Understanding mailto: A Complete Email Glossary

What is mailto?

If you\’ve ever encountered a hyperlink on a website or document that, when clicked, opens up a new email message in your default email application, you\’ve likely come across the mailto: syntax. The mailto: protocol is a simple way to initiate email communications by automatically opening up the intended recipient\’s email client with a new message pre-populated with specified details.

Syntax of mailto:

The mailto: protocol utilizes a specific syntax to pass various parameters to the email application. These parameters are included within the mailto: URL itself and are often separated with special characters like question marks (?) and ampersands (&). Here is an example syntax:

Parameter Explanation
mailto: Protocol prefix indicating email communication
recipient@example.com Email address of the recipient
?subject=Hello Predefined subject line for the email
&cc=cc@example.com Carbon copy recipient
&bcc=bcc@example.com Blind carbon copy recipient
&body=Hi%20there! Predefined email body message

Using mailto: on websites:

Web developers often utilize the mailto: protocol to create email links on websites. These links allow visitors to easily send an email by simply clicking on the link. When a user clicks on a mailto: link, it initiates the user\’s default email application and opens up a new email message, pre-filling it with the details specified in the mailto: URL.

Handling multiple recipients:

Mailto: URLs can handle multiple recipients by separating the email addresses with commas. For example:

  • mailto:recipient1@example.com,recipient2@example.com

Pre-filling subject lines:

Subject lines can be pre-filled in mailto: URLs by including the ?subject= parameter followed by the desired subject line. This allows you to specify the subject of the email message before it is even opened for composing.

Including body text:

You can also pre-define the body content of an email by appending the &body= parameter followed by the desired message. This enables you to provide a predefined message or template for the email, saving the user time and effort in composing the text.

Closing thoughts:

The mailto: protocol serves as a convenient way to initiate email communications by automatically opening the recipient\’s email client with pre-filled details. It simplifies the process of emailing by allowing users to click on hyperlinks or URLs to compose emails directly. Understanding the syntax and parameters of the mailto: protocol empowers users to create more efficient and user-friendly email links and buttons.