Whenever you go to send an email, you might glance at the CC and BCC fields and wonder what they are used for, or perhaps you are an avid user of both. Well, let’s take a look at what CC and BCC are supposed to be used for and whether or not you actually use them for their intended purpose.
CC and BCC are remnants from when paper communication ruled the roost. CC stands for carbon copy, a practice in which a document was copied by layering a carbon sheet between two pieces of paper. Writing utensils would then put pressure on the top sheet of paper with the carbon beneath it applying pressure to the second, creating what is essentially a perfect copy of the message.
In the context of email, CC is sending a copy of a message to another recipient. BCC (or blind carbon copy), on the other hand, allows you to send a copy of a message without the recipients seeing others on the email chain.
At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be a major difference between CCing someone and sending a regular email, but there is a bigger one than you might think—especially in terms of proper manners and etiquette. The “To” field and the “CC” field have two different uses. “To” is the field you use to send an email to its main recipients. “CC” is meant to be used when the recipient isn’t directly involved with the conversation, but still wants to be kept in the loop. You can think of CCing someone on an email as providing them with a copy of the email for reference.
BCC is best used when you don’t want other recipients to see who the email was sent to. It’s useful for when you want to respect the privacy of those involved or if you have a long list of recipients that does not necessarily require a mail merge.
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Seán is the Managing Director at Aniar IT Services and has been working in IT for over 20 years
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