What is the recommendation for link color behaviors when it comes to a text link for someone's email address? For example: [email protected]

The following thread, for example, has a variety of standards and conventions in regards to links within text....but I'm having trouble tracking down any definitive standard for handling a person's email address link. Should hyperlinks be blue?

I'm thinking that I'd keep the link blue, even if I clicked on it to send Jane an email.

  • I'd say the standard is blue and underlined for any link.
    – DA01
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 20:41
  • yes, but keep it blue? Instead of changing it to a different shade or color that indicates that the link has been clicked. ? I think email is a bit of a different animal and I don't need an visual indicator that I clicked that link already. Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 20:46
  • You're asking a bout a visited link. Yes, ideally you'd have that too. I don't recall if browsers add a visited state to mailto links, though.
    – DA01
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 20:51

2 Answers 2


I would suggesting staying away from breaking existing site styles as they may confuse users into thinking they may have already visited a particular link that does not appear to be an email. Even worse a user might just think the link is some form of an underlined text.

I would also suggest staying away from putting email addresses on the internet as they can always be crawled by evil robots resulting in spam. When possible create web forms that either post to a database or send emails to your internal staff behind the scene.

When you can't get away from putting up email links, I would suggest adding addition styling using a background image on your link like below. Currently this is how we style email addresses that have to be posted to the web. The mail envelope is a universal icon that all users should recognize.

Image with mail icon next to it


I'd say a link is a link is a link. A link needs to be clearly visible (and the item you link to has some excellent advice on that). Looking at your comment, I'd say that having a mailto link handled differently to other links would make a user question what was different about it and why it needed to be handled differently, which may in turn deter them from using the mailto.

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