Migrating from Lotus Notes to Outlook/Thunderbird
May 21, 2008 7:17 AM   Subscribe

How to export my Lotus Notes emails and addressbook (.nsf files) to Outlook (.pst) or any other free email client ? Almost all web searches have led me to paid softwares ($250+). Is there a freeware (or nearly freeware - approx $10) utility to accomplish this ?

I am switching jobs, hence need to move all my existing Lotus Notes emails and address books(.nsf) to Outlook's (.pst) or any other freeware email client like Thunderbird. Most popular opensource email clients like Thunderbird do export to Outlook don't they? Even if they don't that's ok as long as I can atleast access it in Thunderbird.

All my google searches have led me to licensed utilities which are too costly for me. I am looking for a free or nearly-free solution.

My setup:
1) Work laptop with Lotus Notes 7 installed, which holds all my emails and AddsBook that needs to be exported. No Outlook or OutlookExpress on this m/c.
2) I have my personal laptop which I presume must have the free Outlook Express that comes with WinXP. No Lotus Client on this machine.

I just want to ensure that I have all my archived email archives in a proper format in some other client which I can open on my personal laptop, before I submit my work laptop to IT here. Notes is notorious with all its vague bugs and no support, and it's native "Export" feature doesn't work well with too many mails and attachments. Anyways, here's the list of file-formats it can export to:

For Emails: CSV, Lotus 1-2-3, Structured Text, Tabular Text
For AddsBook: CSV, Lotus 1-2-3, Structured Text, Tabular Text, vCard 2.1, vCard 3.0.

I haven't used Outlook or OutlookExpress for a long time, so I am not sure which of the above formats OutlookExpress will successfully import from. And colleagues who previously tried migrating from Notes have reported several problems with Notes not doing a complete job. Some of them manually forwarded their emails to personal accounts.

I am willing to jump through some intermediate file-format hoops as long as I can get the job done as a end-user, but I am afraid I won't be able to do any major scripting or coding as such.

As a last resort, I have also considered, installing GoogleDesktop on work m/c, indexing and copying Google index files to my personal m/c, and then pointing GoogleDesktop on personal m/c to that index. But I am not sure if that's even possible. Will Google Desktop work with indexes that way? This is just one idea that occured to me.

And before someone points it out: Yes, there was a similar previous thread, it was a long time ago, it didn't quite address the problem. Notes/Outlook versions have changed a lot since then, maybe somebody has a better solution this time.
posted by forwebsites to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
couldn't you set up a free gmail account, then forward everything there?
posted by Oktober at 7:30 AM on May 21, 2008

Response by poster: I forgot to mention, I do have a gmail account as well. If I can somehow push all my Notes emails to Gmail that would be awesome as well.
posted by forwebsites at 7:32 AM on May 21, 2008

Response by poster: Oktober, you mean manually forward all emails? Ofcourse I can do that. But with thousands of emails collected over last few years, I don't think it's an exciting prospect. I am looking for a way to directly export my .nsf archive files to gmail so that all my emails show up individually just like it does on notes client. If that's an alternative to exporting to Outlook/Thunderbird I will take it.
posted by forwebsites at 7:40 AM on May 21, 2008

Check out this page, particularly the step labeled "Create an IMAP account within Lotus Notes".

I think the easiest method for migrating the mail messages is going to be to create an account on an IMAP server somewhere (Gmail or a box at home), then connect to it from Notes and push all your messages and folder structure onto it. Then you can connect to it from your new mail client, pull the messages/folders down, and transfer it wherever it needs to go.

The advantage of migrating using IMAP and just moving the messages versus forwarding them is that moving them shouldn't change the content of the messages or delete any of the headers; forwarding will. (Of course, Notes emails will change to the HTML alternative when you move them outside of Notes, but I think the headers will still transfer.)

Transferring a few thousand messages up to an IMAP store won't be as slick as just dealing with the on-disk files, but it's nicer than forwarding and is pretty much a hands-off procedure once you initiate the copy. It's the only way I found to cleanly migrate my Notes messages when I changed jobs recently.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:52 AM on May 21, 2008

Notes should be able to export to a .csv format at least for the address book. The emails might be a bit kludgy though. One thing I had luck with was a ODBC plugin for Notes databases, I was always able to get info like that.

You have checked with your manager and IT department to make sure it is ok to bring this all with you, right? Otherwise, I don't know that it is a good idea to admit to doing this on a public forum...
posted by kellyblah at 8:20 AM on May 21, 2008

Wow, the timing is good on this.
Look at this search page from the Lotus Sandbox.

I needed a tool to export Notes contacts, and this is the page that was the most helpful (I ended up not having to do this.
posted by disclaimer at 8:35 AM on May 21, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everybody. Kadin I will try that page and let this thread know how it goes.
kellyblah, all the emails that I want to export are my personal emails (payroll, tax and some personal emails from friends etc.) Nothing company confidential.
posted by forwebsites at 10:52 PM on May 21, 2008

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