Outlook Reading NSF Files of Lotus Notes

Can Outlook Read NSF Files? – Authentic Solutions


Can Outlook read NSF files? The answer to this question depends on one’s perspective. From a non-general point of view, the answer is NO. Outlook cannot read NSF files. It is designed to work with the PST file format, which no other email client support. But if you decide to be a little technical, you would say that it is possible to read Lotus Notes NSF files in Outlook. But the question is how?

Here, in this article, we will analyze this particular query from both general and technical point of view. And provide guidance on how you can read NSF files in an Outlook email client.

Outlook Reading NSF Files of Lotus Notes – General Point of View

Whenever we face a query regarding some technology, the first thing that comes to mind is to find a solution within this technology or from its developers. So when you look at the query “Can Outlook read NSF files”, your first approach would be to find an official solution. Unfortunately, there is no official solution for this.


Both Outlook & Lotus Notes are under different developers – Microsoft & IBM respectively. And they both use proprietary file formats for storing their mailbox data i.e., NSF in the case of IBM Notes and PST for MS Outlook. And since the database files are proprietary, neither of them are compatible with each other’s file format. Thus, there is no straightforward solution or rather an official method to read NSF files in Outlook.

Technical Aspect of Opening NSF Files in Microsoft Outlook

Although there are no official solutions, there is a workaround that can be used in such a case. It involves exporting the Lotus Notes database as a CSV file and then importing it in Outlook application using the native Open & Export option. The steps to perform this migration process is as follows:

Export the NSF file contents from Lotus Notes

  • Run the IBM Notes application and open the NSF file that you wish to migrate to export.
  • Now click on the Mail button and select the File menu bar option.
  • Choose the Export option from the drop-down list.
  • In the Export windows, name the file as per choice and select Comma Separated Value in Save as type.
  • Proceed and press the Ok button to continue the process of reading NSF files in Outlook.
  • Finally, finish the process by clicking on the Export button.

Import the Exported CSV File in Outlook

  • Run Outlook, go to the File menu and select the Open & Export option.
  • Now, choose the Import/Export option to open its window.
  • Here, select the Import from another program or file option and click on the Next button to continue.
  • In the format list, select Comma Separated Values(Windows) option.
  • Locate and select the previously-exported CSV files and click on the Next button.
  • Map the contents in CSV file with Outlook email attributes and hit the Finish button.

This is how you can import the data of CSV file in Outlook & hence read NSF files in Outlook manually.

Important Points to Note:

  • You may lose your attachments during the process since a non-mailbox file (CSV) is used as a mediator.
  • During the mapping of email contents, several email attributes will appear changed or missing.
  • In multiple cases, the exported file is not generated in CSV format, but rather is a file with no extension.
  • This process only applies to one NSF file. It is not feasible for bulk NSF file migration.

Best Method to Read NSF files in Outlook – Convert NSF to PST

It is clear that the manual process is not the method any sane IT guy would implement for migrating Lotus Notes emails. In fact, the best method would be to go for a specialized tool. It will help you avoid a time-consuming process and provide you with accurate results without losing email attributes.

The best point about an automated solution is that it allows bulk conversion and prevents any kind of data loss during the entire procedure. The conversion format should be either of the supportive data files of Outlook i.e., PST or MSG.

SysTools Export Notes is the perfect tool to convert Lotus Notes NSF to Outlook PST format in the least possible time. Its long list of features includes some remarkable functionalities such as:

  • Bulk & Selective Conversion without losing attributes
  • Export entire email items loss-free:
    • Emails
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Tasks
    • Journals
  • Date filters & Naming conventions
  • Custom Mapping Options
  • Retains folder hierarchy and formatting
  • The choice to remove the encryption of emails
  • Allows reading NSF files in all Outlook versions


People are looking for methods to move their Lotus Notes emails to Outlook, Exchange & O365. Among these topics, the most searched one is “Can Outlook read NSF files” and similar questions. Likewise, n number of solutions are also provided here and there.

But most of them are untested and incompetent. So, here we are, with properly tested solutions that will allow an Outlook user to read NSF files. Do try the free trial version of SysTools Export Notes for a data loss-free approach.

I am an international Digital Marketing SEO and content expert, helping brands and publishers grow through search engines. I am Outbrain's former SEO and Content Director and previously worked in the gaming, B2C and B2B industries for more than a decade.
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