What Does It Mean to CC Someone in an Email?

July 28, 2019

Right now, using emails for business, classes, project management or just simple communication, it’s at an all time high. Regardless of instant chat applications like WhatsApp or Telegram, emailing is still at the top. Now if that’s so, there are a lot of advantages of the proper use and handling of the terms CC and BCC present in an email. Here we will cover just what does it mean to CC someone in an email.

You may have heard about CC when it comes to mailing. Here, we will be covering the basics definitions and advantages compared to BCC and a simple send. We, will also be telling you when it is best to use one and why.

What is CC? And what does it mean to CC someone in an email.

CC stands for “Carbon copy” and like the name says it basically makes a copy of the actual email. This comes from the typical use placing carbon paper under any documents so when someone writes on them the carbon paper creates a copy of what’s written. The process here is no different.

Some people prefer to use the term “courtesy copy”, but likewise the end result is the same. By placing an email address in the CC form of your email you’ll be sending an actual copy of the email. This of course is without really sending the email to that address as the main recipient.

What is BCC?

BCC stands for “blind carbon copy”, it basically does the same thing as the CC process with just a difference. In the CC process every address that is in the CC form will get a copy and know who else got one. When you BCC someone that person will get a copy but everyone else will not know about this.

Advantages of CC Vs BCC.

Remember that when you put an address in the CC form that address is completely visible to every recipient. On the contrary when you use the BCC form those address won’t know about the other recipients.

This can be use to your advantage. For instance, let’s say that you’re actually sending a notification for an audience or something of the like. You might be interested in letting everyone know who else is notified about this. This is the perfect use of CC. Just make the email and put every secondary recipient in the CC form.

On the other hand, you might want to send the exact same copy of a message to someone without the knowledge of others. In this case it is best to use BCC, BCC will let you keep the information about other recipients. Anyone in the BCC list is only visible to the sender and the recipient. So, this works best in cases of secrecy.

When to use the To field or the CC field.

They do have very similar functionality. If you place one address in the To field and three in the CC field, everyone will receive the same email. Like the CC every address in the To field will see who else got the email.

For etiquette reasons, the main recipient of the email always goes in the To field. CC field is always destined to the addresses that will get a copy of the email. Remember this is just a formality.

A fairly popular case is when your boss tells you to respond a customer over a complain, and want you to send him a copy. This is very straight forward. Just write the email put the customer’s address in the To field and your boss’s email in the CC field. This will send a copy to your boss while your customer is also aware of this. In the case you didn’t wanted the customer to know just change your boss’s address from the CC field to the BCC field.

When to use the CC field or the BCC field.

As we’ve mentioned above there are times when you should use the CC field and other to use the BCC field. For instance, it is best to use the CC field when.

  • You want a particular address, or number of them, to receive a copy of an email. Letting every other recipient know about this.
  • You have an email with a main recipient and a number of secondary, interested addresses.

In the other hand BCC is useful when.

  • You want someone to receive a copy of an email without letting any other recipient know about it. For instance, if you’re having a problem with a co-worker you might want to get the HR department without your co-worker’s notice.
  • You want to send a copy of an email to a large database of recipients without letting them know about each other. This is a very typical use when running an email marketing campaign. Just think about the advantages of BCC over CC in this case. It is much more comfortable to write a single email and send it to all addresses in your emailing list, without letting them know about the other recipients. This last bit can be due to security and privacy reasons.

One last detail.

We do have to bring to your attention the fact that BCC doesn’t function like CC when it comes to email threads. For instance, if you BCC someone in an email and the main recipient answers the email, the BCC address won’t get a copy of the answer, and vice versa.

In the case of using the CC field for this, every recipient will get a copy of every response to the email. Do keep this in mind when deciding to implement CC or BCC.


Placing an email address in the CC field is a quick way to keep them on the loop of an email communication. Making sure to properly use this field and follow the well-known etiquette, can only be beneficial to you. Hopefully now you know exactly what does it mean to CC someone in an email.

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