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Transferring Lotus Notes to Outlook

How do you transfer Lotus Notes to Outlook where only one PC has Lotus Notes installed and the other only Outlook?

As a prerequisite you must have NSF to PST conversion software. That is Lotus Notes to Outlook conversion software that is able to convert NSF to PST files (Lotus Notes databases to Outlook Personal Folder Files).

Applications that read or write to IBM Lotus Notes data must have the Lotus Notes client installed so your NSF to PST software will also require Lotus Notes to be installed.

Lotus Notes is a proprietary and complex format that is constantly changing.  There are no readers or viewers available from anyone to read Lotus Notes. IBM does however allow it to be read via a Lotus Notes API that comes with the Lotus Notes client. In other words you must at least have the Lotus Notes client installed to be able to read it.

The same goes for Outlook. To read or write to Outlook you need to have Microsoft Outlook installed.

 How to approach your conversion

You have two options. Convert on the source PC or convert on the destination PC. Either way you need to make sure that both Lotus Notes and Outlook programs are loaded (one at least temporarily as you can remove it later) on a PC. You can:

  • Install Lotus Notes and the destination Outlook PC and copy your Lotus Notes data NSF files to it and convert your data on that PC.


  • Install Outlook on the source PC and convert you data to Outlook than take a copy of the converted data in PST format to your new PC.


Running the conversion on the source PC that already has Lotus Notes installed


  • Find a copy of Microsoft Outlook. Microsoft Outlook usually comes with Microsoft Office.  You may also be able to download it from Microsoft as a trail. Make sure you download a version your NSF to PST software supports. You can search Google for Microsoft Outlook Trial or Microsoft Office Trial
  • Install Microsoft Outlook (or MS Office with Outlook).
  • Run Microsoft Outlook the first time to complete the install. You may need to enter temporary, dummy settings (i.e. fake settings) so you can complete the install.
  • Install the Lotus Notes to Outlook conversion software
  • Run the conversion and specify you want to create a new PST file. Specify a full file name for the PST file so you know where it is installed.
  • Once the conversion finishes copy the newly created PST file to movable storage (drive or USB memory etc) and take it to your new PC.
  • You can then either copy the PST file to your destination PC and add it as an additional folder in Outlook (File – New – Outlook Data File or similar) or you can import it into an existing folder file (PST) (File – Import and Export – Import from another program or file – Personal Folder Filer (.pst)). If you want to be advanced about it, while Outlook is shutdown, you can go to the mail option in control panel and add it and make it the default. You may need to add it first not as the default, then make it the default and then remove the old default later.
  • Make sure all the data is there in Outlook. If it is you may remove Outlook from the source PC.


Running the conversion on the destination PC that already has Outlook installed


  • Make a copy of your Lotus Notes data (to movable storage, USB memory, backup drive etc).
    • You will need to copy your mailbox, your address book and any archive files you may have.  If you need to work out how to identify your data please see our article How to identify and find your Lotus Notes mailbox, address book, archive and id files for copying.
    • You should also take a copy of your id file. This is the file that stores your Lotus Notes security information. You may not need it but if any of your files are encrypted (locally encrypted) or have any encrypted messages in them you will need your id file (used by Lotus Notes to decrypt your data). How to identify and find your Lotus Notes mailbox, address book, archive and id files for copying
    • Obtain a copy of Lotus Notes. You can download a trail of Lotus Notes from IBM. You can do a Goggle search for the term Lotus Notes client download
    • Install Lotus Notes
    • Run Lotus Notes at least once to finish the install process. You do not need to specify a server. Just specify the minimum settings you need to. Leave Lotus Notes started after the setup is done.
    • If you have Lotus Notes started choose File – Security – Switch ID and specify the ID file you copied (if you did not copy and ID file and it is not needed you can skip this step).
    • Install your NSF to PST conversion software.
    • Start your NSF to PST conversion software (may be a good idea to shutdown Lotus Notes so you don’t have any files open you may need to open in the NSF to PST conversion software). Select the appropriate mailbox and address book file and start your conversion to Outlook. If you need to export archive go ahead and do that after you fished you mailbox and address book. Generally you export them as a separate step.
    • Open Outlook (it may already be opened) and check for your data.
    • If all your data is there you may uninstall Lotus Notes.

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