What are cc and bcc in emails – and how to use them

Cc and bcc can both be used to send copies of an email to additional recipients. But have you sometimes wondered what the letters stand for? Or have you steered clear of both because you aren’t quite sure about the difference between cc and bcc?
Hands typing on computer keyboard with email icons floating in air
Sending an email to multiple recipients? Make good use of cc & bcc
We explain when to use cc vs bcc, how to find bcc in Outlook and your mail.com account – and the original meaning of cc.

Using cc in emails

By putting the email address(es) in the Cc field you send a copy of the email to those recipient(s) for their information only, indicating that no reply is required or expected. Those email addresses are also visible to the main recipient (whose address is in the To field) and they can decide whether to reply to the sender only (by choosing “Reply”) or to also include the cc’ed addresses (by clicking “Reply all”).

Bcc means that email addresses stay private

The recipients you add in the Bcc field are invisible to all other recipients (under To or Cc). This option is useful if you prefer to keep the email addresses private. It also means that the bcc'ed recipients will not receive any reply emails from the other recipients, even if they select “Reply all”. In other words, the difference between cc and bcc is that both are used for sending emails to additional recipients, but only you as the sender can see all the names listed under Bcc.

When should I use bcc in email?

Using the Bcc function can be very useful if you are sending out an announcement to all the members of your club and need to protect the data privacy of the recipients by not displaying their email addresses to others. Or if you are inviting both friends and coworkers to a party and you don’t want to share people’s work email addresses with everyone. Another advantage here is that bcc recipients don’t receive copies of replies to your original email – so even if one of your bcc’d party guests accidently hits “Reply all” to tell you “Love to come!”, their message won’t clutter up the inboxes of all 100 people on your invite list! It is, however, considered bad form to bcc your boss on a message to a coworker – if you are getting people higher up in the chain involved, you should be transparent and add them under Cc.

What is the meaning of bcc?

In the golden age of typewriters, before we had copy machines and computers, the only way to have an identical copy of the document you typed was to make a “carbon copy” – which means you placed a sheet of carbon paper under the page you were typing, which in turn left an imprint of what was typed on a blank page underneath it. As a courtesy to the primary recipient, a typist would write “CC to: Name” at the end of the letter. In the computer era, the meaning of “cc” in email became a sort of “FYI.” And the term “blind carbon copy,” “blind cc,” or “bcc” was now used to indicate an email sent to recipients who were not disclosed, meaning the other recipients were “blind” to their existence.

How do I send cc and bcc emails in my mail.com account?

Now that you know what bcc means in email, let’s look at where to find cc & bcc.  In your mail.com email inbox, click Compose E-mail. This opens up a window where you can write a new message. On the right side under Send, click the button marked Cc/Bcc.
Screenshot of "Cc/Bcc" option in mail.com email
Click "Cc/Bcc" to open the fields

This will cause Cc and Bcc fields to appear underneath the To field. Either type the email address of the desired recipients directly into this field, or click the address book icon to the left of the letters to select recipients from your Contacts:

Screenshot showing fields to enter email recipient(s)
Enter your recipient(s) in the desired field(s)

How to use bcc in Outlook

Some people think there is no Bcc function in Outlook, but in fact both cc and bcc are available in this email program. It is true that when you click New Email, the window for composing your email does not contain a Bcc field at first. However, if you click on To or Cc, a window opens that allows you to add recipients. Here you will find Bcc as an option in addition to To and Cc. Add the desired recipients to the Bcc field and press OK. A Bcc field will now appear at the top of your message with the other recipient fields.

We hope this cleared up your questions about bcc and cc in email! If so, please give us a thumbs up below.

This article first appeared on April 19, 2021 and was updated on Dec. 1, 2021

Images: 1&1/Shutterstock

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