How to Make Gmail Your Default Email Program

The Gmail Logo

Google / All Rights Reserved

Do you read and write your emails in Gmail? And does Gmail come up when you click an email address on a website? Do you wish it would?

If you use the right operating system, a Gmail notifier can help you make Gmail your default email program — a new Gmail message in your preferred browser will come up when you click an email link.

Make Gmail Your Default Email Program

To set Gmail as your default email program:


  1. Make sure Gmail Notifier is installed.
  2. Click on the Gmail Notifier icon in the Windows system tray with the right mouse button.
  3. Select Options from the menu.
  4. Make sure Use Gmail for internet mailto: links is checked.
  5. Click OK.

Unfortunately, you cannot set the Gmail web interface as your default email program in Windows Vista. You can set up Gmail in an email program such as Windows Mail, though, and thus send from your Gmail address by default.

Mac OS X

  1. Make sure Google Notifier is installed.
  2. Click Google Notifier's Gmail icon in the menu bar.
  3. Select Preferences... from the menu.
  4. Click the Compose mail in: drop-down menu.
  5. Make sure Gmail is selected.
  6. Close the Google Notifier Preferences window.

Mozilla Firefox 3

  1. Open Gmail in Mozilla Firefox.
  2. Type 'javascript:window.navigator.registerProtocolHandler("mailto","","Gmail")' (not including the outermost quotation marks) in the address bar.
    1. If you do not require a secure HTTPS connection, to Gmail, you can use 'javascript:window.navigator.registerProtocolHandler("mailto","","Gmail")' instead.
  3. Hit Enter.
  4. Click Add Application under Add Gmail ( as an application for mailto links?.
  5. Select Tools | Options... or Firefox | Preferences... (Mac) from the menu in Mozilla Firefox.
  6. Go to the Applications tab.
  7. Make sure Use Gmail is selected under mailto.

Google Chrome

  1. Open Gmail in Google Chrome.
  2. Click Use Gmail under Allow Gmail ( to open all email links?.

If Use Gmail does not appear in a toolbar at Google Chrome's top:

  1. Click the wrench icon in your Google Chrome toolbar.
  2. Select Options, Preferences or Settings from the menu that comes up.
  3. Go to the Under the Hood category.
  4. Click Content Settings... under Privacy.
  5. Make sure Allow sites to ask to become default handlers for protocols is selected under Handlers.
  6. Click Manage Handlers....
  7. Make sure Gmail is selected under Site for Type mailto under Active protocol handlers.
  8. If Gmail appears for mailto under Ignored protocol handlers:
    1. Click the x that appears to the right of the Gmail entry as you move the mouse cursor over it.
  9. If Gmail does not appear as a choice for mailto under Active protocol handlers:
    1. Visit Gmail again in a new Google Chrome tab.