CC vs BCC email – STOP using the TO line!

CC vs BCC email. What’s the cc meaning? What’s the bcc meaning? Once you find out, you’ll want to share this with others!

Unnecessary emails. They are such a waste of time! Even if you know that you don’t need to read the email, you’re still wasting time deleting it and wasting even more time reading the subject line to figure out that it doesn’t pertain to you. I wish spammers would self-implode.

It doesn’t happen daily anymore in the business world, but when it does, it really chaffs my hide. What gets me riled up? When someone lists their contact list on the To: or CC: line of their email.

What’s the big deal, you ask? Before I explain that, let me define three important terms:

TO meaning – This is the “TO” line of your email. This is the person or persons to which your email is specifically written.

CC meaning – CC means “Carbon Copy”. This is from the good ol’ days when someone typed a letter and needed to share a copy with another person. At the bottom of the letter would be typed “CC: John Doe” so that the main recipient would know who else received a copy. Nowadays in email, the CC line should be used to include people who are not directly being addressed in the email, but you want to keep them in the loop.

BCC meaning – BCC means “Blind Carbon Copy”. This line is used for people you want to keep in the loop, but either you don’t want the main recipient to know that others are receiving a copy of the email, or you don’t want a million emails in your inbox when people listed on the CC line who don’t know any better hit “Reply All”.

Now that you understand the email alphabet soup, here’s why you should stop using the TO line for all recipients and instead use the BCC line:

  1. If you respect your friends and colleagues (or even the strangers on your list), your email address book should remain private. (Sing it, R-E-S-P-E-C-T!)
  1. Someone might accidentally hit Reply All and say something that should have remained private. (ruh roh!)
  1. Someone might accidentally hit Reply All and bother you with an email that does not benefit the recipients in any way. (grrrrrrrrrr!)
  1. Someone might intentionally hit Reply All, thinking we all wanted to know his idea or RSVP response. (Moron!)
  1. It just looks tacky to have a long list of addresses, in addition to causing me to have to scroll down before I can even begin reading the body of the email. (Oh no he di’n’t!)
  1. I don’t publicly display my email address on the Internet because that leads to spam. If the email you sent ends up in some archive online, my email address will be captured by spammers. (Thanks a lot, you booger snot!)
  1. If there is a shady character in the recipient line, you run the risk of our email addresses being sold to spammers. S/he will get paid more since they’re verified email addresses, so that’s quite a temptation to avoid if you’re unscrupulous. (Jerk!)
  1. If there is a person on your list who is desperately trying to grow their business, they might harvest the email addresses and add those folks, those strangers – without permission – to their distribution list, thereby annoying a slew of people with unwanted email. (Clod!)
  1. If someone forwards this email, the chances of one of the above happening just increased exponentially.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Using the TO and CC lines often ends up creating unnecessary emails.

So, how can you avoid this problem?

Simple: use the BCC line. It hides all of your recipient addresses so none of the above can happen. Now there may be some times when you do have to list everyone – like if you serve on a board and you need to vote by email in between meetings, or a few of you working on a project can’t talk via phone but need to share some input with each other, or someone’s shift schedule suddenly changes and you contact three possible replacements to find out who can do what. But if you’re just inviting people somewhere or asking folks to spread the word about an article or a cause, it’s completely unnecessary to list all of those email addresses. In most cases, the BCC line is the way to go. PLEASE!

And puh-lease feel free to share this with your friends who send jokes and commit the same email sin in your personal life. They need this info, too!

Know of someone who could use this tip? Do your good deed for the day and share it!

About Helene Segura

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead? The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits. Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.


  1. djst org on April 5, 2022 at 3:47 am

    I love it whenever people get together and share thoughts. Great site, continue the good work!

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