How to Prevent Mac OS X Mail From Breaking Links in Emails

Make Sure That Mac OS X Mail Does Not Mess with Your Links

Hard at work
Yuri Arcurs/ E+/Getty Images

Do your friends complain about links in your emails not working? Do some mention mysteriously appearing whitespace inside URLs? Do you use Mac OS X Mail?

Your friends may be right. Mac OS X Mail can, inadvertently and innocently, mess up the links you insert in emails. Not that it would do anything wrong. Quite to the contrary. Not that the email programs at the recipient end would do anything wrong.

Unfortunately, the result of both Mac OS X Mail and other programs handling plain text emails right can still be broken links. Typically, they will appear either as spanning multiple lines or with a whitespace character inserted in an odd place (after a '/', for example). In both cases, the link, though clickable, will not work.

Fortunately, you can take a few steps to avert this link mess and send your URLs in a way that your friends can appreciate, too.

Prevent Mac OS X Mail From Breaking Links in Emails

To insert links in emails so they are clickable with Mac OS X Mail:

  • Make sure you always let URLs begin at a line of their own.
    • In other words, hit Return before typing or pasting the URL.
    • Instead of writing "Visit http://email.about.com/od/macosxmail/", for example, type "Visit
      http://email.about.com/od/macosxmail/"
  • If the link address is longer than 69 characters, use a service like TinyURL.com or similar service to make long URLs shorter.
    • Mac OS X Mail will break any line 70 characters or longer, destroying the link for some email programs.
    • "http://email.about.com/od/macosxmailtips/qt/et020306.htm?search=mac+os+x+mail+breaking+urls" is 91 characters long, for example. Typing "http://tinyurl.com/be4nu" instead will keep the link intact and functional.
    • For easy access to TinyURL, you can install a system service.

    The Rich Text Alternative

    Alternatively, you can send the email using rich formatting and turn any text into a link. Do this only if you know the recipient does read the HTML version, though. While Mac OS X Mail includes a plain text alternative with the email, it will lack the link.