What Does CC & BCC Mean in the Email Address?

By Tara Kimball

Addressing email messages properly is essential to averting disaster by sending messages incorrectly or to unintended recipients. Some email applications display received messages differently based on how you are addressed in the message, so it is important to understand your address field options and what they do.

What Is CC?

The "CC:" field is an abbreviation "Carbon Copy." Email addresses in this field are not the original intended and addressed recipient of the email. You use the "CC:" field for people that need to see the information, though it is not directly addressed to them. When addresses appear in this field, it alerts recipients that others have received a duplicate of the message.

What Is BCC?

The "BCC:" designation stands for "Blind Carbon Copy." Use the "BCC:" field when you want to send a copy of an email to someone without the other recipients knowing you have done so. The "BCC:" field is hidden in the email display screen when your recipients open the email, so the blind copy recipient is never revealed.

Using Fields

Add the email address of the person addressed in the email in the "To:" field. If there are multiple addresses, separate them according to the commands for your email application. Enter email addresses for carbon copies in the "CC:" field. These email addresses will appear on the email display when your recipients read their message. Type the email address for anyone you want to receive a blind copy of the message in the "BCC:" field. Fill out the remainder of the message as you normally would then click "Send."

Considerations

When an email recipient replies to a message, clicking "Reply All" will send their response to the original message sender as well as anyone listed in the "CC:" field. Email recipients listed in the "BCC:" field will not receive replies because their inclusion in the original message is hidden from the other recipients. Adding someone to a "BCC:" line does not guarantee that the other recipients will not discover that you did so, as the "BCC:" recipients can reply to all of the parties involved by clicking "Reply All."