Email Shortcuts: Faster and Safer

Chances are good that the bulk of the email you send each week goes to a handful of the same people – your assistant, a partner, your spouse, and so forth.  The time you spend creating each email and addressing it can add up, and each new message becomes an opportunity to inadvertently type in the wrong email address.

Email shortcuts are an easy way to save a few seconds and cut down on the risk of a misdirected email.  An email shortcut is an icon on your desktop that, when double-clicked, will automatically open up your email client and address a new email to a pre-set person.  For example, you might have a shortcut on your desktop that says “Email John Doe” and when you click on it, it’ll open and address an email to

Setting up these shortcuts is fairly easy:

On Windows:

  1. Right-click on your desktop and choose New > Shortcut.
  2. A “Create Shortcut” dialogue box will open.  In the text field, type mailto: followed by the email address.  For example, you could type
  3. Click Next and give the shortcut a descriptive name like “Email John Doe”.
  4. Click Finish. Your new shortcut should be ready to use.

On Mac OS X:

  1. Locate the Automator app in your Applications folder and open it.
  2. Choose the Application template from the list of template options.
  3. In the Automator window, scroll through the far left column to locate the Mail app and select it.
  4. In the list of actions in the middle column locate and select New Mail Message.
  5. In the field to the right enter the intended recipient’s email address in the To field and otherwise customize the email template however you’d like.
  6. Click the Run button to test your new action.
  7. If everyone works correctly, just save the new workflow.  Be sure to change the File Format drop down in the save dialogue to Application.  You should now have an application that’ll automatically address your emails.

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