Email technology as we know it now is very old and has remained mostly unaltered throughout the years. When drafting an email using Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or any other webmail service, I am sure you must have seen the CC field. Have you ever been curious about what does CC mean in email?

CC in email is a method of sending an email to a person or group of people who may require the information shared in the mail. But wait! This isn’t it! CC on email serves a variety of purposes.

To know what the CC means in email when you should use it, and more, jump right into the write-up below.

What Does CC Mean in Email?

What is CC in email? Well, CC stands for Carbon Copy. It is a way of sending a copy of an email to someone other than the primary recipient that you add in the To field of your email, a person to whom you are directly sending the email. 

The CC recipient is someone who you want to keep informed of the email and the information you are sending through it but who is not the primary recipient.

For example, if you are writing a perfect professional email to your boss, who is the primary recipient, about a project you are working on, you might CC your team members so that they are aware of the progress you are making.

CC in email is a useful way to keep people informed of important emails without having to add them as primary recipients. It is also a way to keep a record of who has been informed of an email and the information it contains.

Here are some tips for using CC effectively:

  • Only CC people who need to be kept informed of the email.
  • Be clear in the subject line of the email who the CC recipients are.
  • If you are sending a sensitive email, be sure to get permission from the CC recipients before sending it.
  • Use CC sparingly. If you are CCing a large number of people, it can be overwhelming for them to receive so many emails.

When to Use CC in an Email?

Now that you know what does CC mean in email, you should know when to use it.

When you write an email to someone, the primary recipient, it usually is to persuade them to take action regarding the information provided in the email. But when you CC someone, you are giving them the information that may be of interest, but they are not compelled to act. It is just to keep the people in email CC informed of certain progress and information.

Of course, this is a broad generalization; there might be many cases in which you would want to put people in CC on email. But it’s a simple idea that can help you comprehend the difference between sending someone an email and merely CCing them in.

One thing to keep in mind is that every email must have a recipient; you cannot just add everyone to the CC field.

In order to more clearly understand what does the CC mean in email, let’s look at the examples below:

You are going live with a project that you were working on, so you will write an email to your manager or boss to let them know the details of when the project is going live. You will put your co-workers, who worked on the project and other concerned parties who need to be prepared after the project is live in CC; so as to keep them posted on the status of the current project.

Another reason to CC someone is if you’re experiencing a problem at work.

You send an email to the individual with whom you are having an issue, who will be the primary recipient, and you put your manager or team lead in the CC email to let them know what’s going on to keep them informed.

Common Cases of Adding People in Email CC

After you have learned what CC stands for in email, it is now time to see some cases when you can use CC in your email. It is important because you see that having only learned the CC email meaning isn’t enough; you should know when you can use it.

Given below are some common cases of adding someone to CC:

  • You want someone to be posted on a conversation but don’t need them to take any action.
    The examples given in the above section to understand email CC meaning are of the same scenario. But to comprehend it more clearly, look at the example below:
    You could be contacting a client about the status of their purchase; in such a case, you can add your boss to CC so they can understand the status. Or you’re informing your staff on the status of a project by also keeping them in CC.
  • When disseminating corporate news internally
    When emailing huge groups of individuals, such as entire teams or even the employees of the entire company, using CC is a terrific alternative. You can even create a distribution list in Outlook or any other email client and add it to the CC field to list all the individuals in the list at once.
    As an example, suppose you are sending out an email newsletter. Most of the time, you would send the email to yourself and then just put the rest of the team or co-workers in the CC. 
  • You want to add individuals to a mail chain at a later stage.
    A popular purpose for using CC is for introductory emails or for someone who needs to be added to the mail chain to solve a particular issue or enlighten others with the information only they can have.
    Assume you’re meeting with a customer to introduce a colleague. They are mentioned in the email, but it is not addressed to them. This may be used both internally, inside companies, and in teams, as well as outside with customers.
    Or you have a mail chain going on regarding some issue with another department. But you need some information on the same from a person in the third department. In such a case, you can CC that person in the latest email in the mail chain to get the required details. This will not only introduce the person in the mail trail, but also they will have access to the whole email chain till now and will get an idea about the context.
  • There are several individuals involved in a matter, but not all of them can take action.
    This is a new scenario that hasn’t been discussed yet that broadens your understanding of what does CC mean in email.
    When working on a project with several partners or stakeholders, how do you keep them informed? By including them in emails.
    This keeps them posted on advancements and gives them access to the most recent information. They can just read the emails without having to react to them to know the progress and they can jump in at any time if they need to.
    In such a scenario, you add the organizational leader in the To field of the email as the primary recipient and CC their team so they know what’s going on and can intervene if necessary.

I hope these cases help you better understand what is a CC and when to use it. Now, keeping what CC means in email and when you should use it in mind, let’s move on to the next section, where you will know when not to CC someone.

When not to CC Someone in an Email?

I assume by now you will be clear about CC meaning in email and when to use it. But, it is also important to keep in mind when not to use it. 

You cannot just loop all the people in your organization in an email, right? 😅

You should only CC individuals on emails if the material or information in the email is relevant to them and they would benefit from it. 

Before CCing someone in an email, consider whether they can accomplish their job without it, or if they don’t get this information, will their work be affected by the lack of it? Only after considering such cases should you add someone in the email CC.

If you have mistakenly sent an email to the wrong recipients, you can always recall an email in Gmail or recall the email in Outlook, and send the email again by altering the recipients list. 

Difference Between CC and BCC

Now that you have figured out ‘what CC in email means,’ let’s look at the closely related BCC field. As you can see, carbon copy isn’t the only way to include someone else in a message. The BCC field is also available.

BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy. It is the same as CC but serves a different purpose. When you send a message with recipients added to the CC, each of them will know who else has received the same email by looking at the CC field, as all recipients are visible in it. However, when you add recipients in the BCC field, no one will know to whom the same email has been sent, as the recipients will be hidden from one another.

However, there are situations when you should use BCC instead of CC when sending a message to numerous recipients. This is because BCC prevents other receivers from seeing any mail addresses included in the BCC field.

It’s worth noting that neither CC or BCC prevents email tracking. This implies that if you have read receipts enabled, the sender will still receive information that you viewed the message even though your address is not visible as a recipient because it is in the BCC.

Dos and Don’ts of Adding People to CC in an Email

Now that you know what CC is, when adding people to CC in your email, you need to keep a few things in mind. What are these? Well, find them out by reading the pointers listed below:

Dos:

  • Use CC to communicate information with someone or to keep them posted on a particular information.
  • Use CC to link individuals who may not know each other so that they may exchange contact information.
  • Email CC can also be used to share essential information with someone who should be kept in the loop to keep them aware of the progress or certain information.
  • You can use CC in email to add an individual to an existing email chain.

Don’ts:

  • Use CC as a passive-aggressive method of lighting a fire. (For example, don’t use CC to include your supervisor while you are upset with a coworker.)
  • You should not use CC to communicate with persons who may not want their contact information exposed to a stranger.
  • Use CC to send sensitive information to someone outside of your business or family.

FAQs

Q. What does CC signify in an email?

Carbon Copy is an acronym for email. To CC someone in an email implies sending a copy of the email to them. 

Q. When is it OK to use CC in an email? 

In an email, utilize cc to include new participants, stakeholders, and huge groups of individuals who want to keep informed. You may also use CC to notify your whole team of a key project change. Add your individuals to a crucial email chain, or introduce a new coworker.

Q. How does email CC work?

When you CC someone in an email, they receive a copy of that email. The list of people who have been added to CC is visible to all other recipients and people added to CC.

Sources:

What is the difference between Cc and Bcc?– By City University of Hong Kong.
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