Link Handlers


A link handler defines how your application deals with hyperlinks, or simply links.

Plug-ins can contribute link handlers for custom URL schemes using the extension point org.eclipse.urischeme.uriSchemeHandlers.


You can add link handlers only by installing software into your application.

Link handlers can be enabled or disabled in the preference dialog. To do this, open the command linkGeneral > Link Handlers preference page and select the relevant option.

The workbench will automatically try to enable link handlers at startup. If you do not want a link handler to be enabled you can manually disable it afterwards. In this case the workbench will no longer automatically registered this link handler again (for the same workspace).


Links are best known from the web where clicking on a links navigates the user to another web page. But the concept of links is also usefull for other use-case, for example file sharing. Here, a user uploads a file to a file hosting service and grants access to others by sending a link to that shared document through e-mail. When choosing such a link, the web browser, or another locally installed application will open this link.


The URL of each link consists of a scheme, host, and path:

In this URL, the scheme is "https", the host name is "", and the path is "downloads". This URL addresses a hypertext document using the "https" URL scheme.

Choosing such a link, typically a web browser is opened. The web browser then downloads and displays the relevant document.

URL Schemes

Link handlers incorporate the concept of custom URL schemes into this application. Different URL schemes have different meanings and need different handling. A link handler can handle specific URL schemes.

When a user clicks a link containing an URL scheme, which is enabled, the operating system will start the corresponding application or set the corresponding window to the foreground - if the application is already running. Link handling is specific to the URL scheme - it may open a file in an editor, open a dialog, install new software, clone a repository, or result in something else.

The command linkLink Handlers preference page provides a list of URL schemes which the applicaiton can handle. For each scheme, a description further explains the URL scheme. A checkbox shows if handling of this URL scheme is enabled or disabled. If handling is disabled, the list will also display if this URL scheme is handled by another application or not.

Examples of Eclipse-related URL schemes and how they are handled