What’s old is new again: mailto edition

What’s old is new again: mailto edition

It’s been fun to watch some of the fashion trends from the 90’s pop back up. Wide leg jeans aren’t the only thing coming back, and personally, I’m always happy to find ways of applying some otherwise dated tech knowledge in a valuable way in modern situations.

What’s old is new again

After a couple of times firing up the classic Outlook desktop client…I’d had enough. so I decided to turn the .oft into a “magic link”. And by magic, I mean a good ol’ well-formatted mailto: hyperlink.


  • Doesn’t require a download or attachment
  • Works with webmail, desktop, and mobile clients
  • Can be included in a web page, email, chat message, Loop, or document


  • No support for html/rich text/attachments
  • ???

It took under five minutes to convert the .oft into a link. When doing so, I found this site very helpful, which turned the body of the message into a URL-friendly string.

I also put together a quick sample which I posted to a Gist on GitHub.

Why would I bother?

I started weaning myself off of the Outlook “thick client” (classic desktop client) back in 2019 or so. In fact, I did an edgy presentation at an internal tech talk titled Outlook Not So Good (🎱) which people still ask me about to this day [1]. On my last two computers I haven’t so much as set up traditional Outlook.

Internally, I still run into situations where an .oft template is provided, which has no support in the modern client or web client. Recently, there was one that I was going to use several times over several weeks…and I didn’t want to have to fire up old Outlook every time.

[1] Let me know if you’re interested in a blog post on this presentation.