The mailto URL scheme (RFC2368)
Original Publication Date: 1998-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-13
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
P. Hoffman: AUTHOR [+3]
This document defines the format of Uniform Resource Locators (URL) for designating electronic mail addresses. It is one of a suite of documents which replace RFC 1738, 'Uniform Resource Locators', and RFC 1808, 'Relative Uniform Resource Locators'. The syntax of 'mailto' URLs from RFC 1738 is extended to allow creation of more RFC 822 messages by allowing the URL to express additional header and body fields.
Network Working Group P. Hoffman
Request for Comments: 2368 Internet Mail Consortium
Updates: 1738, 1808 L. Masinter
Category: Standards Track Xerox Corporation
The mailto URL scheme
Status of this Memo
This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1998). All Rights Reserved.
This document defines the format of Uniform Resource Locators (URL)
for designating electronic mail addresses. It is one of a suite of
documents which replace RFC 1738, 'Uniform Resource Locators', and
RFC 1808, 'Relative Uniform Resource Locators'. The syntax of
'mailto' URLs from RFC 1738 is extended to allow creation of more RFC
822 messages by allowing the URL to express additional header and
The mailto URL scheme is used to designate the Internet mailing
address of an individual or service. In its simplest form, a mailto
URL contains an Internet mail address.
For greater functionality, because interaction with some resources
may require message headers or message bodies to be specified as well
as the mail address, the mailto URL scheme is extended to allow
setting mail header fields and the message body.
2. Syntax of a mailto URL
Following the syntax conventions of RFC 1738 [RFC1738], a "mailto"
URL has the form:
mailtoURL = "mailto:" [ to ] [ headers ]
to = #mailbox
headers = "?" header *( "&" header )
header = hname "=" hvalue
hname = *urlc
hvalue = *urlc
"#mailbox" is as specified in RFC 822 [RFC822]. This means that it
consists of zero or more comma-separated mail addresses, possibly
including "phrase" and "comment" components. Note that all URL
reserved characters in "to" must be encoded: in particular,
parentheses, commas, and the percent sign ("%"), which commonly occur
in the "mailbox" syntax.
"hname" and "hvalue" are encodings of an RFC 822 header name and
value, respectively. As with "to", all URL reserved characters must
The special hname "body" indicates that the associated hvalue is the
body of the message. The "body" hname should contain the content for
the first text/plain body part of the message. The mailto URL is
primarily intended for generation of short text messages that are
actually the conten...