To Cc or Bcc a Meeting Request

Last reviewed on August 12, 2013   —  53 comments

Former Outlook MVP Jay Harlow provided this information in a newsgroup posting:

In Microsoft Outlook, making someone an ‘Optional’ attendee is the same as Cc’ing that person. Making someone an ‘Resource’ attendee is the same as Bcc’ing that person.

To CC (or BCC) someone to a meeting

To CC someone to a meeting, you can use one of three methods to place the address in the Optional attendee field. (To BCC, use the Resources field and see the Notes, below.)

Use the Scheduling Assistant to select invitees

1. Select the Attendee Availability tab (Outlook 98/2000), Scheduling tab (Outlook 2002/2003), or Scheduling Assistant (Outlook 2007/2010)

Click in the Attendance column, and change the attendance for the person to Optional Attendee. Choose Resource if you want the person BCC’d.

2. On the Scheduling Assistant page, click the Add Attendees button to open the address book dialog and select invitees.

3. You can also click the To button on the Appointment page to open the address book dialog and put the person in the Optional (or Resource) list.

Forward as an iCal

Another method for BCC'ing invitees is to forward the meeting as an iCal. Add the attendees to the message BCC field. When the invitees accept or decline the invitation, the organizer will receive the response.


The Sender will see the Resource names in the To field of the meeting request, but when they click the To button, the addresses added as Resources will be in the Resources field.

Resources will be listed in the Location field – the sender will need to delete the BCC’d names from the Location field. If the Location field is empty, type in a location, otherwise Outlook will add the Resources back to the Location field.

Open meeting requestThis screen shot shows what the recipients see. If someone is CC’d, their name or address would be in the Optional field.

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

53 responses to “To Cc or Bcc a Meeting Request”

  1. Mark

    The problem with using location as a BCC is that it isn't a true hidden email address. I've looked at the underlying code and the email address for all locations does indeed show up in the email push. Also this only works if you use the lookup button first because it has to add each address to mail to in the To box anyway.

  2. Noor

    You are the best, you saved my day thanks soooooooo much

  3. Pierre

    Very helpful, thanks a lot !!!!

    This function is available in Lotus (to inform but not to invite someone) but not in MS Outlook.
    Nice solution to use this missing function!

  4. Peter Jakobsen

    Am I correct if I assume the "optional"choice is not really of any value and more a left over from "cc" in mailing?
    At least in my outlook 2010 you can't see if you're optional or required unless you open up the invite in its own window. No one does that were I work, as they can see all other information in the preview window of an invite and even accept or decline here...
    Would have been a smart feature, if it was clearly visible in the preview....

  5. Angie

    Will the response tracking feature still work?

  6. Lisa

    I have a group of contacts that I always send meeting requests to. I'd like to always make them "optional", but is there a way to set that up automatically without going into the "to" field each time to do it?

  7. Richard nicholls

    I have tried the above and works well. Except on one persons computer when someone accepts a meeting they always show up in Attendee and Optional. Always show up twice. Not sure why.

  8. mantrababy

    Forward as iCal method is great except it does not work for Blackberry devices (they cannot open the attachment on their Blackberry phone to view the invitation, let alone "Accept" or "Decline").

  9. Angie

    A large batch of the email addresses I put into teh resource box later appaered in the optional box. Why would this happen?

  10. Rathan

    I want to fetch recipients from "To:" in schedule meeting, please help me with a answer.
    Thank you in advance.

  11. J

    I often send meeting requests to a group (i.e. all staff-headquarters), but when each recipient accepts the request individually, they are automatically listed as optional in the request. So, if I then send an update to the group, those people think they are now optional attendees - and it confuses those who have not sent a response as why they're not listed individually on the update.

    I've tried not requesting responses, but many people send them anyway. I've also tried deleting the individual names from the updates, but people then receive a cancellation notice causing even more confusion. Would the BCC/resources option be a solution to this problem? If individuals send a response (even if not requested), would they show up as optional or would they remain anonymous?

    As of now, I've started sending an entirely new calendar request with the updated materials, but that is confusing as then there are two items on each person's calendar for the same meeting.

    Any ideas of how to handle this? Thank you!

  12. Kristen

    I have an Access 2010 database to keep track of my team's cross-training sessions. I added some VBA coding to display an Outlook meeting invitation (Outlook 2010) with the session particulars. The session instructor(s) and participant(s) are required attendees; the supervising manager is an optional attendee.

    The invite displays fine at first, but I've noticed something strange happening when Outlook resolves the email addresses. If the addresses are resolved while the main invite tab is showing, the manager gets converted from an optional attendee to a required attendee (if the addresses are resolved while I'm on the scheduling assistant tab or when the global address list is open, the manager remains an optional attendee).

    Is this a bug? Is there a way to keep this from happening?


  13. Ashley Eldredge

    I tried the method of marking everyone as a resource and keeping the location I specified. I sent it out to over 300+ persons. But now I don't get accepts/declines or tentative responses. I called someone outside my company that said they couldn't attend and they declined. I never saw the response. I'm thinking the calendar item broke because there are too many people. Help.

  14. Thank

    Excellent tip! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Traci Salzer

    How do you copy an individual on an Outlook Invitation without inviting them? We 'invite' participants to training but want to copy their management.

  16. C

    Diane this does not work. I invited people both inside and outside of the company to an event and only got accepts/declines from my colleagues. I know that people outside the company received the invitation but when they accepted/declined, I did not get the response.

    In short: You will not receive accept/declines from external emails if you use "bcc".

  17. Cathy Loughead

    Is there a limit to the number of invitees that you can add as a resource?

  18. Cathy Loughead


    Does it makes a difference if it’s being sent on behalf of another

  19. Elle Vi

    I found a major flaw in this method. A delegate receiving the invitation for a delegatee will see the full list of recipients.

  20. Elle Vi

    Sorry but that's not my point.

    What I'm trying to say is that the delegate will see all the recipients of the meeting invitations, even if they were added as resources and the location manually set to some random text. This defeats the purpose of this method because a few users (those receiving the message as delegates) will be able to see who the recipients are.

    This resources method to hide recipients is flawed.

    I tested this using different versions of Outlook, Exchange, and Office 365.

  21. Elle Vi

    Thanks for your reply but you still missed my point.
    I'll give you an example.
    Person A sends an invitation as described in your article, adding person B and person C as resources and removing the location pre-populated entries with some random text.
    Person D receives the invite because is a delegate of person C.
    Person D sees all recipients (person B and C) of the invitation.
    That's why using this method to hide recipients is NOT GOOD!
    The delegates of the recipients (and please note I'm talking about the recipients and not the organizer) will be able to see the entire list of recipients!!!!!!

  22. DiAnna

    Hi. I am sending out an invite to a multiple people but I don't want them to know who else is being invited. Is there any way of BCC and calendar invite in Outlook 2007. Or do I have to send each recipent their own invite? Thanks.

  23. Y R

    Just realized that if you propose a new time that you do get to see other attendees even tough they were BCC through Resource, is there a way to conceal it?

  24. Y R

    outlook 2007

    i was sending it from a private domain with imap setting to a gmail account

  25. jim

    I agree with Elle Vi Diane. On the received invite, on the schedluing tab, the attendees email address is available. Not a good option for those who need BCC.

  26. Kay

    i tried sending this as a icalendar invite and the individuals respond to the request. I get an email stating if they accepted or declined, but the tracking in the invitation doesn't update.

  27. Ryan Pinke (@Pinke2020)

    I have been using to do mass invites and keeps everyone's email address separate. Then I get a dashboard to see who's calendar the event is on and can customize my marketing based on that. In addition I found my webinar attendance rate is over 75% based on the sign ups since it is on their calendar. Plus it works with Constant Contact & Mailchimp. One other great features is it is mail client agnostic. Outlook and Gmail invites appear as native invites to the users without having to download an ICS file.

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