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What Does "CC" Mean in Email?

Published on
February 12, 2024
In today's digital age, email is a ubiquitous mode of communication. Whether you're corresponding with colleagues, friends, or family, you've probably come across the term "CC" in your email client. 

In today's digital age, email is a ubiquitous mode of communication. Whether you're corresponding with colleagues, friends, or family, you've probably come across the term "CC" in your email client. 

But what exactly does "CC" mean in email, and how should you use it effectively? In this blog post, we'll delve into the meaning of "CC" in email and provide some best practices for its usage.

Understanding "CC" in Email

"CC" stands for "Carbon Copy" in email, and it's a way to send a copy of an email to additional recipients beyond the primary recipient. 

When you include someone's email address in the CC field of your message, they will receive a copy of the email, just like the primary recipient. 

However, the primary recipient can see the list of CC'd recipients, fostering transparency and awareness among all parties involved.

Do note that CC is different from BCC, to learn more about the differences check out our blog post CC vs BCC. and if you want to learn what is BCC in email, we've got you covered there too.

When to Use "CC"

  • Information Sharing:¬†The primary use of the CC field is to inform or update others about an email conversation or document without necessarily expecting a response. This is particularly useful in professional settings, where you should update your team about project status via email or share specific information.
  • Secondary Recipients:¬†If you're sending an email to one person but want another person or group to be aware of the communication, you can use CC. For instance, you might send a new account manager introduction email to your client and CC your manager for visibility.
  • Multiple Recipients:¬†When you need to send the same message to multiple people, but it's not a group email or distribution list situation, CC can be handy. This ensures that everyone receives the same information while maintaining transparency.

Best Practices for Using "CC"

To ensure that your use of "CC" in email remains effective and respectful of recipients' time, consider these best practices:

  • Limit the Number of CC'd Recipients:¬†Avoid CC-ing a long list of people unless it's essential. Too many CCs can lead to cluttered inboxes and information overload
  • Use BCC for Privacy:¬†When you want to protect the privacy of additional recipients, consider using the "BCC" (Blind Carbon Copy) field. BCC hides the list of recipients from others, ensuring their email addresses are not exposed.
  • Provide Context:¬†In the body of your email, explain why each person is being CC'd. This helps recipients understand their role or relevance in the conversation.
  • Use "To" for Primary Recipients:¬†Reserve the "To" field for the primary recipient‚ÄĒthe person to whom the email is directed. This person is typically the primary recipient and the one expected to respond or take action.
  • Reply to All Sparingly:¬†When replying to a CC'd email, use the "Reply to All" option only if your response is relevant to all recipients. Overusing this feature can lead to unnecessary email traffic.
  • Review Before Sending:¬†Double-check the recipients in the CC field before hitting the send button to avoid accidental disclosures.


In summary, "CC" in email stands for "Carbon Copy" and is used to include additional recipients in an email conversation. 

It's a valuable tool for information sharing and keeping others in the loop, but it should be used judiciously to avoid clutter and respect recipients' time. 

By following best practices for using "CC," you can ensure effective communication and maintain professionalism in your email correspondence.

Finally, if you would like more email content especially for purposes like a sample email seeking approval from boss or formal email asking for information, and more, do check out our blog.

About the author
Shiva Prabhakaran

Shiva is a subject matter expert in communication, marketing, productivity, and learning systems. He has previously contributed to many blogs and newsletters, including Validated, Mental Models, HackerNoon, and several brands. You can find Shiva on LinkedIn or email him at shiva(at)routine.co.

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