CC and Bcc: For those new to email.

When you write an email, the To: field is not the only place to put an addressee. There are two more fields for recipients. They are Cc: and Bcc:, and you probably have already seen them in your email program.

What is the difference between Cc and Bcc?

Cc stands for carbon copy which means that whose address appears after the Cc: header would receive a copy of the message. Also, the Cc header would also appear inside the header of the received message.

Bcc stands for blind carbon copy which is similar to that of Cc except that the Email address of the recipients specified in this field do not appear in the received message header and the recipients in the To or Cc fields will not know that a copy sent to these address.

To specify the recipients, an e-mail message can contain addresses in any of the 3 following fields:

  • To: field recipients are the audience of the message
  • CC: field recipients are others whom the author wishes to publicly inform of the message
  • BCC: field recipients are those being discreetly or surreptitiously informed of the communication and cannot be seen by any of the other addressees.

Example of CC vs BCC

From: Huy ND
To: Nam Mai
Cc: Mai Dinh; Huynh Tien Tai
Bcc: Tho Quan; Thuan Le

In the above example, all recipients of the email (including Tho Quan and Thuan Le will see the following email header information when they receive the email:

From: Huy ND
To: Nam Mai
Cc: Mai Dinh; Huynh Tien Tai

This means that none of the recipients will know who the Bcc recipients are. Each of the BCCed recipients will, of course, realize that they were on BCC but they will not know who else was on BCC.

When should you use CC and BCC?

It is common practice to use the BCC: field when addressing a very long list of recipients, or a list of recipients that should not (necessarily) know each other, e.g. in mailing lists.
If it doesn't matter if the recipient knows the other addresses that received the message, you would use CC.

Copy with some modifications from


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