- When writing an email, you can “Cc” someone to send them a copy of an email you’ve sent to someone else.
- “Cc” stands for “carbon copy,” and is included in nearly every email app, website, and program.
- You can also “Bcc” someone, which sends them a “blind” copy that no one else can see.
When you’re deciding who to send an email to, you’re given three choices: You can write their name in the “To” field, the “Cc” field, or the “Bcc” field. And while the “To” option is pretty obvious, the other ones aren’t so simple.
Here’s a quick explainer on the “Cc” duo, and what you can use them for.
‘Cc’ sends a copy of your email
No matter what email app you’re using, “Cc” stands for “carbon copy.”
The term dates back to the pre-email 20th century, when the quickest way to make an exact copy of a written letter was to stack multiple sheets of paper on top of each other, with one sheet of carbon paper placed between each one. The pressure and pigment from the pen or typewriter would bleed through the carbon paper as you wrote, allowing you to mark up multiple sheets at once.
These days, the “Cc” feature lets you send someone a digital copy of any email that’s been sent to someone else. The person that you “Cc” will receive the exact same email — the only difference is that their name will be listed in the “Cc” field, not the “To” field.
The best times to “Cc” someone are when they’re not the main subject of the email, but still want to know what’s going on in the conversation.
For example, say that you need to send directions to someone in another company. The person at the other company will go in the “To” field, but you can loop your manager in by putting them in the “Cc” field. This lets them see what you sent without stepping into the email chain.
You can “Cc” as many people as you like on any email. Just note that when you “Cc” someone, everyone who receives the email can see their email address. “Cc-ing” someone is just as public as putting them in the “To” field.
‘Bcc’ hides who you’ve sent a copy to
If the person receiving the copy doesn’t want anyone to know that they’ve received it, you can use the “Bcc” field instead.
“Bcc” stands for “blind carbon copy,” and it functions just like the regular “Cc” field. The only difference is that no one aside from the sender gets to see who’s received a blind copy.
Anyone who receives the blind copy will get to see all the people in the “To” and “Cc” fields, but not vice versa. And if you put multiple people into the “Bcc” field, none of them will know who else received the blind copy either. It’s totally private.