How to Email Multiple Recipients Using Cc and Bcc

When and how you should use these two options

An illustration of an email with multiple recipients.

 ©Lifewire

When composing an email to multiple recipients, the To field is not the only place to enter addresses. Two more fields, Cc and Bcc, also accept recipients. But, what are these fields for, exactly, and when should you use them?

What Does "Cc" Mean?

Screenshot of the Cc field in Gmail

Cc is short for carbon copy. Before mail went digital, carbon copy paper made it possible to send the same letter to two people without having to write or type it twice.

When an email address is entered in the Cc field, that person receives a copy of the message sent to the person in the To field. It's useful for keeping people in the loop even if they're not the focus of the message.

More than one email address can be entered in the Cc field, and all addresses will receive a copy of the email.

The Shortcomings of Cc

There are some downsides to sending email carbon copies. When you use the Cc field, both the original recipient and all carbon copy recipients see the email addresses the message was sent to, and some people might object to their email address going public.

Plus, crowded Cc fields don't look good. They can become quite long and take up screen space. Even worse, when somebody replies to all in your message, every addressee in the Cc field receives the response.

What Does Bcc Mean?

Screenshot of Bcc field in Gmail

Bcc stands for blind carbon copy. This field hides the email addresses entered in it. Only the original sender of the email can view the Bcc recipients. So, to keep maximum anonymity, put your email address in the To field and use Bcc for recipients.

People in the Bcc field also don't receive reply emails from To or Cc recipients, which is handy during a lengthy mail conversation if you don't want to spam everyone's inboxes.

Bcc is also useful when you send a newsletter or send a message to undisclosed recipients.

Add Blind Carbon Copy Recipients

Follow the links below for your operating system and email program to find out how to add Bcc recipients to your email:

Windows

OS X

Mobile

Web