Difference Between CC and BCC: Email has become one of the most fundamental modes of communication in today’s ever-connected world. It is fast and super easy to use. At one point in time, you are sure to use email to communicate at one time or another.
That is why you should know some of the basics of email and etiquettes that email has to converse professionally. This article will give you a complete guide on email etiquette and also answer one of the most common questions – the difference between CC and BCC.
Difference Between CC and BCC
CC and BCC in the email are just abbreviations for carbon copy and blink carbon copy. They are a way to add multiple recipients to your email. However, the way they are used is different.
You might be wondering at this point what is the ‘To’ field for. Well, the ‘To’ field also works just like CC but in conventional etiquette, the ‘To’ field is reserved for the primary recipient of the mail.
You can add the more secondary recipients to the CC field. The key difference between CC and BCC when you add an address to the CC field, every recipient of the mail can see who the mail has been sent to.
BCC on the other hand allows you to hide the recipient of the mail. So, if you want to send a copy of the mail to some apart from the primary recipient but do not want to disclose the mail addresses, BCC is used.
Now that you know the differences between CC and BCC in emails, let’s jump into when you should be using CC and BCC.
Something to note is when you BCC someone, recipients on the ‘To’ cannot tell who you have BCC-ed. However, recipients of the email who were in the BCC field can see the ‘To’ and CC fields but not others on the BCC field. Although, the BCC field recipients will know they were in BCC.
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Appropriate Use of CC
Many have asked the question what is the use of using CC if both the ‘To’ field and CC field works the same. Here are some pointers on when to use CC and ‘To’.
- For General emailing etiquette – General email etiquette dictates your primary recipient of the mail should be in the ‘To’ field. Other recipients who you also want to send a copy of should be in the CC field. This of course if you want your recipients to know the mail addresses of the others you have sent it to.
- Ensuring all parties have received a copy – You can also use the CC field to make sure all parties who are required to see a mail have received it. Also, if you want to express who the interested parties are, the CC field can be used.
How Does Replying Work When Someone is CC-ed or BCC-ed
Everyone BCC-ed in an email thread will only receive the first mail on the thread. Future replies in the thread from the recipients on the CC-ed and ‘To’ thread are not delivered to those who were BCC-ed.
However, if the person you have BCC-ed hits Reply All, everyone from the ‘To’ and CC-field will receive the reply. But others on the BCC field will not receive the reply.
Appropriate Use of BCC
Let’s move on to when to use BCC. BCC works like CC, but the email recipients cannot see who else you have sent the mail to. You can use BCC to:
- Maintain privacy – If you do not want to disclose who else has been included in the thread, you should use BCC. This can be done for privacy reasons.
- When sending an email to a large number of people – if you need to send an email to a large group of people, you can use the BCC to field to make it seem like the mail has been sent to them personally. For example, you need to send the same mail to a large number of people who are perhaps on a mailing list, BCC is the perfect way to do it instead of sending emails to each of them individually.
Common Email Etiquettes
We decided to put a section for common emailing etiquettes. Since email is such a big part of communication nowadays, in our professional lives, not knowing emailing etiquettes can be a big disadvantage. Also, it does not put you in good light with others in general.
- Have a Greeting – Always include a polite and appropriate greeting
- Always Include the Subject – Never forget to include a clear subject line with your email. Your subject line should immediately tell the recipients what the mail is about
- Use short forms appropriately – You can use short forms of words. However, only use them if you are sending them to your team or to someone you know
- Consider when to Reply and Reply All – Reply with consideration. If you were included in a thread and not everyone in the thread needs to know you responded, please do not hit Reply All. You can simply hit Reply and send the mail to the interested recipient. On the other hand, if everyone on the thread should be replied to, ensure you hit Reply All.
- Reply promptly – Practice replying promptly. This is also a common etiquette. Although, we do not suggest you be in a constant limbo of checking your inbox. Your replies do not have to be instant, just on time.
- Spell check – Nothing is more unprofessional than typos in an email. Before sending out an email always spell and grammar check your mail.
The difference between CC and BCC can get a bit confusing especially because of the nuances involved. Now that you know the differences and some important etiquettes, you can email like a pro.