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The mailto URL scheme (RFC2368)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000002939D
Original Publication Date: 1998-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-15
Document File: 10 page(s) / 12K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

P. Hoffman: AUTHOR [+2]

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC2368: DOI


This document defines the format of Uniform Resource Locators (URL) for designating electronic mail addresses. [STANDARDS-TRACK]

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 22% of the total text.

Network Working Group P. Hoffman Request for Comments: 2368 Internet Mail Consortium Updates: 1738, 1808 L. Masinter Category: Standards Track Xerox Corporation J. Zawinski Netscape Communications July 1998

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 Notice

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 body fields.

1. Introduction

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:

Hoffman, et. al. Standards Track [Page 1]

RFC 2368 The mailto URL scheme July 1998

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 be encoded.

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 content of automatic processing (such as "subscribe" messages for mailing lists), not general MIME bodies.

Within mailto URLs, the characters "?", "=", "&" are reserved.

Because the "&" (ampersand) character is reserved in HTML, any mailto URL which contains an ampersand must be spelled differently in HTML than in other contexts. A mailto URL which a...