Guide to Using BCC vs. CC in E-Mails (With Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published June 10, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
E-mail is an essential part of any modern workplace, being the most common form of communication within offices and for external operations. Properly addressing your e-mails is essential to ensuring all interested parties remain informed and that you maintain privacy properly. By learning how to use all the features in the sending section of your e-mail form, you can communicate professionally and improve your career. In this article, we define the bcc vs. cc feature in e-mail, discuss the similarities and differences, and explore the uses of each, then provide examples of e-mails using both cc and bcc features.
What is bcc vs. cc in e-mails?
Understanding the difference between bcc vs. cc in e-mails is essential to maintaining privacy, and the courtesy by which these acronyms got their namesakes. CC is short for either carbon copy or courtesy copy. BCC is short for a blind courtesy copy. With a courtesy copy, all recipients see the sender, the primary recipient, and anyone who was cc'd on the e-mail. With a bcc, only the recipient can see themselves on the sending list. There is a wide range of reasons to use both features, but using them correctly is paramount to professionalism.
Similarities and differences
Both a BCC and a CC send the e-mail to the listed recipients. The difference is which recipients are visible. Blind courtesy copy ensures that no one can see the recipient of the fact that they received the message. In a courtesy copy, everyone can see the recipient's address. The main similarity is that it is not an action item. If the recipient is either a cc or a bcc'd party, then it is informational and there is no follow-up required.
Uses for the cc feature
The courtesy copy feature of an e-mail has many applications. These include:
When you send an e-mail about the status of a project, especially at a milestone point, it helps to include the client when discussing it. When you place the recipient in the cc column, the client understands that there is requisite action. This helps provide the courtesy of information.
When multiple people work on a team project, the cc feature can help all parties remain aware of the project's status. If the team member is cc'd, then there is no action to take. It provides useful information without an expectation of response.
Large companies with multiple departments often distribute memorandums through e-mail. In many situations, there is an e-mail group consisting of all department members. The person sending the memo puts the primary department group address in the recipient line. If the memo's content impacts other professionals, such as the person responsible for policies, then it's important to cc them.
Uses for the bcc feature
The bcc feature has multiple applications, all aiming to maintain the anonymity of a recipient. Some of their purposes include:
Maintaining contractor privacy
If you plan to organize a group of private contractors, the best practice is to maintain their anonymity. Accordingly, when you send an e-mail to a large group, you bcc everyone. It ensures that there is only one person to whom recipients can respond. The bcc feature allows the contractors to remain separate. For example, if you bid on a project with multiple vendors, maintaining that separation can help you better control the bidding process.
Reducing e-mail redundancy
The bcc feature allows the company to communicate with senior management without informing others on the e-mail thread. For instance, consider a marketing team that sends e-mails on various projects. That project manager can place all team members in a group e-mail, then bcc their supervisor. It prevents senior management from receiving unnecessary e-mails.
Providing substantiating correspondence
There are many work situations where a professional wants to communicate a sensitive issue. Bcc features enable the e-mail sender to state their information and involve outside parties, such as management or human resources, without the recipient of the e-mail seeing that there are bcc'd parties. It provides proof that you sent the e-mail, though unless the recipient selects Reply all, anyone in either the cc or bcc line doesn't get the response.
Example e-mail using cc feature
The following is an example of using a cc feature, where the individual is taking temporary leave to care for the family. In this situation, the addressee is human resources, though management and supervisors receive a cc. The outline is as follows:
Subject: Carter Mason — Temporary personal leave
Dear Mr. Sprak,
I am not able to attend work today due to a personal emergency relating to my family. After consulting with my doctor, I learned that I am unable to return to work for a minimum of two weeks.
As I won't be in the office for the upcoming two weeks, I requested that Dawn assist me with the remaining deadlines for the week. If the issue persists, kindly assign one of my coworkers to address any remaining tasks. For ease of reference, I am attaching a list of ongoing projects.
Please see attached the report from my family physician outlining the situation. My manager is cc'd on this e-mail and is aware of my temporary absence. If you have any questions, please reach out at 555-677-0009. Thank you again for your time and consideration with this matter.
Example e-mail using bcc feature
The following is an example of using a bcc feature, where a recruiter engages with multiple candidates. In this situation, the recruiter sends the e-mail to themselves and puts all the prospective vendors in the bcc column. The outline is:
bcc: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Construction contract bids—Mase Verde Estates
Thank you for expressing interest in the above-noted project. To ensure that we identify the ideal candidate, we request that you provide a detailed proposal according to the attached guidelines.
Please note that this project is time-sensitive, and we favour proposals that focus on efficiency. The budget is flexible for the construction work, with our price range noted in the attachment.
Our company also requires copies of your licenses and contracting credentials for any tasks you propose to complete in-house.
For those with whom we choose to move forward, the next step in your application requires a background check.
Thank you for your time and we look forward to receipt of your detailed proposals. If you have any questions, please contact my assistant, cc'd in this e-mail.
Example of a company-wide announcement
For certain types of correspondence, the purpose is to issue a company-wide announcement. In most cases, there is a company-wide e-mail that includes every member of the team with a company address. If the executive making this announcement chooses to inform an outside party and inform the team, they use a cc. If the sender chooses to keep the outside party private, they use a bcc. It's considered best practice to indicate when a party is involved on an e-mail thread.
The following is an example of a company-wide e-mail:
Subject: Retirement of founding partner
I'm pleased to announce that, after 54 dedicated years with Service & Sons, George Son is retiring. Not only did he establish the company, but Mr. Son was responsible for taking a humble business of 30 people and turning it into a global enterprise that employs over 3,000 professionals.
We are all grateful to Mr. Son for his contributions to the company. In celebration of these achievements, Service & Sons is hosting an office event at each of its 45 locations on November 17. To show your appreciation to Mr. Son, we invite you to sign the digital card which you can access via this link. https:bit/linktocard
On behalf of everyone at Service & Sons, we thank Mr. Son and endeavour to continue your business true to its spirit of quality, teamwork, and service.
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