Lotus Notes Type-ahead vs Outlook Auto name checking

Another showdown in features between Notes and Outlook.

This time around it’s the auto completion of email recipients when composing an email. During our testing and planning before the migration to Outlook, I thought this feature was a minor issue not worth documenting about. Not until we started to get feed-back from our test groups regarding this matter that we took noticed.

Lotus Notes Type-ahead

Here’s how we implement the type-ahead. Two local databases namely First Name and Last Name which are set to replicate with the server replicas periodically.

Each Notes clients (version 6.5.5) have the following Preferences set:

Lotus Notes Local address books setting

The Local address book filed is pointing to the names.nsf (so contacts in the personal address book also appear in the type-ahead) and the two local directories i.e. First Name.nsf and Last Name.nsf

On the Connection and Location document settings here’s what we have:

Lotus Notes Location Document type-ahead settings

We set Recipient name type-ahead to: Local Only

And Activate recipient name type-ahead to: On Each Character

The result everytime a character is typed in the To file of a new memo it tries to resolve for an address:

Lotus Notes type-ahead

This process is very quick and instantly returns a recipient. In this configuration it allows users out of the office to still have the type ahead functionality since the names.nsf and address book are locally replicated.

Outlook – Automatic name checking

Microsoft’s implementation is slightly different. There’s only one setting to check. While in Outlook ensure that the Automatic name checking is enabled from Tools->Options->Email Options->Advanced Email Options

Outlook Automatic name Checking

When typing in the To field of a message Outlook doesn’t resolve the name of the recipient immediately.

There are two ways to get the address. Firstly let Outlook takes its time and it will eventually resolve the name. Or click on the Check Name button and it will attempt to resolve the name from the Global Address List (GAL).

Outlook Check names button

For users working remotely Outlook uses a downloaded copy of the GAL. Outlook automatically downloads a local copy of the GAL when connected to the Exchange server. This is done either when connected to the corporate network or remotely authenticated.

Outlook Address Cache

An addition to the GAL implementation, Outlook saves the addresses you’ve sent emails to in a file called *.NK2. This file is located under C:Documents and Settings<username>Application DataMicrosoftOutlook. The cache file of email addresses is different for every user since each users email different people in the business or have different set of contacts. So next time a user sends an email to the same recipient, the email address should appear in the drop down list in To: field of the message as per below:

Outlook cache email addresses. NK2 file

This is a very handy feature but still not as great as the Lotus Notes implementation.

Plus as mentioned *.NK2 file is only a cache file. It could get corrupted or deleted. Bringing you back to square one.

This minor change in functionality forced us to document and educate our users. It took awhile before our users where used to the Outlook auto naming concept concept.

Related posts:

  1. How to force Outlook to auto resolve a name from the GAL
  2. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: How to Transfer Lotus Notes Contacts to Outlook
  3. How to set Outlook to auto resolve from the GAL before the Outlook Address Book
  4. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: How to send Lotus Notes Database links from Outlook – Part I
  5. Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange Migration: A look at Lotus Notes Links in Outlook 2003 – Part II


  • 1
    June 2, 2009 - 10:04 pm | Permalink

    great help. thank you for posting how the lotus notes type-ahead requirements to work, i was searching high and low for quick and simple info :)

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>