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. Nicola


    A client gave me a .nsf file on memory stick but we do not have lotus notes, any ideas?

    Thanks in advance

  2. JJV

    what about calendar issues? I’ve got Outlook 2003, connecting to a Notes 6 domino server. Any time I accept an invitation, I end up with two entries in my calendar for that meeting… Anyone else come across this?

    Any work-arounds or fixes?

  3. Alan

    I have had to rebuild my machine & am now unable to get the connector to work.

    I have XP SP2 & Office 2003 with no updates loaded. When installing the connector I get all the expected screens & choices confiming the Notes user id filke etc. & asking for the user password.
    I am however unable to open the mail file in Outlook, amessage that the mailbox cannot be accessed occurs.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated as I am now being forced to use the Notes client – yuk, yuk, yuk

    Thanks in advance

  4. Juan

    I am not able to synchronize my address book ( contacts) in outlook with the one in Lotus Notes.

    Any ideas ?

    I have XP sp2 and Outlook 2002 + connector for lotus domino.



  5. Swapnil

    I have been using the outlook connector for a while now by first reading it on this post. The reason the connector takes a lot of time (upto 20 mins…as some have mentioned) is if you leave emails/contacts/calendar items on the domino server. What I have done is setup an outlook rule to move all emails arriving in my domino inbox to a personal folder inbox. This way the domino inbox stays clean (no emails) and the next sync is blazing fast.

    Also to ensure that the sent items on domino stay clean, I again use rules to move a copy into the sent folders of my personal folder sent items, and unchecked the option to save emails in sent items (on the domino mailbox).

    There are occations where you cannot afford to not use calendar, but if you do and with lots of items, it will take a while to resync the entire stuff. For the moment I have moved my calendar entries to a personal folder as well. But the only problem is that a reminder does not popup there. So I am still trying to figure this one out. I do not have lots of appointments because I have just switched my job, yes…you guessed it, which uses Lotus domino ;-), and hence can afford to experiment with emails.

    The main reason why all this needed to be done is because the mail delivery location does not change. Whenever I tried chanding it to a PST it used to revert to the Domino Mailbox. Anyone found a solution for this?

  6. Chaim Klar


    I’m currently using the IBM type of connector called DAMO, can you answer me a few questions about the one you are using (MS):

    1. is the domino inbox a mirror of the lotus inbox?
    2. if you’re getting mail for other sources too (pop) does it come in to the same inbox? and will it then be copied to the Domino Servers file?

    your answer will be greatly appreciated by many people 🙂

    Thank You

  7. Juan

    1)I dont know what you mean by mirror but I can tell you that any message on the lotus inbox will appear after syncronization on your domino inbox.

    2) The mail I get from my hotmail account appears in a different inbox and is not copied to the Domino server.


  8. Felix

    Thread 135 by Joseph really helps. I follow his every step (except I did not uninstall office but uninstall all the hotfix related to outlook 2003) and now I can use outlook for Lotus notes, and use activesync to sync with my wm5 handheld. I am really happy with this setup. Thanks again Joseph, Bravo!

    It took a while for the first time to sync outlook with Lotus, it is acceptable. However, I now notice that each day when I open outlook, it takes 5-10 minutes for outlook to sync with LN calendar before sync email. Any thoughts? (either disable sync calendar or put this sync after other sync)


  9. Alan

    Regarding my post on Sep 4, where I could not get the Domino mailbox to connect, I am now back up & running on Outlook – yay!!!!!!!!

    The solution for me was to install the all the Office updates & then remove them (go figure). Once doning this, I removed the connector & .nsf file. Reinstalled the connector & Outlook could then opened the Notes file without any issues.

    Hope this is of some use to anyone having a problem opening the Notes database.

  10. Chaim Klar


    Thank You, your answer is like a million dollars to me 🙂

    Our company requires me to use their Lotus Domino for my email and currently I’m using Outlook as the client via the IBM DAMO connector, the greatest disadvantage is that my emails of my other pop accounts get also copied to the Domino server, which is undesirable to me.

    so having your answer, i’ll definitely give it a try (the Microsoft connector).

    Thanks again!

  11. Marcos

    Man, you deserve my congratulations in spanish

    Sos un genio, efectivamente desinstalando los parches de seguridad, y reinstalando el Outllok Connector se solucionó el problema. Lo que me confundió es que yo estaba usando mi cliente Outllok normalmente, y de repente dejo de funcionar. Pero con el procedimiento que recomendaste todo volvió a la normalidad.

    Muchas gracias!!


  12. chriso

    I’ve been using the Notes connector for 6+ months on multiple machines, with very little trouble. Notes version is now 7.0.2, Outlook 2003, XP Pro. I’m also synchronizing w/ my Pocket PC (WM5) Outlook (Calendar, Contacts, Tasks only) via ActiveSync 4.5.
    The two things I’ve noted are:
    1. Calendar entries sometimes get duplicated (as mentioned by Steve earlier)

    2. I can’t access the Notes directory from Outlook (though the ‘check names’ function works, if I spell the name correctly).

    These two items are only mildly frustrating considering the gain.

    After reading the posts here, a tip I can share to those who say their synchronization takes a very long time:
    BEFORE starting the Outlook connector install / setup process, clean out your Lotus mailbox the best you can (you don’t have to empty it). By clean out, I mean get rid of old emails you don’t need, especially large ones. THEN install and setup as described here, and on your first synchronization…be patient. I left mine running when I left for the day.
    If you get impatient and shut down Outlook before it completes this first synchronization, it seems to start the entire synchro process over again the next time you launch Outlook. Since this process takes a long time (~2 hours for me), you get in a scenario where this will happen again and again, depending on your PC use habit. Once the initial synchro process is allowed to complete, the daily synchro process should only take 30-45 sec, if that.

    Thanks for the great page and posts…good luck.

  13. Kirsten Lawrence

    I’m having trouble getting this to work… after installing the connector when I launch outlook i get this message:

    “Unable to open your default e-mail folders. An unexpected error has occurred. MAPI was ubable to load the information service nwnsp.dll. Be sure that the service is correctly installed and configured.”

    Not sure what to do.. I checked for the hotfixes and don’t seem to have the ones that cause trouble. any suggestions anyone?

  14. Hal

    Does anyone know if there is a way to disable portions of the Outlook Connector for Lotus Notes ?? I am getting duplicate calendar entries and it is REALLY messing up on repeating entries. I need to disable calendar synchronizatioin between the two systems ( and I don’t really need it anyway ).

  15. tw

    I have my problem resolved by setting the notes directory into the PATH variable. Right-Click on My computer–> Advance –>Environment variables, Under User Variable path, add in for example, D:vs6Tools;D:Microsoft Visual StudioVC98bin;C:Notes
    where C:Notes is your notes directory. The semicolon is important here as well. I ran into errors when this semi-colon was missing.

  16. john

    Recently I received a .nsf file from my client. My office uses only microsoft exchange and my client is MS Outlook. I would like to read the .nsf file in my outlook but i do not have any Lotus notes client in my laptop. The outlook connector requires the Lotus client to be installed.

    I would appreciate if someone who had this problem manage to find a solution.


  17. Boaz

    How can I use the “connect” to access local nsf file I have on my disc (i.e. archive)?

  18. hovisa

    I updated software for a portable scanner (NeatReceipts) and now my Outlook connector will not work. I have removed and re-installed outlook and the connector, removed profiles and data files but no joy! I always get the following “The profile is not complete because your Notes.ini file hasn’t been personalied for your e-mail account. Start your lotus notes client and provide your domino derver name and ID file password when prompted by the Client Configuration Wizard and try again”. I have recreated the notes.ini file as well but no luck. Anyone have any ideas?

  19. Jay Cohen

    Hey all – ran into many of the same issues that most are running into including:

    – notes.ini file not complete
    – profile not complete
    – Outlook connecter can’t load
    – and a few others…

    Turns out that the Outlook Connector for Domino requires DLL’s that are in the Lotus Notes client directories. If you add the path to the Notes Client (in my case c:lotusnotes) to your environment path (My ComputerPropertiesAdvancedEnvironment Variables for XP) – things start working right away.

    I’d hazzad a guess that this is the case for a lot of these issues.


  20. Jono.

    Love your work…

    It was the HOTFIX causing the issue… Highly recommend uninstalling Office, reinstall (without service pack) install domino connector, setup… PRESTO

    I had a stab a few months ago and gave up untill another colleague got it working on his… thought it could of been a domino admin thing, but nup that silly hotfix was causing the problem..

    DELETE THE OUTLOOK HOTFIX if you get “Outlook Connector for Domino unable to open your default folders. the server is not available”

  21. DM

    Two weeks back my Notes Connector had become very slow. Incoming mails were slow but outgoing mails took forever. I suspected problems in mail server. For a week I had to use Lotus Notes for sending mails. Finally I found out why, when another program (Anagram) had problem with Outlook and their support helped in resolving it.

    I had switched to McAfee from Norton Internet Security. And it appears reference to Norton’s Script Blocker in outlook was not removed by Norton uninstaller, whch was causing problem ( I removed it, and Anagram worked again. Along with it, my Notes connecteor started behaving normally.

    If you are suffering from same problem after getting rid of Norton – this might be worth trying. But take precaution as it involves changes in Registry.

    ps: Yesterday I switched to TrendMicro. NotedConnecer definitely behaved better in McAfee compared to Norton. But TrendMicro appears to be way ahead sofar.

  22. Allan

    I finally got my Outlook 2003 working with notes connector by starting with a new install and a machine without any Office service packs installed. I have since installed SP2 but have heard rumors that Office SP3 will break the connector. I have also read that it is only a problem when you try and install the connector and once it is working you can go ahead and apply the service pack and it will be OK. Is anyone using Office 2003 and the Lotus notes connector with Office SP3 installed? I am being harassed by my IT dept to install SP3 but I do not want to break my Outlook use with Lotus notes.

  23. MikeS

    I’m having the same problem metioned in earlier posts about emails not having any content. Some do, some don’t. This is on the ones I send out. Any suggestions or changes I should make?

  24. Bala


    I downloaded the connector and installed it. There are no Hotfixes installed in my PC. I am still getting the error, unable to connect to server. Check your network connection and try again. I am able to access notes without changing any setting or what ever parallely. And when i click on OK, i get another error pops up. Unable to open default folders. contact administrator. Some one please help me and tell me the process for getting this connector to work.

  25. Garen

    An issue with functionality.

    Is there a way to get the connector to automatically download all attachments when it syncs? It is frustrating to send/recive email before i leave in the morning, open it up later and realize there is an attachment i need to look at. It will not download the attachments untill i actually open them.

    Any way to configure this setting someplace? the “download headers and then full items” does not do anything with regard to this.

  26. Jason

    Can you still use LN with Outlook connector installed? I am concerned that if I don’t get the Outlook interface working that I won’t be able to check emails. Please reply. Thanks for the article.

  27. Phil

    Just wanted to say thanks again. Everything worked after I uninstalled Outlook and reinstalled without any updates in Vista.

    A couple of notes for people wanting to do this without having to put forth as much effort as I had to.

    Make sure you have cleaned up from any previous installs before doing anything from the above to eliminate having to do this all over. This means, delete any lotus folders from application data, program data, and program files folder locations.

    My Notes version is 6.03 Mutli User Install. I had to install notes again as well and when I did this, I set the Setup.exe file to run as admin and run in XP SP2 compatibility mode. Same with the Notes connector (olconn2.exe). After everthing was setup, I deleted any and all mail profiles that I had created from previous installs. I also deleted everthing is the Outlook Folders under Appdata, local, microsoft, Outlook.

    My next step was to install Notes and make sure the defaults were the same as the installation on my old xp sp2 machine. Edit your current location and make sure it equals old install. Make sure your database settings and local preferences also are the same. Dot the is and Cross the ts. After I checked and rechecked, I then installed the connector. I then started Notes and just created local personal folder with no other email first. I closed and restart outlook.

    I then proceeded with setting up the Notes Connector Email. Go to Tools, Options -> Mail SetUp Tab and click on Email Accounts. Select Add New Email Account and select the Outlook Connector for Domino. Follow the setup prompts. It will ask you to close Outlook Down and restart – DO NOT DO THIS. I have had nothing but problems if I try this. Just press the send/ Receive button and let Outlook Sync with the Notes DB. You will not be able to see any folder contents until you are synced and have restarted. I hope this helps others. Thanks again for all the info on this site.

  28. wemarr

    Well after spending a complete day in trying to get this to work, the only way was to uninstall Office and reinstall and then install the connector and then set up email again. The problem here was not necessairily that the hotfix stuffed up but that I had in some way mucked up the Notes client. I had already sp3 for office 2003 installed and was working ok until I change the email settings in notes client. Well it is working now so I hope to have no other problems.

  29. Jerry

    Fantastic advice… however, the update seems to be now included in Office 2003 SP3 which is not un-installable.
    Do you think a manual install of the actual update, then uninstall would work as a means to remove only this fix?
    Ah.. I will give it a try and post result here when I know!

  30. Jerry

    It doesn’t work I get the following message:
    Security Update for Outlook 2003 (KB892843)
    This update has already been applied or is included in an update that has already been applied.
    Any ideas how to manually remove or disable this?
    Like most of the above comments, we are compelled to work with Notes, and now I have no choice!
    So meeting’s with clients go wrong, updates to meetings do not get updated, cancellations do not cancel (our clients use Outlook).
    many thanks in advance for any help you can offer!
    / Jerry.

  31. Jerry

    I have found the solution:
    The forum
    had the answer, from Microsoft France!
    “Bigchief” posted the following answer:
    I found how to fix this bug : you have to add an entry in the registry.
    The entry to add is :
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice11.0O utlookOptionsGeneral]
    Thanks Bigchief, I can’t thanks you on the forum as I am not a member!

    So to make it work:
    1: regedit and create the key (above)
    2: Uninstall Outlook connector for Lotus Notes
    3: Re-install Outlook connector for Lotus Notes
    4: Create a dummy mail account in “Mail” in control panel
    5: Set the dummy as default
    6: Delete the previous failed Outlook Connector account (you might need to create a store for this before it allows you to delete it). Exit “Mail”
    5: Run Outlook
    6: Re-create the Outlook connector account, (in Outlook not control panel)
    7: Outlook requests you to use “File -> Exit” to “activate the account”, so exit Outlook
    8: Run Outlook again (you will notice that your mail account path makes far more sense now!).
    9: Send recieve and you are up and running…. whaaay!!!!

  32. Rick Tolan

    Outlook 2003 security fix KB892843 was a part of Office 2003 SP3 which my company just forced onto my machine. As expected, the connector no longer works and displays the ….server is not available message just like when the patch came out.

    Problem is that the SP3 also whacked my NST (nowhere to be found on the machine any longer and the SP3 is not able to be uninstalled. OUCH!!

    Any ideas on recovery would be nice, even to start from a new synch to the Notes server. While I wish I could move to Exchange, that is not an option at this employer.

  33. TL in SF

    Has anyone figured out how to copy my Notes custom folders (emails in folders) over to Outlook now that the bridge is active? I hate the idea that I might need copy or cut and paste or forward from Notes to Outlook especially since I have 24 custom folders with over 400 emails within those folders sitting on my Notes side!! Please guys, any tips here? Thanks in advance!

  34. Raul

    In the blogger a connector between Lotus Notes Email and Outlook is referred? Where can I download?
    Thank you for your attention.

  35. ST

    I previously had the connector functioning, thanks in full to the posts found here. Recently I was provided with a new work laptop, with only the default applications installed and configured. Trying to perform the steps with uninstalling the updates didn’t not work this time for me.

    I found the following information that did though, through someones link to the French Microsoft Support site.

    This had me up and running without any uninstalls of updates. Running the Olconn2 with Outlook 2003 sp3 on the laptop and Lotus 6.5 on the server.

  36. Rick Tolan

    The Outlook 2003 security fix KB892843 is included in Office 2003 SP3 and this will not allow undo. My company forced the SP3 on us and now the Notes COnnector cannot work.

  37. Bill

    I have been using Domino notes connector for 2 1/2 years without much issue but suddenly the text of my emails is no longer visible on my companies blackberries unless I send in “plain text” This is very limited and I may have to abandon using Outlook unless someone has a fix. This is also the case with others in my company using Outlook with Domino. There was a server update around the time of this problem starting but the company tells me everything checks out OK and since they don’t support using Outlook I probably won’t get to far. In all other cases HTML or Rich text works and when sent from lotus notes there is no problem. Any Ideas?

  38. John

    I’m running Windows Vista Ultimate, Outlook 2003, and Notes 7.0.2 successfully with the Microsoft connector (just in case anyone is wondering if that works). I did have a fairly significant problem with Outlook “freezing” several times a day, and then when opened again, I would get a message about how Outlook was not shut down correctly and the database had to be checked for corruption. This check would take anywhere from 3-5 minutes. In addition, every time I started Outlook, it would synchronize the entire calendar, which often took 5 minutes. It was done in the background, but usually prevented new emails from coming through until after the calendar sync was complete.

    The issue was due to the size of my Notes mail file. I work as a consultant and frequently have to go back to emails from several years prior, so I had emails going back to the year 2000 and a mail file size of over 1.5 GB and over 1,000 calendar entries. I ended up creating a new PST mail folder on my local drive for this Outlook profile, so I have both the Domino mailbox and this new PST mail file within the same Outlook instance. As new email comes in (and don’t forget your sent mail folder, too!), I transfer it to the folders in the PST file.

    The advantage to this is that now my Domino mailbox only contains new emails (for a very short time) and 1-2 months worth of calendar entries. Synchronization time is less than 10 seconds, not minutes, and new emails are transferred from Domino to my Outlook box almost instantaneously, rather than up to minutes after they appeared in my Notes mail file. And, Outlook no longer freezes throughout the day. The disadvantage is that my emails are now contained only on my local machine in the PST folder, so it is my responsibility to back up this folder in case something would happen – the emails are no longer safely stored on the corporate mail server. In my opinion, this is a small price to pay for not having to use the Notes interface!

    Hopefully this helps someone else out there!

  39. Jorge

    Hi all
    I’m trying to do what Swapnil explains in post 156 about rules to automatically move new messages from outlook connector inbox to the personal folder (pst). The problem is that the rule I’m creating doesn’t work automatically each time one mail arrives. Does anyone knows how to set up this rule?
    I’m using the connector as default acount so that the mails are always sent with this account and are automatically stored in the pst file, so I don’t need any rule for sent messages, my problem is with the incoming messages.

  40. Pete Mayhew

    OK guys, I think this one is along the lines of this thread. Here’s the problem:

    I am using Outlook 2003 with a POP3 ISP hosted mail server. I don’t seem to have any problems sending/receiving mail from anyone except a Lotus Notes server. If someone sends me an email from Notes, I receive it fine, and we can go back & forth without a problem. If I inititiate the email, when the person replies, all I get back is what I sent them. Nothing they added comes through. And to make it more interesting, if I log into the webmail interface of my email, the reply is there. It gets ‘lost’ somewhere between the ISP and my laptop. So far, I’ve identified this with 2 different Notes email servers. Any ideas what might be going on???

  41. suresh kumar

    what option will change to enable lotus notes start receiving mails?

  42. David Hoisman

    thanks for the assist, but I can’t get outlook to recieve the lotus notes email, just send it. I am halfway there…


  43. Theo

    “Note that you’ll be unable to read all notes email” – what bull!!!

    “those sent with high encruption levels…” – hmmm…

    Guys (and girls), just get Notes 8!!!

  44. Dan Dar3

    Apparently you suspected incorrectly, look at the number of posts 🙂 Man, you are genius!!! 🙂

    I previously had SP3 installed on top of Office 2003, couldn’t unistall some of the updates sao I had to uninstall the whole Office, then re-install Office, the connector and then the SP3. Works fine, thanks for documenting it!!!

  45. Aditya


    Any news or info on Outlook Connector 2007 for Lotus notes ??

  46. Jeremy

    If you want to sync you contacts for off line use, from the Tools menu choose Send/Receive and choose the option Download Domino Address Book.

  47. Jeremy

    Instead of uninstalling the hotfixes, just add the following to your registry

    Add a DWORD of “UnknownRowsSortOrder” with a value of 1 to



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: