Lotus Notes is a popular email client that has been in existence for more than three decades. Released in 1989, this program is used for sending and receiving emails and instant messages, as a calendar, and for storing emails and attachments. The latest versions even have a web services interface. Undoubtedly, this tool has many interesting features and an illustrious history.
Read on to know all about how Notes has evolved over the years and what its future looks like.
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Brief History of IBM Notes
Notes has its roots in a tool called PLATO Notes that was created by an Illinois University professor in 1973. It was used to create discussion groups and is one of the first documented “online” communities. Taking a cue from PLATO Notes, Ray Ozzie, one of the users and supporters of PLATO to recreate the same collaborative tools for PCs. Ozzie entered into an agreement with Lotus Development Corporation, and this eventually led to the release of Lotus Notes in 1989.
Due to the growing popularity of emails, IBM bought Lotus in 1995 and it became the Lotus division of IBM. After making multiple additions in every release, IBM decided to drop the name “Lotus” and changed it to IBM Notes in 2012. By the end of 2018, IBM decided to sell Notes and the Domino server to HCL Technologies for a whopping $1.8 billion. Since then, it’s come to be called HCL Notes. In 2021, HCL released a cloud-native deployment and has since been adding more features in every release.
Though there have been some stable releases from HCL, there’s still a bit of uncertainty surrounding future releases, and more importantly, the likely support that HCL will provide for the earlier versions. Already, HCL has announced that it will stop support for the 9.x and 10.x versions in 2024, and users will have to upgrade to the next version to get continued support from HCL.
Given such uncertainties, many users are looking to move to Microsoft Outlook. However, the concern is how to move content from Notes to Outlook, given that data formats are different and incompatible with each other. Notes stores data in a format called NSF while in Outlook, it’s stored in PST format.
But the good news is that, you can convert data from the archive NSF file to PST format, and this can be loaded to Outlook to access the contents.
How to open archive NSF file – Moving NSF to PST
There are two ways to convert NSF to PST. Let’s look at them.
If you have to manually convert NSF to PST format, you’ll have to take export NSF files to an intermediary CSV format, and from there, CSV to the PST format.
To convert NSF to CSV format,
- Open Lotus Notes.
- Navigate to File > Open > Lotus Notes Application.
- Select the NSF file that you want to convert.
- Navigate to File > Export.
- In the file dialog box that opens, give a name and location for the file.
- In the format option, select Comma Separated File.
- Keep the default values in the Export dialog box.
These steps will save the file in CSV format.
Next, you’ll have to convert the CSV file to PST format. The steps for that are:
- Open Outlook.
- Navigate to File > Open & Export > Import/Export. This opens the Import/Export wizard.
- Select the “Import from another program or file” option.
- In the next window, select Comma Separated File and click Next.
- Select the CSV file that you created earlier.
- Check the import option and click Finish.
These steps will convert the CSV file into PST format and you can view its contents in Outlook.
However, this method is not easy and highly error-prone. More importantly, any misstep can cause corruption in the NSF file, resulting in permanent data loss.
These limitations can be overcome using a third-party tool like Stellar Converter for NSF.
Stellar Converter for NSF
The Stellar Converter for NSF is a DIY tool that converts the NSF files of HCL Notes to PST format, so you can view them in Outlook. Another key advantage of this tool is that the complex process of conversion is masked by an intuitive interface, and as a user, you only have to select the NSF file and decide the final format and destination. The rest is handled by the tool itself, thereby saving you considerable time and effort. More importantly, it can be used by anyone, regardless of their background or technical skill.
Some of the other features of this tool are:
- Supports all versions of HCL Notes and Lotus Notes.
- Migrates NSF data directly to Microsoft 365/Outlook account in the Technical version.
- Can be used to convert to other formats also like MSG, EML, PDF, RTF and HTML
- Offers a preview of all the content from your NSF file, so you can select what you want.
- Extracts data from orphaned and inaccessible NSF files.
Given these benefits, Stellar Converter for NSF can be an easier option to convert your data from NSF to PST formats.
To conclude, HCL NOTES (formerly known as Lotus Notes) has come a long way in the last 30+ years and has seen many changes. While it’s a handy tool for emails, HCL is planning to stop support for the previous versions, which means you’ll have to upgrade to the latest version to continue to have support for your tool. This is why many people are looking to move their content to Outlook, and in this article, we save two methods: the manual method and or a software-based method using Stellar Converter for NSF – an advance tool for NSF to PST conversion. Out of the two, the Stellar tool is recommended because of its ease of use and efficiency.