Where Do CC and BCC Come From?

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.

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When Should You Use CC and BCC?

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.

Hopefully, this will help you use your email more effectively as a communication tool.

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