Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: How to send Lotus Notes Database links from Outlook – Part I

Having migrated from a Domino mail to Exchange mail is a massive change not just for us admin guys but also for our users. Lotus Notes was used not just for our email/calendar/contacts but also for our business workflows such as leave management, room booking system, discussion boards and many other admin related processes. We have countless databases that houses information that are still used day-to-day by our users.

One problem that arised with the move to Outlook is the users’ inability to email Lotus Notes database or documents links from Outlook.

In Lotus Notes, when making a reference to a document or a database it was easy to just email the link it.

This is done by:

Right clicking on the database and selecting Database->Copy as link

lotus notes database link


Right clicking on the document inside the database and selecting Copy as Document linklotus notes document linkTo email the link from Lotus Notes it’s as simple as right clicking on the body of the message and selecting paste. A document or database link is automatically created by the Lotus Notes client:lotus notes memo with document links

Now performing the same steps will not yield the same result when pasting the link in an Outlook email:

outlook email with document link in text

In fact pasting the link in the body of an Outlook email will only produce the XML text of the link.

The format of a Notes link to a database looks like this:

lotus notes  doc_link_notepad

And like this for a Notes document on a database:

lotus notes db_link_notepad

To create a Notes link to send from Outlook you must follow these steps:

Step 1: Right click on the database and select Database->Copy as link to link a Notes database or Right click on the document inside the database and select Copy as Document link to link a document.

Step 2: Open Notepad. Start->Run->Notepad

Step 3: Click on Edit->Paste

lotus notes db_link_notepad

Step 4: Click on File ->Save and ensure the file being saved has an “.NDL” extension

lotus notes document link for Outlook

Step 5: Attach the file to your Outlook email

lotus notes database link_ndl in windows explorer

Important note: Obviously the recipient of the link must have the appropriate access to the database or document. It they don’t they will not be able to open the file it’s linked to.

Where to from here? Obviously performing the steps above is abit tedious. Automating this process would be a better way to go.

This is something I’ll be working on and hopefully could share here.

Related posts:

  1. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: Lotus Notes Document Link Creator for Outlook
  2. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: A look at Lotus Notes Links in Outlook 2007
  3. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: A look at Lotus Notes Links in Outlook 2003 – Part II
  4. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: Access Lotus Notes Links in Outlook 2003 – Part I
  5. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: How to Transfer Lotus Notes Contacts to Outlook


  • 1
    March 6, 2008 - 12:46 am | Permalink

    I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    - Sue.

  • 2
    April 21, 2008 - 11:31 pm | Permalink


    Thank you for positive response.

    Certainly will be trying to post articles that are of interest to readers…

  • 3
    October 5, 2009 - 9:31 am | Permalink

    The way that I was shown how to do this is a little simpler (IMHO):

    1. Open the database in Notes
    2. Ensure the “Address” toolbar is showing (right-click on any toolbar for a list of available toolbars – or go through File >> Preferences >> Toolbar Preferences >> Toolbar)
    3. The Address bar will be blank but if you click the drop-down arrow and then click away, it will become populated with the URL to the database.
    4. Highlight and copy the URL (Ctrl+C)
    5. In the body of an Outlook message, open the Insert Hyperlink dialog(Select Insert >> Hyperlink or press Ctrl+K)
    6. Paste the URL into the “Address” field (Ctrl+V)
    7. Set the “Text to display” field as required.

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