Carbon copying without getting your fingers smudged

The CC and BCC fields are mostly ignored by casual email users, while more intensive users rely on them perhaps a little too much. The middle ground is, as usual, the safest bet.

The acronyms stand for Carbon Copy and Blind Carbon Copy. On these days of pocket email, the origins of these terms seem almost entirely forgotten. They refer to the copies gotten from a typewriter by applying a carbon paper while typing the text – an extremely analog technique that basically lives on only as a digital term. There have been efforts to backronym these designations: Courtesy Copy and Copy Circulated among them.

But getting down to the mechanics: when you add recipients to the CC field, they all receive the message and get to see each other’s addresses, while the addresses are kept invisible in BCC. In this post we try to examine the subtleties of the