Clickable email addresses in emacs

| categories: email, emacs | tags:

There are clickable links in org-mode, but standalone email addresses like are just ordinary text. Here, I want to explore using clickable text instead. I will use the button-lock package for this. I borrowed an email regexp from EmacsWiki: Regular Expression for this. The idea is to define a regular expression for an email address, and use it to make the emails clickable.

I am still not sure what the canonical way to get the value of the text that was highlighted. Here we use the :additional-property feature to set a property to t, and then use that property to get the characters that have a non-nil "email-address" property. It seems clunky, but it works. The main action is to compose an email in mu4e (my preferred email program in emacs). You could also put a call to helm here, or to a hydra for other options.

I make the email addresses stand out a little by giving them a gray background, and a tooltip so you can see why they are highlighted. I also bind RET so I don't have to use the mouse. Don't forget you can type C-h . to see the local help instead of mousing over it! Finally, we add a text-mode hook so this will get loaded when we open a text file (or one with a mode derived from text-mode like org-mode).

(defun highlight-email-addresses ()
  "Add button to email address. Clicking or RET will open a compose email window."
   (lambda ()
     (let ((start) (end) (email-address))
       (while (get-text-property (point) 'email-address)
       (setq start (point))
       (while (get-text-property (point) 'email-address)
       (setq end (point))
       (setq email-address (buffer-substring start end))
       (mu4e~compose-mail email-address)))
     :face '((:background "gray80") (:underline t))
     :help-echo "click to send mu4e email"
     :keyboard-binding (kbd "RET")
     :additional-property 'email-address))

(add-hook 'text-mode-hook 'highlight-email-addresses)

That doesn't look too bad. Now, anytime I open an org-mode file with an email address in it, the address is highlighted in light gray, and underlined. I can click on it or put the cursor on it and press return and I get a compose email window open, with the email address pre-filled in! I am sure this will have some other applications.

Copyright (C) 2015 by John Kitchin. See the License for information about copying.

org-mode source

Org-mode version = 8.2.10

Discuss on Twitter