Cc stands for carbon copy which means that whose address appears after the Cc: header would receive a copy of the message. Also, the Cc header would also appear inside the header of the received message.
Bcc stands for blind carbon copy which is similar to that of Cc except that the Email address of the recipients specified in this field do not appear in the received message header and the recipients in the To or Cc fields will not know that a copy sent to these address.
The CC and BCC fields in your email app are similar but serve two very different purposes. Confusing the two can sometimes lead to unfortunate or even embarrassing problems. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about these two methods of sending email, explain the differences between CC and BCC, and demonstrate when each one works best.
What Is CC and BCC
- Stands for “carbon copy.”
- All recipients on the To and CC lines can see each other.
- The best choice for most routine emails.
- Stands for “blind carbon copy.”
- BCC recipients are invisible to all other recipients.
- Convenient for hiding email addresses or certain recipients.
Using CC and BCC in Email
- Secondary or info-only recipients go on the CC line.
- Use when there are no privacy concerns with recipients seeing each other’s email addresses.
- All CC recipients see all email replies.
- If you need to protect email addresses, put all recipients on the BCC line.
- BCC can keep a third party (like a manager) discreetly informed about an email.
- BCC recipients only get the initial email, and are “dropped” from subsequent replies.
- If the BCC recipient replies, he or she is exposed to everyone.
As a general rule, most routine email should be sent with recipients on the To: and CC: lines. The most relevant recipients, or recipients who need to take action on the email should go on the To line, while for-information-only recipients can go on the CC line. You can place everyone on the CC line in situations like when sending a broad communication (like a newsletter) to a number of people at once.
The BCC line is ideal for situations in which you need to protect the privacy of recipients. For example, if you are sending an email to a large number of people who do not know one another, you can place all of them on the BCC line. You can also use BCC to let a third party (like a manager) discreetly see your email. The To and CC recipients will not be aware of the BCC recipient.
There is a danger in using the BCC line in this way, though, because the BCC field may not behave how you expect:
- After the initial email is sent, the BCC recipients are dropped from and any all subsequent replies, so they only see the first message.
- If a BCC recipient chooses to Reply All, every recipient on the email will see this person appear on the thread. If you BCC’d a manager and the rest of the recipients were unaware this person was on the email thread, it can represent a violation of trust and is sometimes considered poor email etiquette.