The email manager of your business contains the mailboxes of users in a data file. Microsoft Outlook has PST/OST as the database file and HCL Notes (earlier Lotus Notes) uses the NSF file. NSF is the abbreviation for the Notes Storage Facility and it contains the mailbox features like email, contacts, calendars, address books, journals, to-do lists, etc. NSF files are also the data files for the Domino Web Server and if you create an account in the Domino Web Server, then you can access its files items in the NSF files.
Due to the better features and functionalities of the MS Outlook, most of the users want to adopt it and move on from IBM notes. Here are some benefits of MS Outlook over IBM Notes that attract the user toward itself.
Benefits of Microsoft Outlook
- The user-interface of the Outlook is more interactive than the IBM Notes and the features of Outlook are placed in a better way.
- Outlook can contain and manage multiple accounts separately.
- Outlook application can deliver offline accessibility unlike Notes
- Outlook supports more types of accounts like Exchange, Microsoft 365, IMAP, POP, etc.
- The cost-effectiveness of the Outlook (low maintenance cost) is the primary reason behind the users adopting it more than the IBM Notes.
- The security of the Outlook boasts a higher level from Microsoft. Because Outlook is the part of Microsoft Office 365 subscription, so there is constant technical support for the customers.
- Microsoft allows the usage of the latest updated version of Outlook each time.
- Two database file formats OST and PST for saving Outlook accounts data
- Easy to work with application suitable for all kinds of users (technical or non-technical)
- Outlook application comes along multiple applications in Microsoft Office Suite
- Better data management and security than other email client applications
- It is easier to transfer data in Outlook between the different accounts.
All the benefits of MS Outlook attract users to adopt it in a big way. For that users need to export the Notes NSF file data to Outlook PST file as the Outlook application supports only PST file format as the database. But there is no dedicated method to convert the data files free. But there is a workaround where you can export the data from IBM Notes to a CSV file, then import the CSV files into Outlook. Although, it is not a secure method you can complete a simple conversion here.
Export IBM Notes to external CSV file
Before exporting the data from IBM Notes to a CSV file, you should take a backup of the account so that you can access it again if the conversion process does not complete successfully.
- Start IBM Notes application and click File option.
- Click Open and then go to Lotus Notes Application.
- After opening the Application window, you need to go to the NSF file containing the mailbox info. Select the NSF file and then click Open.
- After opening the NSF file, again click File option.
- Click Export and choose the location where you wish to save the CSV file. In the Save as drop-down, choose Comma Separated Value type. Click Export.
- Select from the CSV Export options like data amount to export, export character set, etc.
- Follow the saving process by clicking OK.
- Provide a name to the CSV file and let it save.
Import CSV file to Outlook
The second stage of the conversion process requires you to import the earlier created CSV file to the Outlook. Here is its process;
- Start Outlook and click File option.
- Click Import/Export wizard.
- After opening the Import/Export wizard, choose the Import option.
- Choose Comma Separated Values.
- Browse the location of the CSV file from its location and while saving the file, click the option to replace the duplicate items while importing.
- Choose the PST folder location where you need to import the NSF file, then go ahead.
- After finishing the import process, click Finish.
- Check the newly created folder in the mailbox part in Outlook and verify the presence of data items.
Drawbacks of Free Method
The above-mentioned free process to convert the data from NSF files to Outlook is simple, but it has many drawbacks that make this process an error-prone method;
- There is no option to filter the data, so you will have to convert whole data including such files that you did not want to migrate.
- To convert multiple accounts, you need to follow the same process multiple times for each account.
- This method is not suitable to convert large data consisting of multiple files and folders.
- If the data is corrupt in the NSF file, then it may further corrupt the whole Outlook environment.
- It does not move complete NSF file email items like calendar entries.
- Throughout the process, there are good possibilities of data loss.
- The process can result in incomplete conversion of data
- Chances of process failure owing to human errors
- Can badly affects the original structure and properties of NSF data
- The method is long, complex and not suitable for novice users
Note: There is another way to move NSF files to Outlook PST using Microsoft Transporter Suite for Internet Mailboxes which is an obsolete method (for older versions only). It requires users to create a CSV file with mapped Source and Target Identity and the transport the source mailboxes to target using this inbuilt application. However, the process is not meant for all Outlook versions (for only Outlook 2003 and older versions), time-consuming with included data loss risks. It cannot export encrypted NSF files; more than 1500 emails and NSF file more than 1 GB size. Thus, include file type and file size limitations.
Due to the drawbacks of free methods, these are not recommended for getting sure shot results and when you are expecting reliability in process.
The conversion from NSF files to Outlook PST is beneficial for a business only when it is completed by a professional NSF to PST converter software that supports such conversion. The advantage of using professional software will be the security of your business data and a clean conversion without the chance of any corruption or deletion.