What Does BCC Mean in Email? [Benefits and Drawbacks Explained]

What Does BCC Mean in Email? [Benefits and Drawbacks Explained]

The term BCC stands for “blind carbon copy” and dates back to the days of typewriters when carbon paper was used to make a copy of the document being typed.

Phoebe Brown

Phoebe Brown | Mar 1, 2023 | 5 mins read

Email communication is an essential part of our daily lives, both in our personal and professional interactions. It is hard to imagine life without emails—we use email to send messages, share files, and keep in touch with family, friends, and coworkers.

While composing an email, we often encounter “CC,” “BCC,” and certain other words. What do they mean? More specifically, what does BCC mean in email?

That is what we will discuss in the lines below. We will explore what BCC means in email and why it’s an essential feature of email communication.

What does BCC mean in email?

BCC stands for “blind carbon copy,” and it allows you to send copies of an email to multiple persons without revealing their email addresses to each other.

When you send an email using the BCC field, the recipients in the To and CC fields can see each other’s email addresses, but email addresses are invisible to the recipients in BCC.

A Brief History of the Term BCC

The term “blind carbon copy” dates back to the days of typewriters when carbon paper was used to make a copy of the document being typed.

The words “carbon copy” means that it was a copy (duplicate) of the original document. And since the person receiving the carbon copy would have no idea who else received a copy of the document, it was called a blind carbon copy.

Similarly, in modern-day email, the BCC feature allows users to send a copy of an email to multiple persons while keeping the information about other recipients confidential.

Key Features and Benefits of the BCC Feature

BCC is a very useful email feature that helps improve email communication in many ways. Below, we have briefly discussed some of the key features and benefits of BCC in an email:

Protecting Recipients’ Privacy

One of the key benefits of using the BCC feature is that it helps protect the privacy of the recipients of your email. When you use the BCC field to send an email to a large number of people, the recipients in the BCC field remain confidential. That is, their email addresses are not visible to the other recipients.

So, using the BCC feature, you can easily send a copy of an email to multiple recipients without them knowing that you have done so. This feature comes in handy when the recipients do not know each other or when you do not want your recipients to know that others also receive this email.

Preventing Unnecessary Replies

When you use the To or CC fields, most recipients hit Reply all and respond to the email, creating a cluttered thread, which is a headache to navigate. But by using BCC, you can easily prevent unnecessary replies and make your email communication more efficient.

Keeping Email Communication Organized

emails showing on a desktop PC

Using BCC, you keep email communication organized when you prevent unnecessary replies from people that are not primary recipients. It not only keeps the email thread organized but also keeps your email inbox organized.

Anti-Spam Precaution

By keeping the email addresses of the recipients private, the BCC feature acts as an anti-spam precaution. Spammers use harvested email addresses to send unwanted messages. By using the BCC feature, you can add an extra layer of protection to the email addresses of your recipients.

Following Up With Individual Recipients

Following up on individual recipients when using the To or CC feature becomes hard. But when you email multiple individuals using the BCC feature, you can follow up with each recipient. This allows you to send personalized follow-ups, achieve your desired goals, and strengthen your relationship with recipients.


By keeping recipients’ emails confidential, ensuring data privacy, and preventing spam, BCC helps individuals and companies ensure compliance with legal and ethical standards in email communication.

Drawbacks of Using BCC

Where BCC offers several benefits that can help improve email communication, it also has many potential drawbacks. Below we have discussed some of the common drawbacks of using BCC:

Risk of Misuse

BCC is a great feature, but when misused (which can be easily done), there could be many ethical and legal issues. For example, one can easily send an email to a person who is not supposed to get it by using the BCC feature without other recipients knowing that the email was shared with someone else.

Missed Replies

Another drawback of using BCC is that it can sometimes lead to missed replies. Since the recipient list in the BCC field is hidden from other recipients, there is a risk that the primary recipient may miss a reply or response from one of the BCC recipients. This can lead to miscommunication and confusion, particularly in group email threads.

Incomplete Email Threads

Another drawback of using BCC is that it can often lead to incomplete threads because the recipients are not visible to each other. Moreover, those in BCC might not be able to see subsequent replies or group follow-up emails.

Limited Personalization

Another drawback of using BCC to send an email to a large number of people is that you will need help to personalize your email for each recipient. This means that your email could be less effective.

While the benefits of using BCC can be significant, it’s important to be aware of these potential drawbacks and to use BCC responsibly and ethically.

Differences Between BCC and CC

Just like BCC, CC is also an email feature allowing users to send an email to multiple recipients.

The primary difference between BCC and CC is that when you use the CC feature, all recipients are able to see the email address of each other. On the other hand, when you use BCC, recipients cannot see each other’s email addresses.

CC is suitable for sending emails to people who know each other and have no privacy issues. Conversely, BCC is more appropriate when you are sending an email to multiple people who might not know each other, or there are privacy concerns, and you want to keep the recipients’ email addresses private.

Phoebe Brown
Phoebe Brown

As a British writer and productivity coach, I’m passionate about unraveling the intricacies of email, SaaS, and artificial intelligence. With a knack for making the complex simple, my work empowers individuals and teams to harness these tools for maximum impact.

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