What is the Difference Between CC and BCC in an Email?


We all know how easy sending emails to multiple recipients is, as you can send the same email to any number of recipients in one go. But, what many of us do not know is that there are three categories in which we can put these recipients. These categories are ‘Too’, ‘CC’ and ‘BCC’. The common thing among the recipients in these categories is that despite the category, all the recipients will receive the same copies of your email. However, there are certain visibility differences between the three. Before moving on to the differences and when to use which category, we must understand what CC and BCC is.

What is the Difference Between CC and BCC in an Email?

What Are CC AND BCC?

While composing an email, you generally use the ‘To’ field to add one or more email addresses of your recipients to whom you want to send the email. On the right-hand side of the ‘To’ field in Gmail, you must have noticed ‘Cc’ and ‘Bcc’.

Here, CC stands for ‘Carbon Copy’. Its name is derived from how carbon paper is used to make a copy of a document. BCC stands for ‘Blind Carbon Copy’. Therefore, CC and BCC are both ways of sending additional copies of an email to different recipients.

Visibility Differences Between TO, CC, and BCC

  • All the recipients under the TO and CC field can see all other recipients in TO and CC fields who have received the email. However, they cannot see the recipients under the BCC field who have also received the email.
  • All the recipients under the BCC field can see all recipients in TO and CC fields but cannot see other recipients in the BCC field.
  • In other words, all the recipients of TO and CC are visible to all the categories (TO, CC and BCC), but the recipients of BCC are visible to no one.

Consider the given recipients in the TO, CC, and BCC fields:

TO: recipient_A

CC: recipient_B, recipient_C

BCC: recipient_D, recipient_E

Now, when all of them receive the email, the details visible to each of them (including recipient_D and recipient_E) will be:

– Content of the email

– From: sender_name

– TO: recipient_A

– CC: recipient_B, recipient_C

So, if any recipient’s name does not exist in the TO or CC list, they will automatically know that they have been sent a blind carbon copy.

Difference Between TO And CC

Now, you might be thinking that if the TO and CC can see the same set of recipients and are visible to the same recipients, then is there even any difference between them? For Gmail , there is no difference between the two fields because recipients in both fields receive the same email and other details. The difference is created by the generally used email decorum. All those recipients who are the primary target and are supposed to take some action depending upon the email are included in the TO field. All the other recipients who are required to know the details of the email and are not expected to act upon it are including in the CC field. In this way, the TO and CC fields together resolve any confusions about whom the email might be directly addressed.


  • TO contains the primary audience of the email.
  • CC contains those recipients whom the sender wants to know about the email.
  • BCC contains the recipients who are being informed about the email secretively to remain invisible to others.

When to Use CC

You should add a recipient in the CC field if:

  • You want all the other recipients to know that you have sent a copy of the email to this recipient.
  • You want to inform the recipient about the email’s details but do not require him/her to take any action.
  • For example, a company’s boss replies to a leave grant request of an employee and also, adds the employee’s immediate supervisor in the CC field to inform him/her about the same.

When to Use BCC

You should add a recipient in the BCC field if:

  • You do not want any other recipients to know that you have sent a copy of the email to this recipient.
  • You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of all your customers or clients to whom the email is to be sent, and you should not share their emails. Adding all of them to the BCC field will, hence, hide all of them from each other.

Note that a BCC recipient will never receive any reply from another recipient because no one knows about the BCC recipient. A CC recipient may or may not receive a copy of the reply depending upon whether the respondent has or has not added him to the CC field.

Clearly, all three fields have their own particular uses. Proper use of these fields will help you write your emails more professionally, and you will able to target different recipients differently.


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I hope this article was helpful and now you can easily tell the Difference Between CC and BCC in an Email, but if you still have any questions regarding this guide then feel free to ask them in the comment’s section.

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