What Do CC and BCC Mean in Emails?

Email is the preferred mode of communication in business, both internally and externally because it’s simple, straightforward, secure, and takes place in real time.

But, as with all forms of communication, there are rules involved in ensuring that communication between you and your recipient is orderly and civilized.

One of those rules of email etiquette involves the use of CC and BCC.

What are CC and BCC in emails?

If you’ve ever sent an email, you’ve come across two fields right next to the “To” field: CC and BCC. Read on if you’ve ever wondered what these two terms mean and what the fields are for.

What does CC mean?

In email sending, CC is the abbreviation for “carbon copy.” Back in the days before the internet and email, in order to create a copy of the letter you were writing, you had to place carbon paper between the paper you were writing on and the paper that was going to be your copy.

Just as the physical carbon copy above, CC is an easy way of sending copies of an email to other people.

If you have ever received a CCed email, you’ve probably noticed that it will be addressed to you and a list of other people who have also been CCed.

What does BCC mean?

BCC stands for blind carbon copy. Just like CC, BCC is a way of sending copies of an email to other people. The difference between the two is that, while you can see who else has received the email when CC is used, that is not the case with BCC. It is called blind carbon copy because the other recipients won’t be able to see that someone else has been sent a copy of the email.

Does it really matter?

While you might not find yourself using these two functions of your email often, they definitely do have their purposes.

When should you use CC?

The use of CC is a bit of a debate, as it functions the same as adding multiple recipients in the “To” field.

What’s so special about CC?

Using CC is more a matter of etiquette than anything. The general rule is that the “To” field is reserved for the main recipients of your email. You then CC other interested parties so they can have their own copy of the email.

CCing other parties also makes it clear to all involved that the email has been seen by everyone.

When should you use BCC?

BCC has more solid uses.

Here are the most common two:

1.When you don’t want the primary recipient to know

A good example could be when you are having problems with an employee. When sending them an email, you can BCC your supervisor or HR in the email so that they get a copy of your correspondence. In this case, they will receive it, but your fellow employee will not see that other parties have been included in the correspondence.

2.When sending to a large list

When you are sending an email to your mailing list, for example, you put their addresses in the BCC field. The email will look as if it has been specifically sent to them since there will be no list of other CCed people. It also makes for a clean email, since there will be no long list of recipients.

This way of sending emails to a large group of people is also safer, as you don’t expose your subscribers’ email addresses to others.

What now?

Now that you know the functions of these two features, go ahead and improve your email etiquette by putting them into practice. The CC and BCC functions are actually email sending best practices features you should be using if you send emails to more than one recipient.