The Difference Between To, Cc and Bcc In Email

When sending emails there are three fields in which you can enter the recipient(s) email address. The To:, Cc and Bcc fields. What are they really? And how do they work?

cc and bcc

You probably know what the To: field does already.  It is the field where you enter the recipient’s address. For most email services you can put more than one email address in the To: field just separated by a comma.

If you add more than one recipient in the To: field,  a copy of the email will be sent to all of them. Each of the recipients in the To: field will see all the other recipients that the email has been sent to. Same as Cc field.  Cc refers to (Carbon copy) which basically means a copy of the email will be sent to recipients in the Cc field. Recipients in the To and the Cc field will be able to see who else the email was sent to.

So What is the difference Between To:  and Cc:  ?

The only difference between the two fields is courtesy. The To: field is meant for the original recipient of the email. The Cc field is meant for sending a copy to other people who might want to know about the email and it’s contents.

If I send an email to a client, I might want to Cc the boss so that he knows I sent the email and he can read what i write to the client. The client will also see that I sent a copy of the email to my boss.

So What is Bcc: ?

Bcc refers to (Blind carbon copy). No one in either the To or Cc fields can see the recipients inn the Bcc field.  The Bcc field is completely anonymous. Even two or more recipients in the Bcc can not see each other.

It’s the ultimate weapon of secrecy when emailing more than one person at the same time. Recipients in the Bcc field can see all the recipients of the email in the To and Cc fields.


In the illustration image above, Julie will know that i sent a copy of the email to Sarah.  Sarah will also know that a copy of the email was sent to Julie. Julie and Sarah won’t know that there was a copy of the email sent to John. But John will know a copy of the email has been sent to Sarah and Julie.

Cc and Bcc Replies:

I Julie and Sarah reply to the email, they will see each others replies. John will not see these replies because Julie and Sarah’s email programs can’t tell that John received the email.

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