What does CC mean in an email, and how do I use it correctly?

November 28, 2022

Were you CC’d on an email and wondering what it means?

Getting CC’ed onto an email means that the sender wanted you to have a copy of the original email. It’s usually used as a simple way to keep you in the loop. People do not typically expect a reply from others that they’ve CC’d.

In this guide

What does CC mean in email?

CC is short for Carbon Copy and originates from the old days when people wrote letters by hand instead of sending emails.

When you made a carbon copy, you inserted a thing called carbon paper between the paper you were writing on and the paper you wanted to make the copy on.

A cat making an old school carbon copy of a drawing

CC in an email just means that the person that sent the email wanted you to have a copy. Technically, it’s the same as using the TO field, but you can think of it it’s more as email etiquette. By adding you to the CC field instead of using the TO field, they signal that they want to keep you in the loop.

If you were CCed onto an email by your manager, it means that they want to keep you in the loop about an email they sent to someone else.

How to check if you're CC'd in the Gmail client

What’s the main difference between CC and BCC?

BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy and works like CC, except the copy will be invisible to the other recipients. They will never know that you have shared a copy with someone else. Read our guide about BCC if you want to know when and how to use BCC.

How to add an email address to CC in Gmail

When composing a message, you can cc someone by clicking the address field and then on CC. You then enter their email into the CC field.

To cc someone in Gmail: Click the to-field, then cc, and then type their email.

When to CC someone

You should set someone to CC when you think that they should be informed of the email you are sending. You should not CC someone if you expect an answer back from them.

But be wary; adding people to the CC field may cause a lot of noise in their inboxes, so you should only do this when necessary.

If you want to share an email with someone mainly so they’ll have access to it, there are better ways of doing that. We recommend using some software to handle email sharing between team members.

What to use instead

There is multiple software for sharing emails between team members, but in this example, I’ll do some shameless self-promotion and use the one that we’ve developed, which is Mailflow. It’s the most lightweight and simple way to share emails with someone else. It’s also free up to 25 emails.

The benefit of using a tool like Mailflow instead of CC’ing people is that you can give them access to the email thread without their inboxes getting flooded. You can also mention them at the side of the email if you need to discuss something without cluttering the internal conversation into the thread with your client.