How To's‎ > ‎

mailto links

Direct mailto links to Gmail. A click-able email address shown on a website is typically a "mailto" link. The link tries to be slick by telling your computer to open up your email program (eg. Outlook) and then pre-filling the To: field with the appropriate email address. Sometimes the mailto link also contains data that would fill in the Subject line and include text in the body of the new email composition too. Mailto links are prevalent while browsing www.craigslist.org for example. 

The problems is, more people are doing away with installed email programs and simply logging onto a website to manage their email... like www.gmail.com!

The concept of a mailto link was never meant to direct to a website, but instead an installed email program like Outlook. But here's how to have a new email composition window in Gmail pop up when clicking on a mailto link:

  • If you use the Firefox as your browser...
    • press the ALT key on the keyboard to display the top menu bar
    • click on the Tools menu, and select Options
    • click on the Applications button/tab
    • look for the "mailto" Content Type on the left
    • in the corresponding Action column, select Gmail as the Action
    • click OK button
  • If you use Internet Explorer as your browser
    • Too bad... you're left out. IE does not have built-in options or plugins to install that would allow mailto links to go to Gmail. Microsoft would rather you the aging Outlook paradigm. If you're a Gmail user, consider switching to a more modern browser like Chrome or Firefox.   
    • Using Google's free Gmail Notifier program is a possible alternative.

  • If you use Safari as your browser...
    • Too bad... refer to above Internet Explorer explaination.