12 December, 2007

Google Apps e-mail with Google Toolbar

So I've more or less switched to using only Google Apps' Webmail (Gmail with your own domain), making Thunderbird obsolete. To that end I've been trying to find a way to make mailto links launch my Google Apps composer window rather than the default Gmail composer window, and also how to make Gmail start by default in https (secure) mode rather than http (plain) mode.

In my search I've stumbled upon several resources, most pointing to using GreaseMonkey and a small script that re-writes all mailto links, another resource pointing to Gmail Manager saying it could handle Google Hosted Accounts (aka. Google Apps accounts), as well as some sites that explains how you fix the Gmail button for Google Toolbar to launch Gmail as https by default.

Of the resources pointed out in regards to the mailto handling, I found several GreaseMonkey scripts that did this job very well, although I didn't really relish the idea of having that addon installed merely because I needed 1 script to handle mailto links, so I decided to try Gmail Manager instead

Gmail Manager was very easy to set up to handle Google Apps accounts in regards to checking e-mails, opening inbox and a few other minor things. All I had to do was type in my e-mail address and my password. Gmail Manager also handles mailto links, at least it opens my inbox when clicking a mailto link, but that isn't enough for me, I want it to open the actual compose window. I decided it probably just was some hidden configuration option so I decided to muck around a bit in about:config, and behold: There I found "google.toolbar.mailto.providers.Gmail", which contained the URL that Google Toolbar uses to open the composer window, when clicking mailto links.

So basically, all I had to do from the start was this:

Edit the Gmail button to open the Google Apps account instead of the Gmail account, and in https rather than http

  1. Go into Google Toolbar Options, under the Buttons tab

  2. Mark the Gmail button and click "Edit..."

  3. In the dialog that opens up click the "Use the advanced editor..." link

  4. There are 3 places that needs to be fixed:






    (Note: Replace MYDOMAIN.TLD with your own domain)

  5. Click "Save to Google Toolbar..."

  6. When/if asked to replace the Gmail button just click "Replace".

Thanks to Stefano Savanelli for his comment referring to this following link where you can add a Google Apps e-mail button:

Now the Gmail button is fixed, now to make Google Toolbar send e-mail using the Google Apps account:

  1. Enable "Send with Gmail" in the Google Toolbar Options, under the More tab.

  2. Open about:config and locate "google.toolbar.mailto.providers.Gmail" (filtering by "gmail" makes it easier to find).

  3. Change the value
    From: firetool-mail:http://mail.google.com/mail/?view=cm&fs=1@to=to&subject=su&body=body&cc=cc&bcc=bcc&name=Gmail
    To: firetool-mail:https://mail.google.com/a/MYDOMAIN.TLD?view=cm&fs=1&tf=1@to=to&subject=su&body=body&cc=cc&bcc=bcc&name=Gmail
    (Note: Replace MYDOMAIN.TLD with your own domain)

By adding the "&tf=1" variable to the URL the composer window will open "full screen", without the folder list to the left and the search bar at the top.

There.. Now we have made Google Toolbar handle all aspects of our Google Apps account :)


  1. I'm making this transition now, too, and was wondering about the other toolbar options for other google services that are not part of the Google Apps set yet, such as Notebook, Reader, etc. I assume that these would continue to launch under my other Google login?

  2. The Google Toolbar uses your Google Account (usually a Gmail account) for login, so all services/applications (Notebook, Reader etc.) offered by Google will still be handled through your regular account. All that is changed in this guide is which URLs to use when clicking the Gmail button and when clicking mailto links. Since Google Apps logins seems to be handled in a separate cookie than Google Account logins they won't mess with each other :)

  3. Hi tx for the info. I was just wondering if there's a way to log into the toolbar with your google-apps-for-your-domain account? Why? I'm trying to batch upload files into the Google docs by dragging the files onto the browser, but it requires my being logged in, and while I'm logged into my domain, it won't make it universal. Get what I'm trying to say?

    tx in advance for any help

  4. @Ben
    I don't know to be honest, but I don't think it is possible.

  5. Where do I find 'about:config'??

    The first set works great - thanks.

  6. @Josh
    You just type it into the address field, just as 'about:blank' will give you a blank page, 'about:config' will give you a lot of hidden configuration options.

    Other good 'about' goodies are 'about:plugins' and 'about:cache' ;)

  7. You can log in to google services using your google apps account, you just have to set it up here:


  8. Brian, this is very close fix to the problem us Google Apps users are having with Google not supporting their paying customers with a proper toolbar. After setting every thing up as you have shown, when clicking the window, it opens another tab that has the full Gmail (Google apps) home page showing with the folders, labels, and such. I was hoping it would just be the small compose window, or even the full tab, but just the compose. I've found a add-on called Email This! that lets you use google apps to email webpages, and it only opens the compose window, albeit in a full tab. Any chance you could refine your about:config mod to accomplish this? Only because if it's the full Gmail page with a compose window, you compose your email, then click send, a small message on top says "Your message has been sent. View message", then disappears after a bit without closing the compose window. It's confusing if you come back to that window, click send again, now you've sent two messages. Email This! blanks the page and has the message, so there's no mistake.

    Thanks for your work, hope you have time to look at this!!

  9. @Roger
    Just add the "&tf=1" variable to the URL, that should do the trick (I've revised the article to include this. Formatted it a bit better while I was at it :)

    Unless I'm missing something, and if I am please enlighten me, what you're referring to is not "logging into the Google services with Google Apps account". You're just creating a new Google account using the e-mail address from your Google Apps. It's 2 separate accounts that just happens to share the same e-mail address.

  10. Hi,

    This is fantastic! Has anyone worked out how to do it in Internet Explorer? I have an old non-techie family member who would not cope well with me switching him over firefox...

    It looks like it is controlled in the registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareGoogleGoogle Toolbar but I can't crack it!



  11. Hi I am stuck here,

    Open about:config and locate “google.toolbar.mailto.providers.Gmail” (filtering by “gmail” makes it easier to find).

    where do i find this file????

  12. Brian, you are the man!

    thanks for putting this out there....

    thanks again.


  13. Thanks for the help! In the current version of Firefox I could not get the fire-tool value to work as you have suggested. Just in case anyone else is having the same problem, "firetool-mail:https://mail.google.com/a/MYDOMAIN.COM?view=cm&fs=1@to=to&subject=su&body=body&cc=cc&bcc=bcc&name=Gmail" ended up working for me just fine.

  14. Stefano Savanelli12 May, 2009 09:49

    The solutions is in
    Simply use the link: Install Gmail Apps Button

  15. @Stefano Savanelli
    Super awesome. I've updated the main post to include a link to the Google Code page with your button.

  16. Also found this link for how to get mailto links to work with Google Apps. Not tested it yet, will do ASAP though. Just writing it here to remind myself ;)

    Tested it. Make sure to disable Google Toolbar handling mailto links, it seems to block the process otherwise.

  17. Thanks Stefano Savanelli for the Google Apps Button for email. However the button keeps disappearing. I'm using Firefox and usually when I close FF and reopen, the button has disappeared. Anyone else experiencing this issue?