Getting Rid of 'Mail To:' in E-mail Links

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 24, 2013)


Jennifer has a Word document that contains a link to an e-mail address. When she creates a hyperlink to the e-mail address, Word automatically adds "mail to:" in front of the e-mail address. Jennifer doesn't want this to appear, as she feels it looks unprofessional; she only wants the e-mail address itself to show. She is wondering how to get rid of that "mail to:" verbiage.

The thing to remember is that a hyperlink is composed of two distinct parts: the link itself and the text displayed in the document. When you convert some text (such as your e-mail address) to a hyperlink, Word analyses the text, converts it to the right hyperlink format, and then uses that formatted text as both the link and the text to be displayed.

The "mailto:" text that you are seeing is required for the link to work. It represents the underlying protocol to be used to correctly handle the address. If you see an e-mail hyperlink on a Web page, the underlying code also includes the same protocol indicator.

What you need to do is to change the display text without changing the underlying link, which must still contain the "mailto:" verbiage. You can make the change in a couple of ways. First, you can do it manually by right-clicking the hyperlink and choosing Edit Hyperlink from the resulting Context menu. Word displays the Edit Hyperlink dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Edit Hyperlink dialog box.

In the dialog box, change the contents of the Text to Display field; this is what is displayed in the document for the hyperlink. Make sure that you don't change anything in the link field. When you click OK, the hyperlink is updated and the "mailto:" verbiage no longer appears.

If you have a large number of such hyperlinks to fix, then you can use the Find/Replace capabilities of Word to make the change. Before doing the change, make sure that field codes are not displayed in your document. (You want to see the results of the field codes, not the codes themselves. How you do this has been covered in other WordTips.) Then, follow these general steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  2. Figure 2. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  3. In the Find box, enter "mailto:" (without the quotes).
  4. Leave the Replace With box empty.
  5. Click on Replace All.

That's it; Word replaces all the instances of "mailto:" that it finds. Since you didn't have field codes displayed, only the display text (the result of the field codes) is affected; the underlying link is not changed.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7072) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is one less than 4?

2013-08-26 08:09:52


If you simply type the email address then press space, Word will automatically make it an email hyperlink but won't add the mailto: portion to the displayed text. If you are creating a hyperlink through the Insert Hyperlink dialogue, it looks exactly the same as the Edit Hyperlink dialogue Allen shows above. The "Text to display" box ought to be fairly clear... Is there some other way to add a mailto link that doesn't give you the option to change the text?

Also, there is another way to remove the mailto portion of the link that is easier than using the Edit Hyperlink dialogue: simply put the cursor after the colon then press backspace to delete the characters, just like any other text. You can even press CTRL+Backspace two times to delete it with fewer keystrokes. The only thing annoying about it is you can't start at the front of the word and press Delete; if you do this the whole hyperlink will be deleted.

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