Writing business

Cc sends a copy of your email – Here’s how to use it

  • When you write an email, you can CC someone to send them a copy of an email you sent to someone else.
  • “Cc” stands for “carbon copy” and is included in almost all email applications, websites and programs.
  • You can also “Bcc” someone, which sends them a “blind” copy that no one else can see.

When deciding who to email, you have 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 others aren’t so straightforward.

Here’s a quick explanation of the “Cc” duo and what you can do with it.

‘Cc’ sends a copy of your email

Whatever messaging app you use, “Cc” stands for “carbon copy”.

The term dates back to the 20th century before e-mail, when the fastest way to make an exact copy of a written letter was to stack several sheets of paper on top of each other, with a sheet of carbon paper placed between each. The pressure and pigment from the pen or typewriter would bleed through the carbon paper as you wrote, allowing you to mark multiple sheets at once.

Nowadays, the “Cc” feature allows you to send someone a digital copy of any email sent to someone else. The person 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.

An email written in the iPhone Mail app, with a variety of recipients in the fields

There are dedicated fields for primary recipients and those who receive copies.

William Antonelli/Insider

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, suppose you need to send directions to someone from another company. The person from the other company will go in the “To” field, but you can connect your manager by putting them in the “Cc” field. This allows them to see what you’ve sent without entering the message chain.

You can “Cc” as many people as you want 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’ mask who you sent a copy to

If the person receiving the copy doesn’t want anyone to know they received it, you can use the “Bcc” field instead.

“Bcc” stands for “blind carbon copy” and works just like the normal “Cc” field. The only difference is that no one but the sender can see who received a blind copy.

Anyone who receives the blind copy will see everyone in the “To” and “Cc” fields, but not the other way around. And if you put multiple people in the “Bcc” field, none of them will know who else received the blind copy either. It’s totally private.