How to use bcc in email

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Using bcc, short for blind carbon copy, in email can be a good way – in theory, to keep others in the loop on a conversation without letting everyone know they are being copied. But there are real dangers when using bcc. I discuss these in this article, including:

What is cc in email?

First, of, there’s cc, or carbon copy, in the email. You can use this to email one person and copy another person. Both people can see who is included.

cc and bcc on email

What is bcc in email with an example?

BCC is just like cc, except the recipient can’t tell who you inserted into that field.

So that could look like this:

From: Christoph Trappe

To: Somebody else

cc: One more person

bcc: <not shown to recipient>

To send a bcc email, you add the person to that field when composing the email. Some email setups hide the BCC field. In that case, look if you can unhide it by clicking a button or a downward arrow.

Read next: What to know about Apple ’hide my email’

What is bcc good for?

Bcc is good for when you want to keep somebody in the loop on an email conversation. But there are some real issues with bcc emails.

One is that the person on bcc might reply. And if they reply all, they just exposed the sender as having bcced them.

Another problem might be that if you have to print, save the emails or forward them. The program might also expose who is on bcc. I noticed this when I had to print some emails sent via Gmail, and the printed copy did show who was on bcc.

So that can be a concern in some circumstances, but it might not be if you never have to print or forward an email.

Read next: Is it possible to write five sentences per email or how about three or two?

Should you ever use bcc in email?

Based on the two issues I mentioned above, my personal answer seems to be no. Instead of using this functionality, forward the email that you otherwise would have bcced.

Also, consider if the person you are adding on bcc really needs to see an ongoing discussion or if they would be better served getting a summary update once in a while.

Read next: App migration: How to move users from one app to another

What happens if somebody replies to a bcc email?

If the person on bcc does reply, it depends on whether they reply just to the sender or reply to all. If they reply just to the sender, that shouldn’t be a big issue because the sender knew they were on bcc. However, if they reply all, now everyone on the email will know they were on bcc.

Whether or not this practice works for you and the person you’re copying into emails is a personal preference to an extent. I sometimes don’t mind seeing all communications, but depending on the topic, it might be way more than I need to know.

And if there are a lot of emails, it can be hard to even keep up. So before you blindly copy somebody into an email exchange, consider whether or not that makes sense and whether or not that person needs to know and wants to know.

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