Send clickable links in Mail's Subject field

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Today’s hint would probably fall into the “did you know?” category—if we had such a category. Consider it a tidbit, a morsel of knowledge to file away for possible use in the future…or not. In any event, today’s hint concerns Mail and its ability to make embedded URLs into clickable links.

You’re probably well aware that embedding an http://www…. address in the body of your e-mail will create a clickable link in the message as seen by its recipients. This definitely works with Mail as the receiving client, and I would assume with other e-mail clients as well. The link will look much like it does on any website, in color with an underline indicating its clickable state.

What you may not have known is that you can send clickable links as the subject of e-mail messages as well—at least if the recipient is using Mail in OS X 10.5 to read your message. Again, this may work in other e-mail clients, but I only have Mail set up here to test with.

There are a couple of caveats to this tip, though. First, the link will not show as clickable in the subject, even though it is—you won’t see an underline, nor will the cursor change states when you mouse over it. Second, in order for the link to be clickable, there are two things you must do when composing the message. You must write the message in rich text mode (Message -> Make Rich Text, or via Mail’s Composing preferences to set rich text mode as the default). The other requirement is that the body of the message must have some text in it—when I tested this with just a URL in the Subject field, it didn’t show up as clickable on the receiving end. As soon as I added any text to the body, the URL in the Subject field became clickable.

Of course, it’s probably a lot simpler to just send the URL in the body of the message, but I found it interesting that Mail’s parser also parses the Subject field for URLs.

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