What Does CC Mean In Email?

Picture this: you’re sitting at your desk going through your email inbox when you come across a message that reads, “Please CC me on any updates regarding the project.” At first, you might think that “CC” is some kind of a mysterious code or perhaps a typo. But fear not, dear reader, for in this article, we will unravel the mystery of what “CC” means in an email.

You may be surprised to learn that “CC” is not a secret code but a common email convention that includes additional recipients on an email message. Whether you’re a seasoned email user or just starting, understanding the meaning of “CC” can be incredibly useful in helping you communicate more effectively in the digital age.

Email is an essential and famous mode of communication which, despite the introduction of different social platforms, is growing in daily usage. According to research, around 347.3 billion emails will be sent daily around the globe in 2023, as 61.9% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, a 47% increase from 2019.

So if you’ve ever wondered about the true meaning of “CC” or are simply looking to brush up on your email etiquette, read on. This article will explore the ins and outs of “CC,” including its history, uses, and impact on modern communication.

What Does CC Mean In Emails?

You may have noticed the “CC” field when sending an email and wondered what it means. CC stands for “carbon copy,” which is a term that originated from the days of typewriters and carbon paper. In an email, the CC field includes additional recipients who are not directly addressed in the email but need to be informed about its contents. For instance, suppose you are emailing a prospective customer with a project quote. You need to send a duplicate of your email to your boss, with the goal that they are kept in the loop. For this situation, you will enter the client’s email address in the To: field and your boss’s email address in the CC: field.

Another related field is “BCC,” which stands for “blind carbon copy,” BCC allows you to send an email to multiple recipients without revealing their email addresses to each other. This can be useful for maintaining privacy or avoiding the appearance of favoritism. For example, if you’re emailing a group of job applicants, you may want to BCC them so they don’t have access to each other’s contact information.

In short, CC and BCC are handy features of an email that can help streamline communication and keep everyone in the loop while maintaining privacy where necessary. Knowing when and how to use them can make email communication more effective and efficient.

The difference between CC and BCC in email

CC and BCC are two commonly used fields when composing an email message. CC stands for “carbon copy.” When you CC someone on an email, you are sending them a copy of the message. Everyone who receives the email can see who has CC’d. The CC field is typically used when you want to keep someone informed about the message, but the message is not directly addressed to them. For example, if you’re emailing a colleague and want to keep your manager in the loop, you might CC your manager on the message.

BCC stands for “blind carbon copy.” When you BCC someone on an email, you send them a copy of the message, but no one else can see that they were BCC’d. The BCC field is typically used when you want to keep someone in the loop but don’t want anyone else to know they received the message. For example, if you’re emailing a group of people and want to send a copy to your assistant but don’t want the others to know, you might want to BCC your assistant.

Here’s a table summarizing the differences between CC and BCC.

CC (Carbon Copy) BCC (Blind Carbon Copy)
Visibility  All recipients can see who was CC’d.  Only the sender and BCC Recipients can see who was BCC’d.
Purpose To keep someone informed. To keep someone in the loop without letting others know. 
Response Recipients can reply-all, including to the CC’d recipients.  BCC’d recipients cannot reply to all; their response only goes to the sender. 
Importance It’s typically less important for others than the main recipient.   It can be equally or more important for all the receivers than the main recipient. 
Etiquette Used when it’s okay for others to know the message was CC’d.  Used when it’s important to keep the BCC’d recipient anonymous. 
Notification  CC’d recipients are aware they were CC’d.  BCC’d recipients are not aware that anyone else received the message.  
Privacy All recipients can see each other’s email addresses.  BCC’d recipients but cannot see each other’s emails. 
Spam Some email clients may mark CC’d emails as spam.  BCC’d emails are less likely to be marked as spam. 
Formatting CC’d recipients can be listed in the “To” or CC field.  BCC’d recipients can only be listed in the BCC field. 

Why Do We Use CC In Emails?

The CC field is utilized to allude to the carbon copy as it sends extra duplicates of a solitary email to at least one or more recipients. The TO and CC fields are frequently utilized reciprocally because regardless of which one you use, there is little distinction in how the receivers see the email. Notwithstanding, the overall practice is to utilize the CC field to send a duplicate of the email to individuals just to keep them in on what is happening. Email manners say that the individuals you keep in the CC field are not expected to make any move or answer the message. What do I write in an email CC? In business messages, the CC field is regularly used to show the beneficiary that other notable individuals know about the email and that the email requires direct attention and should be paid attention to. So in CC, you only add emails of those who you just want to keep up to date with the project.

When Should You CC Someone?

From a technical perspective, the CC field works precisely like the TO field in an email. That is, it has no effect whether you incorporate an email address in the TO field or the CC field — the email is conveyed to the recipients, and every one of them can see the other’s email address.

Email is a ubiquitous form of communication in the modern workplace, and the CC field is a powerful tool for keeping people informed and facilitating collaboration. However, it can be easy to misuse CC (even though, as discussed above, it’s no different from the TO option in an email), leading to cluttered inboxes, confusion, and even resentment.

Let’s explore the different scenarios where CC can be used effectively, from keeping colleagues informed to seeking input and feedback. By understanding when to use CC and when to avoid it, you can enhance your email communication and boost your productivity.

Keeping colleagues informed

If you’re working on a project with a team, you may want to keep everyone informed of progress or decisions made. In this case, it’s appropriate to CC the team members on relevant emails so that they have a record of what’s going on. This ensures everyone is on the same page and can contribute as necessary. 

Sharing information

If you’ve received information relevant to someone else on your team or your organization, you can CC them on the email so they know it. This can include news, updates, announcements, or reports.

Seeking input or feedback

If you’re working on a project or a proposal and need input or feedback from someone, you can CC them on the email to get their attention. This ensures they know the request and promptly provide the necessary input.

Providing transparency

If you’re communicating with a client or external partner, you may want to CC your boss or another colleague on the email for transparency. This can help ensure that everyone knows what’s being communicated and can intervene if necessary.

When you’re introducing a contact

When you are messaging somebody to acquaint them with another contact, you need the two parties to see the email so they can proceed with the discussion. It is up to you to add the new contact in the ‘To’ or the ‘CC’ field here, even though utilizing CC is also acceptable.

It’s a good idea to use CC sparingly and only include people who genuinely need to be informed or have input. Overuse of CC can clutter inboxes and dilute the impact of important communications.

It’s essential to be mindful of people’s privacy and not share confidential or sensitive information without their permission. BCC may be more appropriate in such cases, as it lets you keep people informed without exposing their contact information to others.

When Not To Use CC In An Email?

Swelling inboxes can be a genuine issue for proficiency, and it is common for individuals to organize all the more squeezing messages over correspondence they are only CC’d on. If you regularly CC one of your contacts on your more extensive correspondence, sooner rather than later, they will quit reading the messages thoroughly. This could bring about them missing out on some significant data en route. Be careful with this capacity so that you are not superfluously CC’ing individuals and immersing them in more mail than they need.

When you don’t have the appropriate consent

When utilized generously and without thinking, CC’ing can cause unintended issues. Let us assume that you have been in email correspondence with a partner and afterward, out of nowhere, conclude that another associate may likewise profit by being included in the email thread. Before CC’ing them on your next answer, request consent from the two parties first. There could be sensitive data in the current thread that the new contract should not see.

When you’re expecting a response or action

Consider just CC-ing recipients from whom you do not anticipate a reaction or an immediate activity – truth be told, most email recipients consequently assure that no activity is required on their part if they are just CC’d. If you need a beneficiary to react or act, they ought to be placed in the ‘To’ field. Before you hit send, thoroughly examine your CC field and consider what you anticipate from each beneficiary. Contingent upon your answers, consider moving proper contacts into the To field instead.

When you want to embarrass someone or prove a point

It is common for individuals to utilize the CC field for pessimistic reasons. You may have received a furious email from a partner with your boss copied in. Or, on the other hand, you may have been called out by your administrator for a move you have made and been enticed to demonstrate that they had just been copied into the applicable correspondence. Utilizing CC for aloof, forceful, or point-scoring reasons is unacceptable and should be disregarded.

When you want to copy in many recipients

Overpopulating the CC field can be amazingly diverting to any recipient opening another email, so preferably hold the CC field to close to three or four recipients. Anything else than this, and you should consider doing a mail consolidation or utilizing newsletter software, for example, Mailchimp.

Do’s and Don’ts of CC in Email

The CC field in email is a powerful tool that allows you to include other recipients in an email message besides the primary recipient (s) listed in the “TO” field. However, it’s important to use the CC field in a sensible manner and with consideration of the recipients involved. Here are some do’s and don’ts of CC in email.

Do’s  Don’t’s 
Use CC to keep people informed or to include them in a conversation.  CC people who don’t need to be involved in the conversation. 
Be selective when choosing who to CC.  CC everyone just to get things over with. 
Use CC to provide context or background information.  CC people without including a clear reason for doing so. 
Use CC to give credit or recognition.  CC people as a way to publicly criticize or reprimand them. 
Use CC to coordinate group efforts or to keep everyone up-to-date.  CC people not involved in the project or don’t need to know. 
Consider using CC as a way to loop in your supervisor or manager when working on a project or a task.  CC your supervisor or manager on every email, as this may appear as micromanaging or a lack of trust  
Use CC to follow up on a conversation or to provide additional information.  CC people or email just to inform them of your actions or to pressure them. 
Use CC to give visibility to a decision or an action.  CC people as a way to shift responsibility or avoid accountability. 
Use CC to involve someone with relevant expertise.  CC people as a way to delegate tasks to avoid doing them yourself. 
Use CC to introduce two people who may benefit from knowing each other,  CC people on a sensitive or personal topic without their consent. 
Use CC to provide visibility to your work or to promote your accomplishments.  CC people excessively or as a way to seek attention or validation. 

What Are The Problems With Using CC In Email?

Using the CC field in email allows you to send a duplicate of your message to additional recipients. Typically, it’s used to keep someone informed or involved in the conversation. However, this practice floods the recipient’s inbox with redundant copies of the same email, causing clutter and inefficiency.

Moreover, CC’d emails contribute to unnecessary storage consumption in email accounts. Every attachment included in the email gets duplicated and distributed to each recipient listed in the TO and CC fields, leading to a significant waste of storage space.

Additionally, for those utilizing email services that charge per email sent, such as Amazon’s SES, every recipient mentioned in the CC field incurs an extra cost. This can quickly add up and strain your budget.

So, what are the alternatives to using CC in email?

Types of CC & BCC in email

Using the CC and BCC fields effectively can help you keep people informed, involve them in a conversation, assign or delegate tasks, and provide visibility and accountability to a decision or action. However, it’s essential to use these fields wisely and with consideration for the recipients involved, as overuse or misuse of them can lead to confusion, frustration, or even resentment among the recipients.

In this context, it’s important to understand the different types of CC and BCC in email and when to use them appropriately. Using these fields strategically and responsibly makes your emails more effective, efficient, and professional.

Types of CC in email

Here are a few types of CC you might encounter while emailing people.

  • Informational CC: This CC informs people of a conversation or project. For example, you might CC someone on an email chain to keep them in the loop on what’s been discussed or decided.
  • Action Item CC: This type of CC is used to assign or delegate tasks to others. For example, you might CC someone on an email to ask them to complete a specific action item or task.
  • FYI CC: This type of CC is used to provide information to someone without necessarily requiring a response. For example, you might CC your manager in an email to let them know about a project you’re working on., but not necessarily expect them to take action. 
  • Introductions CC: This type of CC introduces two people who may benefit from knowing each other. For example, you might CC a colleague and a business partner to introduce them to each other.
  • Accountability CC: This type of CC provides visibility and accountability for a decision or action. For example, you might CC your supervisor in an email to let them know that you’ve completed a task or made a decision. 

These are some types of CC you might encounter in email. The key is to use the field wisely and with consideration for the recipients involved. 

Types of BCC in email

Here are some common BCC you may encounter in an email.

  • BCC for privacy: This type of BCC is used when you want to keep someone’s identity private from other recipients. For example, you might want to BCC someone on an email chain so that they can see the conversation, but their identity is not revealed to the other recipients. 
  • BCC for monitoring: This type of BCC is used when you want to monitor a conversation without the other recipients knowing. For example, a manager might BCC themselves on an email chain between two employees to ensure that the conversation remains professional and respectful. 
  • BCC for confirmation: This type of BCC is used when you want to confirm that an email has been sent or received. For example, BCC yourself on an email to ensure that it was sent or delivered successfully.
  • BCC for archiving: This type of BCC is used when you want to keep a copy of an email for your records or compliance purposes. For example, you might BCC yourself on an email to ensure you have a copy in case you need to refer to it later. 

It’s important to note that using BCC can be a sensitive issue, particularly in a professional setting, as it involves sharing information without the knowledge of other recipients, so you will need to use it in a non-problematic manner. 

What Are The Alternatives To CC In Email?

An incredible method to dodge the messiness produced by utilizing CC inside your group is to change to ‘Spark for Team.’ Spark is an unbelievable email customer that permits you to share an email with your colleagues without making an extra duplicate. You would then be able to talk about this email with private remarks, so along these lines maintaining a strategic distance from the extra jumble of subsequent messages.


What does CC mean in an email?

In an email, “CC” is an acronym for carbon copy. While emailing to ‘CC’ someone means to send them a copy of the email.

How does CC work in an email?

CC works the same as the “TO” feature in an email. You add the email address in the CC address bar of the recipients if you want to send a copy of the email. Note that the recipients can see all the people you sent the copy of the email to.

When to use CC in an email?

You should use CC in an email to keep people in the loop when working on a large project or with various managers you work under and stakeholders; if you are in HR and have hired a few people for a task, you can CC all of them in one email. You can also use CC to introduce any major change in the project you’ve worked on with your co-workers. 

What does BCC mean in email?

BCC stands for blind carbon copy. It’s like CC, but the difference is that the recipients won’t see the email addresses that have been BCC’d. 

Can you reply to a CC email?

Yes, you can reply to a CC email just like you would reply to a regular email. If you want to send the reply to all the CC’d recipients, then click reply all. But if you only want the reply to go to the sender of the mail, then click the standard reply button. But the CC etiquettes suggest that you shouldn’t reply to CC emails, but if you have to, double-check before replying.


Enhance your email etiquette by incorporating the elements of these two crucial features. Utilizing the CC and BCC functions embodies best practices in email communication, especially when addressing multiple recipients individually. Often, we default to CC without much thought, using it as a safety net to keep everyone “in the loop.” However, before hitting send, pause and assess whether CC-ing adds value or is truly necessary. CC can be a powerful tool, but its effectiveness lies in its judicious and deliberate use.