Cc and Bcc with emails

by on March 13, 2010

Q: What does Cc and Bcc mean when sending an email?

A: When sending an email everyone knows what the To field is all about but not everyone knows what the Cc and the Bcc fields are all about. The Cc field, which stands for carbon copy, is really no different than the To field when it comes to emails. The people that are Cc:ed will get the email and they will appear to everyone else that was emailed as someone that also received the email. The conceptual difference between the To and the Cc is that it is expected that the people being Cc:ed are just being kept in the loop but are not the primary people in the email.

A good example of when to use a Cc would be in a work environment where there are some primary people working on a project but then there are other people, like bosses, that need to be kept in the loop. So you would email all the primary people with the To option but all the bosses and the non primary people that just have to stay in the loop with the Cc.

Bcc stands for blind carbon copy and is a little bit tricky because these people will receive the email but no one else who receives the email will know they received the email. There are a few really good uses for Bcc. The first is the email forwards everyone seems to send. By using Bcc to email everyone you protect everyone that was Bcc:ed from having someone learn their email address. Some people don’t like to have their email address shared.

When it comes to forwards and emailing a lot of people a Bcc is helpful if not everyone needs to get the follow up. Say you forward a funny email but any replies being sent should only come to you and not everyone else on the list. If you use the Bcc option for everyone then no matter how the users reply, ie if they hit reply or reply all, then the email will come only to you because they recipients will know nothing about the other people being emailed.

The other good use is if you have to email someone some information and prove that you did it. Using the Bcc can allow you to hide the fact that you emailed someone else to prove that you emailed the information. Just remember when using Bcc anyone that replies to the email will not be replying to those people that were Bcc:ed.

I hope this helps you better understand the differences between To, Cc, and Bcc when it comes to emails.

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