Tip: Making Gmail Default In Firefox

Just a quick tip for you today. It may be that everyone already knows about this, but I ran into an interesting problem this week and wanted to share the solution. My mum has been using Ubuntu on her laptop for a long time now and she likes it a lot. The other day though she asked me why it opened “some other weird box” when she clicked on email links in web pages. She’s a savvy computer user, she taught me how to use a computer when I was a kid, but this confused her.

It was launching the Evolution mail client and starting a new mail message every time a “mailto:” link was encountered. I remember this behaviour from years ago with Outlook on Windows. I have never bothered to do anything about it on my own machine because I tend to copy and paste an email address from a page straight into a new message. I’m a geek though and trying to explain that to non-technical users is hard, it shouldn’t really be necessary either. Clicking a link and expecting it to open a new message in the client you use is not unreasonable. So after some searching around I found that the solution is actually very simple. You can set Firefox to use Gmail or other webmail providers for email links in the preferences. It’s 2 second job, and here’s how you do it.

Open the Preferences dialog in Firefox (on the “edit” menu in Linux)…

Edit Menu screenshot

…go to the applications tab…

Tools window screenshot

…type “mailto” in the filter box to bring up the mail settings. You can then use the drop down box to select Gmail, Yahoo or others.

Email settings screenshot

That’s it, next time you click on an email link it’ll open a new message in your web mail. A simple little tip which everyone may already know but I didn’t until recently. This will of course work in Firefox running on any platform, Linux, Mac or Windows. The preferences link is under the “tools” menu and not “edit”  in Windows, it may be different on Mac too. Hope this tip helps someone and gets your mail links fixed. Other web browsers are also available of course 🙂




  1. […] Tip: Making Gmail Default In Firefox | Adventures In Open Source […]

  2. Yes! A small itch that I’d never got round to scratching. Now well and truly scratched.


    • @patrick – Glad to hear it was of some use to you. I had some nice replies on Identi.ca and Twitter too. Good to know people found it helpful 🙂

  3. Bit off topic but what theme are you using there?

  4. @hanna – It’s the default theme in Mint 8, dunno what it’s called though sorry.

  5. Thanks Dan. I have been wanting to have that work, but in the past it wasn’t an option. I just gave up on it, but Mozilla pulls through.

    Btw, thanks for the Linux Outlaws. I love the show. I’m a bit behind because I recently started grad school, but I’m catching up.

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