab Options-> button Direct Replies To

Send links to the attachments

Button HyperlinkA more ideal solution to the above could be to place the attachments on a (secure) location the main recipient(s) has (have) also access to. This can be a network share, a corporate website solution (such as SharePoint) or an FTP-server or one of the many file sharing web sites which are available today such as OneDrive and DropBox.

You’d then only provide the links to these documents and files within your email. The people who need to read it can download them on demand.

If not all the people in CC and/or BCC may have access to this resource, you might want to add a note to your message that the files and links are only intended for people in the To line.

If the location is a network share, it is very easy to quickly create shortcuts to these files via drag & drop with the right mouse button.

Let the recipients deal with it

Button Remove AttachmentFor most scenarios, I’m in this camp myself. When people want/need a copy, they get exactly that: A full blown copy of the original in all its glory.

In that case, I don’t care how many attachments it has as long as the recipients are allowed to receive them. If the attachments are “for To eyes only”, I send a second message.

If the CC or BCC recipients feel they only need to keep the text and not the attachments, it is easy enough for them to remove it themselves.

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