How to use TO, CC and BCC in Microsoft Outlook Correctly?

By: Standss Contributor , Aug 2nd, 2022

Do you know the best practices of using TO, CC or BCC in your emails?

If you don’t know or would like some more insight into this, you’ve come to the right place.

Knowing how to properly use To, Cc and Bcc in your business emails is important in order to maintain proper email etiquette and professionalism in your digital communications.

In this blogpost we will teach you how you can strategically place your email recipients in the right field.

We will also show you how you can use SendGuard for Outlook to monitor how you have placed your email recipients and also prevent accidental data disclosure caused by emailing wrong recipients.

Let’s start.

Download SendGuard for Outlook and prevent data loss caused by emailing unintended recipients.

The “TO” field

The To field is meant for the main recipient of your email. You should put your recipients here if your message directly concerns and affects them. If you expect your recipients to take action or a reply from them, then put them in the To field. You can include multiple recipients in this field.

When to use the “To” field

Use the To field for the main recipient(s) of your email. This should be for people who are directly required to take action in response to the email. These could be the people who you have mentioned in your salutation in your message or the members of the team you have mentioned in your email.

Although there isn’t any limit on the number of people to include in the To field, you should avoid adding more people than necessary, as your recipients will think they need to take action.

The “Cc (Carbon Copy)” field

When you Cc someone in an email they will receive a copy of your email. Cc can be commonly understood to mean courtesy copy because the person who is cc’ed in an email isn’t the direct recipient of the email. 

When should you use the “Cc” field?

The main purpose of using the Cc field is when you want to keep someone in the loop, even though the email doesn’t directly affect them. Recipients are cc’ed in an email when they are required to be aware about something, but they are not required to take any direct action or respond to the email. Just like the To field, the recipients will be able to see who all are in the Cc field.

You can use the Cc field to enhance the urgency of your emails. When you Cc top-level managers of your company the recipients in the To field will understand that the email is important.

It’s also a great idea to use the Cc field when you are temporarily filling in for a staff. To keep them updated on the status of their work you should Cc them in emails

However, you should avoid Cc-ing someone in your emails if they are not entirely involved in the matter. It can be tempting to Cc someone in your emails just because they are loosely involved but sending unsolicited messages to your co-workers may be a waste of their valuable time. Besides, if you are overusing Cc in your emails, it can cause people to reduce the priority and significance of your emails in the future. Your colleagues may begin to stop seeing your emails as important and this can cause problems for you when you really need their help.

Let people know why you are Cc-ing them in your email.

The “BCC (Blind Carbon Copy)” Field

Use the Bcc if you want to keep your recipients email address hidden. The recipient(s) in the Bcc field are a secret to everyone except the sender. You should use Bcc if you want to send multiple copies of your emails to contacts that don’t necessarily know each other, or they don’t want their email addresses to be shared with anyone.

When should you use the “Bcc” field?

The answer is straightforward- when you want to keep the email addresses of your contacts secret from others receiving the email also.

Take note, that if the person who is Bcc’d hits reply-all then everyone else will know that you secretly added that person to the email without them being aware. People on the To and Cc line will know that someone was Bcc’d on the email.

Suppose you send an email to a co-worker reminding them of an overdue task and you Bcc your manager on the email. If your manager replies to your email- your co-worker will know that you Bcc’d the manager in the email, and it will land you in a seriously awkward situation.

When sending out marketing emails, newsletters, brand updates, external emails or any other mass emails, it’s always recommended to use Bcc (though email merging is a better option for deliverability and increased open rates).

Bcc should only be used when your main priority is protecting your recipients email address. In many cases, like sending out marketing emails or newsletters, you cannot share personal information (email addresses). Sharing of email addresses can lead to legal implications.

Keep things transparent, maintain integrity and honesty it’s best to use “Cc” and “To.”

How to make sure that you’ve used To, Cc and Bcc correctly

Email mistakes like adding the wrong recipients in the To, Cc and Bcc fields can be made by anyone.

It’s too simple. It’s too easy.

Outlook’s reply-all, aliasing and address cache feature makes it too easy to send the email to the wrong person.

Do you want to know a way to stop yourself from making such mistakes?

SendGuard is an Outlook-addin that acts as a nice check and balance tool for your typically fast-paced email output.

The SendConfirm feature of SendGuard prompts users to confirm recipients and attachments before emails are sent out.

Even if you change your mind on which recipients you want to place on the To, Cc and Bcc field, you can easily change that on the SendConfirm prompt.

SendGuard prevents confidential emails from being sent to the wrong person by getting users to confirm recipients (both internal and external) and attachments caused by inadvertent email mistakes.

It scans your emails for sensitive data (credit card number, social security number, medical number etc.) and you can even build your own DLP rules to define which data is sensitive.

Try the 30-day-free trial today. Contact our sales team- for additional information.

SendGuard for Outlook

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