Sam Newman's site, a Consultant at ThoughtWorks

I suspect this post has a very small audience, although I suspect that goes for the blog as a whole. Anyway, what follows is a step by step instruction for using Outlook 2003 to read your Lotus Notes email.

h3. Assumptions

This has been tested and works for Windows XP, Lotus Notes 6.5.4 (although the MS bridge should work for Release 5 and up), using Outlook 2003.

h3. Download the Microsoft Conntector

It’s “available for free( – Outlook 2003/2002 Add-in Notes Connector)”: from Microsoft. It states it works for Outlook 2002 and 2003, for use with Notes release 5 or 6.

h3. Uninstall Microsoft hotfixes

It seems that Outlook 2003 security fix “KB892843”: stops the connector from installing properly. Unless you remove it, you’ll get the error @”Unable to open your default e-mail folders. The server is not available.
Contact your administrator if this condition persists@. This hotfix is also included in some roll-up fixes, so I suggest you remove any and all Outlook related hotfixes. These hotfixes only affect the installation of the connector, so you can re-run Windows Update afterwards.

You can remove hotfixes from the Add/Remove program dialog – just make sure you have the @Show Updates@ checkbox ticked. The Outlook hotfixes will be listed under Microsoft Office.

h3. Install the connector

Shut down both Notes and Outlook. Double click the connector and follow the on screen instructions

h3. Set up Outlook to read your notes email

Start Outlook up. Select @E-Mail Accounts…@ from the @Tools@ menu. Select @Add a new email account@, click @next@, and select @Additional Server Types@ and click @next@ again. Depending on your configuration, you’ll be presented with several server type options. We want @Microsoft Offie Outlook Connector for IBM Lotus Notes Domino@. Click @next@. You’ll now be prompted to exit Outlook before the new account will be active.

Outlook should pick up your notes file automatically.

h3. Re-install the Oulook Hotfixes

As you wouldn’t want to forget that, would you 🙂

Anyway, that should be it. You’ll now have a slightly more usable way of accessing and sending you email, as well as working with calendars and your todo list. Note that you’ll be unable to read all notes email – those sent with high encruption levels (the ones you can’t send to non-notes email accounts and that can’t be forwared) will not show up, but you should get told that they can’t be transfered by the connector.

234 Responses to “Using Outlook 2003 to read Lotus Notes Email”

  1. Dan Dar3

    Has anyone tried IBM’s Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook (DAMO)?

    Outlook Lotus Notes Connector worked fine mostly until I found that when replying to Lotus Notes emails with graphics embeded Outlook was able to display the message just fine but when trying to reply I was getting the message below:

    “The message you are sending contains formatted text, an attachment, or both. Only recipints using Outlook will be able to view the attachment and the message in it’s original format. Recipients using other e-mail applications will only be able to view the message in plain text and might not be able to open the attachment

    Do you want to send the message anyway? If you select No, you can remove the formatting and the attachment, and then resend the message”.

    If I was sending the message anyways the other guy was receving the text version of it. Also, in some other cases some of the new lines weren’t received properly by the recipients.

    That’s why I was wondering if anyone used IBMs DAMO – anyone gets a hands on IBM DAMO for Domino 6.5.1, please let me know!

  2. kmmr


    I have an old .nsf file, but no Lotus software (took the files from a previous job, but have never used Lotus since). Will this connector allow me to simply open the underlying file? Or does anyone know how I can access the lotus file, using any other software.

    I don’t need for the files to be integrated into anything, just want to be able to read them, and extract any attachments etc.



  3. JayKay

    I’ve loaded notes 8, but it does not work with the outlook connector. Is there a new version? Hoe can I get this going?

  4. Chaim Klar

    Assigning tasks to (straight) outlook users?

    some people in our office are using outlook through the IBM’s connector (DAMO) to Lotus, and some are using simple outlook (w/ some pop accounts).

    so if one DAMO – Outlook user assigns an outlook task to another user w/ the same setup, it works just fine, the task gets created perfect.

    but I’m using the simple outlook 2003, and I tried to assign an outlook task to a DAMO – Outlook user, but i did not succeed instead they got a simple email, i tried doing vice versa and got similar results.

    My Questions:
    1. do you know how to fix it? to be able to assign tasks across the 2 setups?
    2. does it work fine by you the using MS connector instead?

    Your answers are appreciated.

    Thanks Chaim

  5. Todd

    To those trying to fix outlook connector when receive the message “the profile is not complete because your notes.ini file …”. Well, I tried everything above and FINALLY figure out a solution that worked for me. I deleted my notes.ini file which then triggered to lotus notes to start the configuration wizard. And suddenly, everything was fine again. I also went back to the old outlook connector but I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I also disable Plaxo to limit the possible problems.

  6. Sebastian

    I have windows xp I have upgraded from win2000. When I upgraded i noticed i had to change the lotus notes.ini file just so Lotus Notes 6.5.4 could start up. Without me configuring it i would see the lotus notes startup band then disappear and nothing would happen. Well my big problem is that when im in outlook 2003 and try to open a lotus notes attachment document that has a .ndl extention i would receive the same problem. The Lotus Notes screen will display and then disappear and I will have nothing. The only way I could get the file running is to have lotus notes on by clicking the shorcut then saving the attachment onto the desktop and opeining up that way. Is there a fix for this? So i could clidk on a lotus notes attachment and have lotus notes startup automatically and take me to the Lotus Notes GUI Application that fits perfect for the attacmetn.

    Thank You.


  7. Alan

    Can anyone confirm if the Outlook connector works with Notes 8.
    I currently have Notes 6.5 running but my office has upgraded to Notes 8 & I have held back for the moment.

  8. ray

    Hello All!
    I have looked through and tried all of the revelvent steps ( to the “t”) on this thread and still get the message…

    “Outllook can’t be started because one of the default folders can’t be found in your server mailbox. Contact your server administrator.”

    I have added registry entires, variables, and defaulted and recreated profiles to no avail. : (

    Does anyone have any suggestions that haven’t been mentioned….I am desperate as I am running out of room on my Lotus account and 9/10’s of my work email on Outlook. As you can imagine I have become quite dependent on this little piece of software. If I didn’t have to rebuild my laptop the connector would still be working…

    Thanks in Advance!

  9. Richard

    As some you, I have been «hit» by the update to Outlook 2003 that included the SP3 and … my Domino Connector is down. I tried to apply the fix explained in the post # 184, but no change. I can’t uninstall any fix nor the outlook 2003. What am I missing ?

    My environnement :
    Outlook : 2003 (11.8216.8202) SP3
    Outlook Connector for IBM Lotus Domino : 2.0.4007.0
    Domino : Release 6.0.1 CF1
    Windows : Windows XP Pro version 2002 SP2

    Any suggestion/idea are welcome.

  10. JML

    Alan: Perhaps we belong to the same company? I just upgraded from Notes 6.5.4 to 8.0.1 and this broke my Outlook connector. Whenever I started up Outlook, both OLK and Notes froze and had to be killed. I uninstalled OlConn and got my Notes back to work, then I re-installed OlConn but OLK cannot connect to the mail server, saying it is “unavailable”.

    Now, when they upgraded, they also changed paths for the Notes installation. So far, I haven’t had any luck, but have yet to try completely recreating the Notes mailfile, which is 250mb large but doesn’t really contain anything that can’t be recreated from the server.

    Will post more if I find more…. – JML

  11. James


    I have ten years of archives of Lotus Notes emails. I will want to access many of these in the future. But I will soon leave my current employer and will not have Lotus Notes in the future.

    How can I access my archives without Lotus Notes?

    My employer tells me there is some sort of “expiration date” on my archives.

    Is there such a thing, and is there an over-ride? Or can archives be failed in another format?

  12. Alex Krenvalk

    Use-microsoft outlook 2003 ost viewer,
    allows to recover *.ost files, when Microsoft Exchange Server gets out of order and your data may be lost,can convert *.ost files to *.pst files, that can be easily opened by any email client, compatible with Microsoft Outlook,convert your *.ost to *.pst, but to extract a list of files in such formats, as: *.eml. *.vcf and *.txt,allows to view a ost file and avoid extracting, for example, 50 Mb of your content, you can extract all files from .ost viewer mail, than just to copy and paste emails and contacts, that you need,runs under all versions of Windows operating system, such as: Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows XP and Windows Vista.

  13. Ellen Jones

    You HAVE to ensure that Lotus Notes is set up as your DEFAULT mail client, if it is not, then you will get the message, “Unable to open your default e-mail folders….” The way I figured this out was to go into the notes.ini file and delete everything after the first 6 lines of text, which then brought me back to the configuration set up of Notes. The first time I went into Notes, it told me it was not the default mail client, and did I want to make it the default, I selected “Yes”, to make Notes my default mail client. I then went back into Outlook, and was able to get into it successully (I also selected “No” when it asked if I wanted to make Outlook my default mail client. Thankfully it had only been a day that I had this issue, and if it was not for this forum, I would not have thought about doing anything with the notes.ini file. Hope this fix helps others! 🙂

  14. John

    As an FYI – I have successfully been using the Outlook Connector (after following all the steps regarding the hotfix issues noted above) with Windows Vista, Lotus Notes 7.x through 8.0x, and Outlook 2003 for the past couple years. However, I had to install Windows Vista Service Pack 1 yesterday to support another program (Adobe Creative Suite 4) and now the Connector will not connect to Domino. So, be forewarned that you will have issues with SP1, and in the meantime I will try to resolve them and if successful post a message here.

  15. mark shaft

    I hve some lotus notes old email archieves I need to now access but no longer have lotus notes 8. anyone any ideas on how I can open them please?

  16. Brian

    Post #200 did it for me… added the quick line into Registry, and I’m off and running (back in Outlook)… oh how I hated Notes ever since our IT forced it onto us.. now I have my beloved outlook back, and am soooooo much more efficient again! 🙂

  17. Phil

    My wife has a business laptop with a corporate version of Office with service pack 3 installed. I do not have access to the installation CD and only have a personal copy of Office. As I do not want to change her serial I am unable to uninstall service pack 3. I tried reinstalling office but of course I do not have the PRO11N.MSI file, only a PRO11.MSI file. Is there another way to install Outlook Connector even if a bit painful? After already investing 5 hours in research I would hate to give up on this endeavor.

    Sad thing is I tried installing this on the home desktop just to try it on another system before messing with my wifes and it worked like a charm after reloading my personal copy of office.

  18. Phil

    I am unable to uninstall service pack 3 for Office as I do not have the corporate copy of Office for my wifes work laptop. I have tested the Outlook Connector on my home computer and it works fine but of course this is not the computer we need to use it on but it was good for practice. My wife does not feel comfortable asking her IT department for help. Is there anyway to install Outlook Connector or are there any other programs I could try without uninstalling service pack 3. I do not care if it is painful as I have already endured a significant amount of pain in this endeavor to date.

  19. Tom

    I’m having trouble using the connector.. everything works great.. I am using Outlook (w/connector) on our Notes mail systems.. I can send/receive, no problem.

    But when I try to attach a separate mail.. in the past, it would work fine (shows the message as an attachment).. but not it comes up as an undecipherable “.dat”

    Any help?


  20. ost file viewer

    For this business try this tool,as far as i know it is free and it allows to recover *.ost files, when Microsoft Exchange Server gets out of order and your data may be lost,open damaged files, you can open your corrupted *.ost file and estimate data losses,can convert *.ost files to *.pst files, that can be easily opened by any email client, compatible with Microsoft Outlook,convert your *.ost to *.pst, but to extract a list of files in such formats, as: *.eml. *.vcf and *.txt,allows to view a ost file and avoid extracting, for example, 50 Mb of your content, you can extract all files from .ost viewer mail, than just to copy and paste emails and contacts, that you need,view ost file runs under all versions of Windows operating system, such as: Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows XP and Windows Vista.

  21. pst files viewer

    In this situation advise try-Recovert Toolbox for Outlook,program helped me many times and as far as i know is freeware,it will help you to restore your data from files with *.pst and *.ost extension,tool will work under all supported versions of Microsoft Windows operating system, as well as with Microsoft Outlook,can retrieve all contents as a number of files in *.vcf, *.txt and *.eml formats,will extract thousands of different files, that will be placed into any folder, upon your choice,converting of recovered data into a *.pst file, that can be opened by any mail client or viewer .pst file, compatible with Microsoft Outlook, file size will not exceed 1Gb.

  22. simon

    I think you need to create a new profile with no other accounts in it. go to control panel, mail, show profiles. highlight “prompt for a profile to be used” (this is so you don’t lose any of your previous settings). then click add, and create a new profile that ONLY has the notes connector in it. Outlook will start up, grind for a while while it replicates folders etc, then it will work. I’m gonna try adding personal folders now, wish me luck.

    Oh, I did an uninstall and reinstall of office to get rid of the hotfix too.

  23. Lauren

    I also had the problem where the folder was not found, unable to open etc..
    to fix it, i didn’t uninstall anything. i simply closed outlook. i did not uninstall anything. Went to Control Panel/ Mail then clicked on Data Files and removed the outlook connector. then when i re-opened outlook it worked.

    Have been using it for over a year now and absolutely love it. Now i just can’t wait for something to come out that works with 07.

  24. Travis

    I just got a new PC at work – prior to that, had Outlook 2003 w/SP3 installed and the connector was working fine all in Win XP. Now I’ve got a new box with the same aforementioned components and I cannot get the Connector to work. I’ve followed all the steps everyone above has suggested to no avail. (Including the registry hack.)

    I’ve tried unloading all the Updates for Office that I can (907417, 947355, 943985, and 945185 are un-removable). I’ve even tried copying all three mail files (.pst, .nst, & .dat) in addition to the other directory of files from my old box. Nothing.

    So the crux of the matter is…how does one get the connector working in an Office 2003 SP3 environment? Unloading Office w/no SP’s isn’t an option, I’m afraid as it is a corporate load set.

    When I add the account from w/in Outlook (not Control Panel -> mail), then “Set as Default” I get this error: “The specified default store could not be opened. Please make sure you can access your default store and try again.” then the “Deliver new e-mail” setting gets reverted back to Personal Folders. That just sounds like another way of saying “Unable to open your default e-mail folders…” Which, BTW, does not get displayed upon startup. Outlook opens fine, but when you try to expand the contents of the Connector folder, I get “Unable to expand the folder. The set of folders could not be opened. The server is not available. Contact your admin…”

    It looks to me like the Connector can’t open the .nst file (which I have tried recreating from scratch and copying the old one over). Any ideas gang?

  25. Chris

    Ok, I have just gone through some pain upgrading to our office network standard of Lotus Scrotes 8.0 while still using Outlook 2003 with the connector. I am running XP.
    It is working ok now but not perfectly. I can always receive mail but sometimes mail gets hung up in the sent folder, I’m not sure why. My friend has seen similar issues and seems to think that they are related to the address book in some way and the autofill of addresses in the To: field.
    Anyway, good luck, it does work but not reliably…

  26. Travis

    Update: I got it working again. If you run the Microsoft Office 2003 Save My Settings Wizard on a PC that is known-good, it will create a file that you can restore from on your new PC. I ran the program on my old machine, moved the file to my new machine and restored it. The Outlook Connector started right up where it left off. Again, this is on Office 2003 SP3 in WinXP Pro SP2.

    I don’t know if it would work, but I could e-mail that file to those of you who are having trouble and you could try running a restore off it. Just e-mail me and I’ll send it over – it’s ~5MB.

  27. Guido

    I had the same problem and could not get it to work – until I added the Notes application folder and data folder to my PATH environment. This worked like a charm and everything suddenly worked.

  28. Ging

    Dear Mr. James and/or Mr. Mark Shaft… did anyone answer your questions?

    I need to have access to my Lotus Notes Mail even after I leave the company and will not have Lotus Notes installed on my unit anymore.



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