What is CC and BCC in an email?


There are many people who use email on a daily basis and are unaware of the exact meaning of the fields CC and BCC and how to use them correctly. On many occasions, these options are deactivated by default (this is what happens, for example in gmail), but that we always have at our disposal and from which we can take great advantage.

These options allow us to control the sending of emails when there is more than one recipient. Sometimes we need to hide certain information to respect the privacy of the people for whom our messages are intended or for any other reason.

Definition of Cc and Bcc

When we start writing an email at the top of the message window, whatever program we use, two main fields appear: "For", where we introduce the recipient's email, and "Affair", where we announce with a few words the content of said message.

Sometimes they are not so visible, but somewhere in the message box we will see the CC and BCC buttons. Ready to be activated when we need it. To use them well, we first have to know exactly what they mean. These are the definitions:

  • CC (acronym for "With Copy", and in English Carbon copy). Using this option we can send copies of an email to other recipients, in addition to the main ones to which it is addressed. The information is open, which means that the name of the emails of all recipients, both the main ones and those that we have copied, are visible.
  • CCO (acronym for «With Hidden Copy», and in English BCC o Blind Carbon Copy). Through this option, we will be able to send copies of an email to other recipients, in addition to the main ones, but with a private copy. In other words, neither the principals nor those that go in the blind copy will be able to know who else the message is being sent to.

CC and BCC in Gmail

More or less all email servers use the same system for sending copies, blind or not. On some, the CC and Bcc buttons are more clearly displayed than on others, but their operation is virtually identical. To illustrate the correct way to use these options, we have chosen Gmail, since this is the most used email service in the world.

When we press the button "Write" in Gmail, the window we all know appears. The CC and BCC options are found, as we show in the image below, on the right side, at the end of the "To" line:

cc and bcc in gmail

By default, both options are disabled. To use them we simply have to go with the mouse pointer and click on them. The options can be used separately or together, it all depends on what we want to do with our message: CC for an open mass email or BCC for one in which we don't want the recipients to know who else has received that email.

When to use CC and BCC?

Although any user is free to use the CC and BCC options when sending an email, it is best to use them following common uses. Let's see some examples of how to use them correctly:

Typically, CC is used in internal emails of a company or an organization when it is necessary to communicate some news or information that concerns a group of people or workers. Let's imagine the example of a company in which the schedules of a department have been reformed. In this informative message, the name of the email of the person in charge will be placed in "To" and then, in "CC", the emails of all the people who work in that department. As it is a open information, this is the simplest way to transmit it.

For its part, the use of CCO allows other types of communications, which can also be used in the professional field. With this option you can add a person to whom you want to inform that the message has been sent, but whose identity you want to remain hidden from the eyes of other recipients. As a general rule, Bcc should only be used when the contacts are not directly related to the message thread and they do not need to read the answers.

"Answer everyone"

cc and bcc email

The Cc and Bcc options also matter when replying to messages. When we receive a message with a copy to several recipients, we will see that we have the option of "Answer everyone". If we use it, all the emails included in CC will receive our response, although not those that appear in BCC.

An example of when this can be a very useful option: to reply to an email addressed to a number of people who are collaborating on a project. By doing so, the whole group will have the same information and will have the opportunity to see all the comments and updates on the issue.

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