Remove the To field from an Outlook message form

Sometimes we get some interesting questions and the solution, while not useful to everyone, is worth mentioning. This is one of those questions.

I must use the BCC most of the time because of confidentiality reasons. I have made mistakes a couple of times when I entered the email addresses of more than one recipient in the "To" field, allowing all to see everyone's address. This is a serious breach of confidentially in my work and I would like to hide the "To" field.

There are two ways to solve this problem - since the user needs to do this with almost every message, using VBA to ask "Are you sure you have this addressed correctly?" should be enough to remind the user to check the address fields but it can be highly annoying to respond to the alert every time a message is sent. The second method, a custom form with the To and CC fields removed, also requires some thought (remembering to select it) but it is less annoying.

The VBA solution:

Copy and paste the code from this page into your ThisOutlookSession project. To do this, click in the text box, Select All using Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C to copy.

In Outlook, press Alt+F11 to open the VBA editor and expand Microsoft Outlook Objects then double click on ThisOutlookSession to open it in the editing pane and Ctrl+V to paste the code.

Private Sub Application_ItemSend(ByVal Item As Object, Cancel As Boolean)
	Dim intRes As Integer
	Dim strMsg As String
	strMsg = "Verify you used the BCC field before sending"
	intRes = MsgBox(strMsg, vbYesNo + vbDefaultButton1, "Confirm Send")
	If intRes = vbNo Then
		Cancel = True
	End If
End Sub

The Custom form solution:

Note: This is currently very generalized because each version of Outlook has the commands in a different location. You need to know a little bit about creating custom forms to use this instructions.  Or download the form I created: BCC_only.oft You'll need to right click and choose Save Target as to save it, then browse to it from Outlook's Choose Form, User template in File system dialog. Save it by publishing it to your Inbox.

Video Tutorial (created in Outlook 2010)

  1. Open a new message form and show the BCC field (so the CC field is also visible) then go into Design mode.
  2. Delete the To and CC fields from the form. Drag the BCC field from the Field chooser to the address area of the form.
  3. Publish the form in your Inbox.
  4. Choose it by going to the Actions menu while in the Inbox.

Note 1: This removes the To and CC fields from the form. If you click BCC to open the address book, you can then use the To and CC fields - but you will not see the addresses on the message!

Note 2: You can't set this form as the default for new messages and because controls (the to and cc fields in this case) are affected, it only works if you publish it.