What Does CCing Mean in Email Management: A Comprehensive Guide

What Does CCing Mean in Email Management: A Comprehensive Guide

What does CC mean in Email? How to Use the CCed Email Function and Etiquette. Will a CC email also send the attachment?

Phoebe Brown

Phoebe Brown | Jul 22, 2022 | 5 mins read

If you’re using email in the workplace, you surely felt the need to send a copy of an email you’ve exchanged with a coworker or client to your manager or teammate. At times, you may need to copy someone on an important email. 

You can do so using the CC function that allows you to send a copy of the email to multiple people. In this article, we’ll explain what the CC feature is, how it works, and what you should consider when CCing someone in an email. 

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What Does CCing an Email Mean?

The concept of CC, short for Carbon Copy, letters originated with the invention of carbon paper in the early 19th century. This thin paper allowed for the transfer of handwriting or typewritten text onto another sheet of paper placed underneath it. 

Before the widespread use of photocopiers and printers, carbon paper was used to create duplicates of documents. 

To produce a carbon copy letter, a sheet of carbon paper was inserted between the original document and a blank sheet so that when you wrote on the blank sheet, your writing would imprint on the carbon paper and create a direct copy of the document. 

The CC field in an email refers to an exact duplicate of the email sent to other people. Therefore, CCing someone means sending them a copy of the email you’ve written, commonly used to indicate who should respond and stay updated. 

There are many professional uses for the CC function. For example, you may need a reply from a coworker that directly impacts your responsibilities, and you want to keep your supervisor informed. Perhaps you’re on the verge of signing a potential client and need multiple team members to know about the upcoming new contract. 

Think of CCing an email as a more organized version of a group text. 

What’s the Difference Between CCing and BCCing an Email?

If you’re wondering what the difference is between CCing and BCCing someone in an email, you’re not alone. Many of us often get confused between these two actions.  

There’s one simple difference between CCing and BCCing someone in an email thread. Simply put, a BCC is a Blind Carbon Copy of the email you’ve written that is sent to people without notifying the original and CCed recipients. So, BCCing protects the security and identities of their recipients.

Although you may feel tempted to use BCC to keep someone’s inclusion in the conversation a secret from the other participants, this isn’t recommended as it would be considered unethical workplace behavior. 

What to Consider When Using the CC Email Function

If you haven’t done it previously, you may be wondering how to CC someone on an email. The good news is that it’s very straightforward. Simply add the email addresses of the people you want to CC in the CC field, which is located under the To: field in your New Email window. 

But before you start CCing everyone on your future correspondence, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

Using CC Signals Who Should Respond

You may be wondering why use CC if you can just list multiple recipients in the To: field of your email. 

That’s because if you send the email to multiple people without using the CC function, your recipients will feel obligated to respond, thinking the email is addressed to all of them. However, addressing the email to one person and CCing others makes it clear who should respond to it. 

Using CC Copies Attachments 

When you CC an email, the recipient of a CCed email will also receive the attachment placed in the original email. 

If you want to send the content of your email to multiple people but not the attachment, you can either learn your email system’s shortcuts for sending the attachment only to the recipient listed in the To: field or find a way to encrypt your attachment. 

CCed Recipients Will See Previous Emails

When CCing people on an email thread, keep in mind that all CCed recipients will see previous emails on that thread. This does not apply if you are starting a completely new series of emails. In this case, you would want to forward or summarize previous correspondence. 

All Recipients Can See Who Is CCed

When the original recipient receives your email, they will be able to see who you CCed and interact with them by using the Reply All button. If you don’t want the original recipient to see who you copied on the email, you can use the BCC field.  

When Should You Use CC in an Email?

Using CC in an email can be helpful in many situations. It’s a good idea to CC someone when introducing a contact, handing off a task to another person, or simply wanting to keep multiple people in the loop. Sometimes, CCing someone on an email can be useful for documenting and mediating a conflict. 

Although CCing is a great and recommended practice in the workplace, there are some things you shouldn’t do. For instance, it’s a bad practice to passively aggressively copy your supervisor on an email when arguing with a coworker. You’ll also want to avoid overusing the CC function to micromanage your coworkers, employees, or teammates. 

When using CC, you should also consider data privacy. You should avoid CCing people outside your organization (unless they’re clients, contractors, or partners or you have permission to do so) and sharing contact information without permission in CCed emails. 

Do CC when you’re:

  • Introducing someone to the team,
  • Wanting to keep people in the loop,
  • Handing off a task or project to someone else,
  • Have important information to share company-wide.

Don’t CC when you’re:

  • Wanting to passively aggressively add a supervisor to a conversation,
  • Trying to micromanage a project,
  • Sharing contact information without permission,
  • Emailing people outside of your company (except when it makes sense).

What Does CCing Do, the Bottom Line

Overall, using the CC function is recommended when it makes sense to keep communication between multiple people smooth and efficient. Still, try not to overuse this feature. CCing people on every email isn’t necessary and can be extremely annoying. After all, no one likes to receive emails that have nothing to do with them! 

Although every email client offers the CC function, you may want to consider an alternative to your existing email provider with more extensive email management features to help you organize and manage hundreds of emails in your inbox more efficiently. If you’re looking for an advanced email client, give Canary Mail a try. 

CCing an Email, the FAQs

❓What is CC in an email?

CC stands for Carbon Copy. It’s used to send a copy of an email to additional recipients to keep them in the loop regarding the ongoing conversation with another recipient. 

Should I CC or BCC?

Use CC if you want all of the recipients to know who you’ve sent the email to. Use BCC when you want to keep the recipients hidden from view (so that the main recipient doesn’t know you’ve also sent the email to someone else).

❓Is BCC hidden from CC?

Yes, BCC recipients are hidden from CCed and main recipients of your email. The BCCed recipients, however, can see the CCed and primary recipients. 

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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