Have you ever clicked on a “mailto” link to send an email from the web, only to find your browser opens the wrong email client? My own computer always used to try opening up Outlook, even though I use Gmail.

Mailto” links are hyperlinks that use “mailto:” instead of “http://”, so when they are clicked on, a new email compose window pops up instead of a link to a website.

Here’s how to fix it so your preferred browser uses Gmail as its default email client for “mailto” links.

How To Make Gmail Default Email In CHROME

  1. Open Chrome and navigate to “Settings”
  2. Click “Content settings” under “Privacy and security”
  3. Select “Handlers” and switch on the Ask protocol
  4. Allow Gmail to open all email links

Open Chrome And Navigate To “Settings”

Before you can actually set Gmail as your default email client, you need to allow Gmail to ask you permission. To do so, open up your Chrome browser and click the three-dots icon next to the URL address bar. Then click “Settings”.

Type “Handlers” In The Search Bar

In the Settings tab that appears in your Chrome browser, type “handlers” in the search bar and hit enter. Scroll down and click on “Content Settings …” second from the bottom.

Select “Handlers” And Switch On The Ask Protocol

In the next group of options that appears, scroll down to the “Handlers” setting near the bottom of the list. It should be highlighted like below:

Click this setting and you’ll see at least one horizontal switch where you can allow any website you visit to ask you if it can become Chrome’s default “handler.” Switch this setting to the on position, as shown below. (If it’s already switched on, switch it off and on again – this can prompt Gmail to re-ask you to become your default handler if you’ve been asked before and want to change your answer.)

Allow Gmail To Open All Email Links

Open Gmail in a new tab and make sure you’re signed in. At the end of your URL’s address bar, there will be an icon that looks like two intersecting diamonds. You’ll see the menu below when you click this icon.

Click “Allow” in response to the question Chrome asks you, as shown above, and then hit Done. You’ll officially have all “mailto:” links open in Gmail if they come from your Chrome browser.

Extra Help: If you’re still having trouble (for example, your “Protocol handlers” window appears blank with no options), try installing Google’s Mailto Extension for Chrome instead. If you run through the process, and Chrome starts opening a blank page instead of a compose tab, simply close the Gmail tab and reopen, when you do the double diamond icon should reappear on the right-hand side of your URL bar and you’ll need to select the icon and allow then save. This should do the trick.

How To Make Gmail Default Email In Safari

Unfortunately for Safari fans, there is no easy way to set this.

  1. Our suggestion: follow the steps for Chrome above
  2. Click “mailto” links in Safari and they’ll open in Gmail inside Chrome

How To Make Gmail Default Email In Firefox

  1. Open the Firefox menu on the upper-righthand corner of your browser.
  2. Select “Preferences” and scroll down to “Applications.”
  3. Find or search for “mailto” in the search bar.
  4. Next to “mailto,” open the dropdown menu and select “Use Gmail.”

Open The Firefox Menu On The Upper-Righthand Corner Of Your Browser.

Launch Firefox and look to the upper-righthand corner of your browser for an icon consisting of three horizontal lines on top of one another. Click this icon and open the Firefox menu.

Select “Preferences” And Scroll Down To “Applications”

Select the “Preferences” icon from the menu, and you’ll see a full page of settings filed under a “General” tab to the left-hand side. Staying on the General settings page, scroll down until you see the “Applications” section.

Find Or Search For “Mailto” In The Search Bar.

Under the “Applications” settings of Firefox, you might see a list of previously used applications depending on how you’ve used Firefox. Look for the “mailto” application in the left-hand column (if you don’t see it listed, search for it in the “Applications” search bar above the list).

Next To “Mailto,” Open The Dropdown Menu And Select “Use Gmail”

In the right-hand column of the applications list, click on the “mailto” row and select “Use Gmail.” This will set Gmail as your default email client for all mailto links that come from Firefox. No need to save your settings — Firefox does this automatically.

Extra Help: You also might see the option to “Use Chrome” if you also have the Chrome browser downloaded on your computer. If you see both Chrome and Gmail as default options, stick with Gmail. If not, verify that you’re signed into Gmail and load these settings again. If all you see is the option to use Chrome, select this as your default email client.

How To Make Gmail Default Email In Microsoft Edge

Edge uses your Windows default application to open mailto links. That means if you configure Windows to open Gmail in another browser, Edge will open that browser when you click the links. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a way to open Gmail automatically in Edge itself. At the end of the day it might make your life easier to switch to a more widely supported browser. If you opt to continue using Edge in your day-to-day work, see below to open “mailto” links in Gmail.

  1. Bring up the control panel
  2. Search for “default”
  3. Set your preferred browser as default for email
  4. Our suggestion: follow the steps for Chrome above
  5. Click “mailto” links in Edge and they’ll open in Gmail inside Chrome

Bring Up The Control Panel

Press Windows + S to bring up the search window. Then type “control panel” and press return.

Search For “Default”

When the control panel appears, type “default” into the search box. Choose “default programs.” Then, on the next screen, click “set your default programs.”

A settings screen will appear, showing your default applications for various functions, including your default map, music, photo, video and browser apps, as well as your default email program.

Set Your Preferred Browser (Except Edge) As Default For Email

Since Gmail doesn’t have a desktop app, you’ll need to access it via a browser, so select your preferred supported browser as your default for email. Unfortunately, this can’t be set as Microsoft Edge.

Follow The Steps Above To Set Up “Mailto” Links In Your Chosen Supported Browser

Now that you’ve chosen a browser to open links with, you’ll need to make sure it handles “mailto” links correctly, so check the guides above for your browser of choice.

No matter which browser you use day-to-day, the days of closing annoying applications whilst trying to send an email are gone. Thanks to this helpful guide, you are now able to appreciate the simplicity of clicking a “mailto” link, and have it just work.