Thursday, February 5, 2009

Transfer Lotus Notes Email to Gmail and Unleash That Captured Information

If you use Lotus Notes in a business setting, or you run a small business based around Lotus Notes, then you’ve probably experienced one or all of these three ugly scenarios:

Ugly Scenario Number 1

You are scheduled to meet with a client to deliver a proposal. The opportunity is big. Real Big. Not taking any chances, you have put your presentation and your proposal down on a flash drive.

As you sit in the Starbucks downstairs from the client’s office, you pop open your laptop to do a quick review of your material when you realize that critical information is missing. It was in an email sent by your client.

No problem. Starbucks has a wireless network that you can access. All you need to do is buy a cup of coffee and you can get access to your account for two full hours.

But wait! You fire up your browser, login into iNotes only to discover that it’s not letting you on. Not the first time, the second or the third time. You call the home office to try to find out what the problem is, only to discover that the mail server is down and won’t be back up for another two hours. You need that email in the next 15 minutes.

What do you do?

Ugly Scenario Number 2

You laptop died. You take it into The Geek Squad to get repaired. And being the generous guys that they are, they give you a loaner to use until they can get yours working again. It has all of the latest applications on it, MS office, Adobe Illustrator, Dreamweaver… even has the latest edition of Half-Life on it. But it doesn’t have a Lotus Notes client application. And the Home office didn’t set up iNotes because no one ever needed it. Can you live without email for a day?

Ugly Scenario Number 3

Your system administrator has chastised you on several occasions on your achieved status of storage pig. In spite of stating that you needed your email for reference purposes, you were told to delete some of your emails. So, you created an archive of many of your folders, threw the data down on a 2 Gig flash drive, and cut your system disk usage by half. Your system administrator was very proud of you.

Then, while out between meetings, sitting in your favorite Starbucks, you pull up out your laptop, get connected online and fire up iNotes. You pull up an email from the office that talks about how the Flemming Account has become hot again and you are taking point on it. You are asked to come into the office after your last meeting today and to create a task force before the team can move forward. Not a problem, you say, because you still have all of the notes from your prior dealings with the people at that account.

But wait… that folder that had all of the correspondences is not on the server. It’s been archived. And as you frantically dig around in your laptop bag and feel your pockets for that flash drive, you realize that you left it at home, a 45 minute drive in the opposite direction from the office. It’s now 4:45 PM. The powers that be want you in the office at 5:15. You got a round trip time of 90 minutes (without traffic).


Email Availability Without Lotus Notes

Lotus Notes is a fine, enterprise level client server base email application. But as more “software as a service” operations come on line, sales reps will be making more use of the ‘cloud’ and be less tied to a particular application, making our documents more accessible to us anywhere, anytime.

Think of the services we already use. Our CRM has moved from ACT on our laptops to on the ‘net. Google Apps has given us an option to the tyranny of Microsoft Office. Rescue Timeallows us to track our time and projects online. Why not increase our options when looking at email accessibility?

So How Do I Unlock Those Emails Trapped In Lotus Notes

So if I am using Lotus Notes and I have a large number of critical emails locked in the Lotus Notes file format, how can I get it put into a more easily accessible format? More to the point, how can I get it integrated into my Google gmail or Google Apps account?

Here is a step by step process that will allow you to transfer all of that email into a more accessible gmail or Google Apps accounts.

First, you will need to have a gmail account. It’s cheap (as in free) and it’s easy to set up. Simply go to and create your account. For me, In this example, I’ll be using one of my older accounts in exile. This account is of the form:

If your system administrator has configured Google apps for your organization, then more than likely your email will be of the structure:

Once you have identified your gmail or Google apps account, you are ready to begin.

Just a side note. Some companies like to perform email audits. Some corporations are required by law to audit. If you are an independent sales rep, have 1099 status or running a small business, it would probably be to your benefit to keep your personal email account separate from your business email. Not only does this work to your benefit in case the lawyers comes looking for some long lost email reference, but it also allows you to track your own email documents better.

Now back to the process. On your system, fire up your Lotus Notes client. Once you have the workspace up, click open the “address book” tab in the left-hand side as shown (as always, click on an image to enlarge it):
Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
Your personal address book will come up. We will conduct our operation down in the advanced section. So expand the “advanced” tree and click on “accounts”. When you have the “accounts” section highlighted, click on the “new” button along the top of the window and select “account” because we will create a new account.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
This will bring up the “new Account” form. The “Basics” tab should already be up on top.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
Here we see the account name given as “sample gmail account”. The login name here is the sample account If you have a Google Apps account, this is where you would use your email account, The "password" is the password that you use to access your gmail or your Google Apps account. The “Account server name” is and is the IMAP mail server that you will use to interface with Google, regardless if you are using gmail or Google Apps.

Set your “protocol” to IMAP Online and set your “SSL” to Enabled. In the “only from locations” box, leave the “*” box checked. This is how you select “all of the above” in the application.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
The next tab is the “Protocol Configuration” tab. Select it and make sure that the “Sent folder name” is set to “Sent” and the “Drafts folder name” is set to “Drafts”. They should already be set. Once you have verified them, click on the advanced tab.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
The next tab is the “Advanced” tab. Here, set your “Port number” to 993 and the “Accept SSL site certificates” to “Yes”. Set the others as shown here. You may want to set the “Accept expires SSL certificates” to “No” for security purposes. In this instance, however, it won’t matter much, as this account will only be live long enough to transfer my captured email over to gmail.

When everything is set, click the “save and close” button at the top under the workspace tab.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
Congratulations. You have successfully set up the IMAP account.

Now it’s time to set up the SMTP account. On the “new” button, select “Account”, as you will create another account.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
The account name here is called “sample gmail account – smtp” The important piece here is the “Account Server Name” which is for gmail and for your Google Apps accounts. The “Login Name” is set to your gmail account. Here it is If you have Google Apps in place, this account will look like The “Password” is the password that you use to access your Google account. Set the Protocol for this account to SMTP and set the SSL to “Enabled”. Again, in the “only from locations” keep the “*” box checked.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
When set, click the “Advanced” tab.

Here, the critical sets are with the “Port Number”. Set this one to 587 and set the “Accept SSL Site Certificates” to “Yes”. Set the rest of the values accordingly. Here, the value for “Accept Expired SSL Certificates” is set to “No”. Again, while this may be important for security purposes, it won’t matter in the long run if your only purpose for setting this up is to transferring your captured email over to Google.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
When you have the values set, click the “save and close” button and then more over to the workspace.
You will now open a new database:

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
You will open the new account that you created. In this example, the account we created was called “sample gmail account”. You will recognize that as the name for your IMAP account. Click on it to open.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
And Voila! You have access to your gmail account in your Lotus Notes client. Here you can see the one lone email in this gmail account that was created but never fully utilized.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
Now here is where things get interesting. If you open your email account on your Lotus Notes server and target your critical folder, you can transfer the email over to your Google account much like you can move files from one folder to another on your machine.

Access your Lotus Notes server and select a folder that has email that you want to have access to. Here we are looking at all of the email documents on our Columbus classes that are left in this folder.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
Use either Ctl+A or the edit menu and “select all” of the documents in this folder

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google AppsTransfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
Now, it's a matter or copying the documents using either Ctrl+C or “copy” under the “edit menu”

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
You will see the client working overtime as it copies the documents.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
Then go over to the new Google IMAP account you just created and past the documents into the account:

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google AppsTransfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
And before you know it… TADA!! They’re… they’re gone.

Transfering Lotus Notes to Gmail and to Google Apps
All of those documents have been replicated over to the gmail account. Here I made the mistake of putting them directly into the inbox instead of placing them into the Columbus folder. But moving them over is a no brainer and it’s not hard to do.

Now that My Lotus Notes Email is on Gmail, What Does That Mean For Me?

So what does this do for you now that you've got your email documents replicated onto Gmail? Well, for starters, you can clean out the folders on the Lotus Notes server that you've been holding all of your important but infrequently perused email documents, giving you some much-needed space on your server.

And while it’s important to keep your system administrator happy, you also have access to your email from any of your machines. You can even get access from a loaner machine if your main rig dies or needs replacing. Think about it, no more waiting in the service queue to get Lotus Notes loaded onto your new replacement laptop. You are operational from the word “go”.

Here is one roadblock if you are tranfering ALL of your email over at one time. If you have lots of email on your Lotus Notes server, the amount of time it takes to transfer that mail over will depend on your network connection and the amount of data. If you have a sizable amount of data to transfer and you attempt to do this in the middle of the day, be prepared to be branded as a bandwidth hog as well as a storage pig. This process will be resource intensive. And if the only thing you can get access in the after hours is your phone line, then don’t try this at home.

Now, if you do manage to get all of your old emails transferred over, and you have rules set up to forward your incoming email to your Google account, then you have no reason to keep that newly created IMAP account around. Your account on the Lotus Notes server will remain email free. You can go back and remove those two accounts that you just created and operate solely from your Gmail/Google Apps account.

End result? You will never be looked upon as a storage pig again and your email will be accessible whenever you need it from whatever machine you happen working on.


roberto said...

Congratulations!! You do are a talented man, and gave us fellow crystal clear instructions. Thank you!!!

mathil said...

thaks a lot,great. Described scenario is working for me..

dr.jackalope said...

Way to go! You could give the folks at my university lessons. I have been trying to get them to do this for me for months!!!

Saqib Ali said...

Excellent write-up. I will give it a shot. Btw, any thoughts on how a company can mass migrate all users' calendars/email/contact to Google Apps?

Larry Prevost, Sales IT Tech said...

Still working on that aspect. The main push was to give my sales team a messaging alternative. Of late, my attention has been on conficker and koobface. But never fear. We will be returning to other aspects of migrating messages and contact information from Lotus Notes to Gmail. Let me know if you have any problems. Contact info is on the sidebar.

Saqib Ali said...

Hi Larry,

I found few 3rd party apps that claim to provide LN -> Google Apps migration:!Opendocument

Has anyone used any of these products? If so, how did it work out?

Stewbel said...

I love this. Seriously, you are a computer God.

Anonymous said...

OMG Thank you for this tutorial :) I sooooo do not want to work with Notes... this really really helps!

Anonymous said...

The new notes database shows the correct date/time stamp but gmail doesn't. It shows the time the mail was copied over.

de ce? said...

niceee. the only guide i read that actually works :)

Ilias said...

Thanks, very useful and clear instructions!

Elliot said...

I don't want to COPY all my existing LOTUS to gmail just forward a copy to my gmail - how can i do this?

Investor Relations Office said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi Larry thanks for all this. One thing though: how do I refer new messages directly from my Lotus Notes inbox to my Gmail imap database. That is: without copying messages to this database by hand.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great guide which seems to work for most people :) I keep getting this error message when I try to open the database:

"Error logging into server Remote system no longer responding."

I have double checked all my settings.

Any suggestions would be more than welcome :)

thanks, Peter

Peter said...

Thanks for a great guide. I have one problem though: I keep getting the following error message:

"Error logging into server Remote system no longer responding".

Any idea what the problem could be? I have double checked all the settings according to the guide.


Larry Prevost, Sales IT Tech said...

Hello Guys,

Sorry for the long delay. I've been preoccupied with some other sales issues. But I'm back, until the next crisis.

If you are looking to catch new email as they come in to your Lotus Notes system, see my other post on how to foward Lotus Notes email to other email accounts here:

With this method using IMAP, you can select which email documents you want to transfer over and move them pretty much like moving files between folders on a windows system. So you don't have to move everything. CTL-A will select everything and make it a lot easier if you have a lot of email, but it's not a requirement.

As for the error message, I'll have to take a peek at that one. This is the first I've heard of it. I'll let you know what I find.

Anonymous said...

Hi Larry, I have tried both methods and neither have worked. Is it something within my system because I am an IBM contractor employee ?

neru said...

hi my name is ram i am working in cms thank u really ur greatjob.

joukje said...

It starts off very promising, and instructions are really clear, BUT I get the same error as Peter does...

"Error logging into server Remote system no longer responding"

Any ideas on that yet?

Would be great if you could help out...

Anonymous said...

"Error logging into server Remote system no longer responding"

Received this error also - Then got off the company server (using my home internet) - it hooked right up. Verified: the LN imap database will not work off/thru the company server.

Hope this helps. I need feedback for solving the time/date stamp to be fixed in gmail

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the detailed and easy to follow instructions. I have now moved years worth of personal email off my work email!!! Awesome job.

LaserDude said...

While I think that your technical information of linking Lotus Notes to Gmail is pretty interesting, respectfully, your reasons to do this are weak and don't match the quality of the technical portion of your post.

Reason 1: Most people using Notes would replicate their mail. So it's all off line with them. There might be no need for iNotes. If some last minute HOT email came in then they'd be more likely to replicate then use iNotes though of course that's an option.

We've run Notes for 15 years. Our mail server has gone done maybe twice. Run run right it's extremely reliable. It's also easy to replication to additional servers and also cluster to ensure high availability. Quite honestly GMail has had more down time in the last 6 months then our mail in the last 6 years.

Reason 2: No offence but this is just dumb. Does Geek Squad even give a loaner laptop? Assuming they do of course Notes won't be on it. The software you list is generic. Notes, being a secure environment need to be setup correctly. I'm not looking to argue but this reason is just really out there.

Reason 3: This is legit. Happens in my world and I hate it. Lots of corporate policies force notes admins to enforce really low quotas. It sucks. An easy answer is archiving but that's a dumb solution. Typically the problem is really more to do with corporate policy (email retention) and backups - Sometimes the amount being backed up is an issue - extra costs for tapes and such.

I would just suggest that people be careful with this idea you suggest. Moving company data to a non company controlled gmail account would be a termination offence in many organizations. Especially companies that have compliance officers.

Obviously I'm a big fan of Notes. I company relies on it. It's a competitive advantage for our sales group.

Obvously the could can not be ignored - but moving everything to the cloud is not without risks. The better approach is to combine "on premise" and cloud together.

Gmail is VERY LACKING as an enterprise email service.
Say you move your organinzation to GMail. And it's bigger then 500 people. Now the CEO tries to email everyone about a "company picnic" or whatever. Gmail will label him a spammer and lock his email account.
Good luck going to Google for help.

Notes isn't perfect by any stretch. But I know the severs and clients run on the OS of choice. I know I can replicate my data locally and have it with me and to other servers for high availability/disaster recovery. I know that custom apps we wrote 15 years ago, while ugly, still work today because of Notes's promise of backward compatibility. So basically I know our investment in the technology is sound.

What will you do when Google makes a change that you don't like?

tom said...

can you send email from a gmail account through the lotus notes/domino server? whe i send from my gmail account to another person on my network they never get it because it's labeled as spam for some reason (we don't have active spam folders on our notes account).

Foo said...

Lotus Notes is crap!

Gri1er1son said...

Great! Thanks!
I need to move my personal emails from Lotus Notes to Gmail. Your method works!
Is there anyway to show in Gmail the original date of each email (not the date of the transfer?) (someone else asked the same question but I didn't see any answer)


Star5creamer said...

It's a great way of copying over personal e-mail into a users Gmail account if they are leaving the company.

Khenho79 said...

I also receive the error: "Error logging into server Remote system no longer responding" with and without connecting to the company server? Any suggestions? :(

Doro said...


Akbari said...

It helped a lot! Thanks for sharing your information.

Larry Prevost said...

My pleasure. As you can guess, we migrated from Lotus Notes to Google Apps a while back. Since then, we've had no real problems. There have been a few times when Gmail was inaccessible, but we faced the same challenge with Lotus Notes. However, we did gain some sales and marketing benefits in the change. What was your reason for transitioning to Gmail?


Francois Finchelstein said...

TK for information BUT is it possible to make teh same with yahoo instead of gmail ?????

Larry Prevost said...

Francois, I think it is, but to make it work you need the paid version of yahoo mail before you gain access to the pop/imap features. There are limits to what you can do with the free version. I've never had much use for Yahoo email accounts except as disposable email addresses.

Is this something that you use extensively?

Josti said...

Thank you my friend. It got what I wanted. 
Regards from The Netherlands

steve said...

Excellent, Now I can ditch Googles exscuse for an email system and use my trusted Lotus Notes for interacting with emails sent to my Gmail account.

Why do I use Lotus Notes?
I have a need for secure, reliable document storage and management, online/offline, from any of my devices, PC Web, PDA, Phone.

I used to hate Lotus Notes, but it does everything perfectly. Now after collegues and friends have lost emails due to virus attacks or malicous scripts, I am even more happy that I have Lotus and will keep using it.

Larry Prevost said...

Thanks for your input Steve.

I think the majority of people are pretty agnostic when it comes to an email client. They typically go with what works for them. Many of them simply want the option to use the client of their choice without being locked in. They want their data, or in this case, their email.

So if you are having good luck with Lotus Notes, keep moving forward with it. It's a solid system and it's good at what it does, just like Gmail. And I'm sure that Lotus Notes has numerous supporters as well as detractors, just like Gmail.

The important thing here is to find a system that you are happy with and works for you. So if this post helped you achieve that, then it has done its job.

DasdAS said...

GMAIL is lacking functionalities but your comments sucked!  We appreciate this post as my company decided to go with Google Enterprise app mail.

Modak Nishant said...

Works. Awesome trick! Helped me a lot . Thanks a gain for sharing.

Phaser said...

thanks, but have run into an issue.. plz help!..  I set up and IMAP server locally to upload the archived mails using the Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V.. but I now find only the text mails are seen in the IMAP client.. the attachments are just icons and empty files..

how do I get the attachments to also upload to the IMAP server? is it a fault in upload procedure or in the Mercury IMAP server confiuguration?

thanks in advance..

Gianfranco Campana said...

Perfect and incredibly useful post, really thanks!!
But the problem about showing in Gmail the original date of each email (not the date of the transfer as this method apply is blocking... cause I miss the feature of date serach in Gmail ). Any idea about this?

Maricar Gomez said...

This are totally a very helpful information and ideas..

email archiving hardware

Anonymous said...

Worked great. Had to copy and paste 30 or so emails at a time. Would not copy whole folders, but all in all worked great !


Bill Esposito said...

Worked Great.
Only problem was woudl not copy the whole folder. I had to copy 30 or so at a time, ctrl c,v.
Other than that, attachemnts and everything went !

anvs said...


I thought that you might be interested to know that our company recently released Awesync.Mail - a tool for synchronization of Lotus Notes mail with Gmail. You can read more about this tool and download a fully functional trial version here:

Angela Samsonova said...

To sync your mail and contacts with Google, try Awesync.Mail -