Firefox normally uses your operating system’s default mail program to send an email message. This article explains how you can change the program that is launched when you click on:

  • The Email Link… menu item in the Firefox Page actions (3-dot) menu.

Setting the mail client used by Firefox

  1. Click the menu button Fx57Menu and select Preferences.
  2. In the General panel, go to the Applications section.
  3. Search for the Content Type mailto and select it.
  4. Click on the Action column in the mailto row to change the action.Fx62Settings-Mailto
    • Always ask will prompt you each time you use a mail function for which program or service to use.
    • Use <Program> (default) will automatically launch your operating system’s email program (for example, Thunderbird, Evolution, KMail) to its message composition window. For instructions on how to change your operating system’s default e-mail program, see the next section of this article.
    • Use <Webmail> will open your webmail service’s (e.g., Yahoo! Mail, Gmail) message composition page inside Firefox. For more information about using webmail services, see the Using webmail services section of this article.
    • Use other… will let you specify an external program for Firefox to launch.
    • Application Details… will let you view information about or remove the webmail services that Firefox can use.
  5. Close the about:preferences page. Any changes you’ve made will automatically be saved.

Setting your operating system’s default mail program

By default, Firefox will use your system’s default mail client to send email for the actions listed above. For Thunderbird, see the Make Thunderbird the Default Mail Client article for steps you can take to make it the default mail program. Check the online or in-product documentation for other mail programs.

In general, you can change the default mail program by following these instructions:Note: These instructions are for some common Linux distributions. Your distribution may use a different interface.


Distributions that use the Gnome Desktop Environment by default include Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and more.

  1. Open the Default Applications (formerly: Preferred Applications) window. The Default (Preferred) Applications window can be opened by:
    • (Ubuntu) Clicking on the System menu, selecting Preferences, and then selecting Default Applications.
      • As of 2018, in openSUSE (GNOME 3.28) it’s under System menu > Settings > Details > Default Applications.
    • Clicking on the Applications menu, selecting Desktop Preferences, then selecting Advanced, and then selecting Default Applications.
  2. Underneath Mail Reader, use the dropdown menu to select a mail application (e.g. Thunderbird, Evolution).
  3. Click Close to close the Default Applications window.


Distributions that use the K Desktop Environment by default include Kubuntu, Mandriva Linux, PCLinuxOS, and more.

  1. Open the KDE Control Center by clicking on K and selecting Control Center.
  2. In the Control Center window, click to expand KDE Components.
  3. Click to select Component Chooser.
  4. Click to select Email Client.
  5. Click to select the Use a different email client radio button.
  6. Type the full path to your e-mail client (e.g. /usr/bin/thunderbird).
  7. Click Apply to close the Control Center window and save your changes.

Using webmail services

Firefox allows you to use a webmail service such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail for Firefox’s mail functions. Use the instructions in the Setting the mail client used by Firefox section above to use a webmail service in Firefox for mailto links or the Email link feature.

If the webmail service you want to use is not available in your Firefox Preferences General panel’s Applications section as a mailto choice, you can try to find an extension that supports it, either by searching for the specific webmail service or by doing a webmail search or a mailto search and browsing through the results.