Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Friday, September 8th, 2006
Why are people so passionate about their e-mail platform of choice? And, if they had the choice - as opposed to Management/IT choosing for them what would they choose, and why?

I can see it now...  I'm MS Outlook and I'm Lotus Notes...  I'm not trying to start another Mac vs PC type battle, but I am interested to know what people prefer and why.

Rod Boothby's asking three questions about preferences in e-mail tools, specifically, Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook.
  • Do you use Notes? If so, how do you like (or hate) it?
  • Do you use Outlook? If so, same love/hate question.
  • If you got to choose, what would you have your company use? Notes? Outlook? Web mail?
One commenter on Rod's blog, Gary Petersen, had this to say:
I've used both. From the perspective of email, I'm somewhat split as both clients work well. Lotus Notes has a clear strength, however, in its use of message databases that can easily be programmed to build in workflow tasks, like routing a document for approval and revision control. I much prefer it for that reason.

This is in stark contrast to last night's podcast in which I shared that my Union Bank CSR told me that she hates Lotus Notes. (However, she did tell me that she prefers MS Word. That's like saying "I don't need an adding machine, I have a typewriter.") But I digress.

It's no secret that Lotus Notes is my preferred e-mail client. Not because it's the prettiest e-mail client - I think Outlook has some great views - but because it is flexible and can be readily adapted to my GTD work style. I really like the way that the Notes client easily integrates with all of my Notes databases and personal knowledge management repositories. In fact,many years ago, I chose to build my eProductivity suite using Lotus Notes in order to tap the power of Lotus Notes as a tool for getting things done.

You may have a different opinion/experience, and I hope you'll share it here.

Be sure to visit Rod's innovation Creators blog to answer his questions and view the results.

via. Marc Orchant

Discussion/Comments (65):

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I've used Notes for a long time and I really like the replication and database capabilities. That said, I recently jumped at the chance to change over to Outlook 2003 when I found out it was possible. Why? I think the biggest reason is that I work at a remote design center where about 40 engineers share a T1 link and the Notes server is located at our main office 1000 miles away. The latency made Notes the application I loved to hate. Since Outlook is a little more independent (via IMAP) it seems to run faster. Sending mail is instant (unless I have to do an address lookup) since it goes in the background. Notes just locks up for the duration (which can be a while when sending a 1MB+ file). Our Notes client was v4.5 so Outlook offers a lot more functionality (drag email to calendar or task list), multiple message flags, sync with my phone for no extra cost, integration with OneNote on my tablet, multiple window interface and I don't have to convince my manager to pay for a designer license and learn how Notes works internally to customize the views. Perhaps the latest version of Notes addresses some of these (and other) issues but I'll never try it since our entire company is switching to Outlook this year.

Posted at 09/09/2006 20:40:52 by Mark

Lotus Notes 4.5 vs Outlook 2003. Not apples & apples.


Notes 4.5! Wow. Although it runs well, I've not come across that version in production in many years. Indeed, background services are more limited in that very old version. I have many clients that work remotely from their Notes servers over very slow links. In these instances, I advise them to select "On LOCAL" for their databases. This way, they do not notice any delay and replications can happen in the background. I agree that IBM has a missed opportunity buy not providing a designer-lite client as part of Notes to encourage more folks to explore the power of Notes. Notes 7.x is definitely worth a look. Many features have been added since the 4.x days. The next time I hear someone complain about Notes in comparison to another product (e.g. Outlook) , I'll remember to ask what version. Even MS Outlook 2000 is substantially different from the current Outlook offerings.

Posted at 09/09/2006 20:55:01 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I used Lotus Notes for several years when I started at Accenture in the late 90s. It was a welcome relief when we switched to Outlook in 2003. For me Outlook just works better. Easier interface, easier syncing with mobile devices, more widely used. Maybe I'm missing something, but I have a hard time understanding how Notes survives; even the newer versions still have a clunky interface, complicated menus, and just can't do certain things. For example - ever tried to forward a meeting invitation from someone else to someone you want include in the meeting (a common occurence in Outlook) - can't be done in Notes. Just ask them to add it manually and hope the time doesn't change. As for databases, I don't get the advantage. It was great when we finally migrated all of our thousands of Notes knowledgebases onto an intranet. Who wants to search through databases then go through the process of adding it to your workspace, replicating it, etc. Much easier to use a browser.

Well, I thought I had left all that behind - Imagine my horror when I changed jobs earlier this year only to find my new company uses Notes v6. Not only did I have to go back all the inconveniences of Notes, but I suddenly lost the ability to wirelessly sync my email and calendar on my Treo to an Exchange server. Long story short, I've gone back to Outlook/Exchange on my own. After much searching, I found a low cost Exchange server solution where I forward my email from Notes. I put up with a minor amount of dual calendar maintenance. At least I can work primarily in Outlook and get mail on my Treo.

Maybe I'm missing something with Notes. I love David Allen and GTD; but Notes is one thing I can't agree with him on (has he never seen Outlook? ;) On that topic though, I find it odd that David and company use Notes, but there's no Notes add-in similar to the Outlook product. I don't find the Outlook add-in necessary. It's Notes users that could really benefit - Eric - I've read about your Notes template - any plans to market it to individuals?

Posted at 09/21/2006 6:29:12 by Alan

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook ( Mobile Sync )

Well about all lotus notes, actually its really sucks when you are very used to MS Outlook.

Like you Alan i have a problem as same as yours, but i have a solution to sync your mobile device without an extra cost.

All you need to have is an License Version of MS Outlook 2002 or 2003, ( Because it doesnt work on MS 2000 )

And then the dreaded Lotus Notes Client.

Must have an ID file or you have to be a client user first.

find on microsoft website.or on google.

go find Outlook connector for Domino Servers.

Its a genuwine download so your copy must be a licensed one.

Whoa after that , What a relief...

but you've always have to compact your mailfile using your lotus notes client.

Right now im using MS Outlook 2003 while im connected to a Domino server, Mobile device is all sync, i only use my lotus notes client when i need to use an Instant Messenger,

but theres already a goodnews for us outlook users that needs to access IM without going to Lotus Notes Client.

Outlook Users Can Access Lotus IM With New TeamMessenger 2.0. But its not for free.

try to find it on google and see for your self, it has 15 day trial version.

Good Luck ! Mabuhay Pilipinas ! NOYPI ASTIG.

Posted at 09/30/2006 0:23:13 by Marc Rolan Manansala

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Do NOT compare apples with oranges. If you want only mail (calendaring and contacts), then go for Outlook. If you want document management, workflow and quite complicated stuff, then ... have a look at Lotus/Domino.

btw, this comparison you're making should be done between Lotus/Domino and Sharepoint, though I'm not quite sure what it takes for an enterprise to have mail (Exchange servers) AND Sharepoint, just to be able to start comparing with Domino on all functionalities.

As for 4.5 Lotus comparing with Outlook 2003 ... LOL. No wonder Lotus is being seen as bad messaging client by users. Here's why:

Microsoft's strategy is to demand new hardware when software is upgraded (see the Exchange 5.5 vs Exchange 2000/Active Directory, and recently Exchange 2003). IBM does not require new hardware. Your old linux machine can run an old Lotus 4.5 server for decades. Upgrading to Domino 6/7 can be done on the same old hardware. So, admins and IT management prefers to let it run as they are, no upgrading no nothing, since it does not require new hardware. It only requires human resources (planning, learning) and nothing else.

What that fellow experienced switching from Lotus 4.5 to Outlook 2003 is not his fault, it's the fault of his enterprise, not being "forced" to purchase new hardware in order to run Domino 5, 6 and the later 7.



Posted at 09/30/2006 2:34:09 by Radu Cadariu

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I have time to surf on the net and write comments because I am trying to have this famous replication to work...

I had to switch to Lotus Notes 3 years ago as it is the standard in my new company. Without any a priori because I never heard about LN before.

Sorry to say that I immediatly regretted Outlook. LN is probably very powerful but for a normal engineer who only wants to read emails in diferent places and exchange documents it's a nightmare!!!

I am seriously thinking in redirecting emails and using a "normal" email software.

We are using LN 6.5 with a Nokia VPN link.

First of all, the menus are incredibly unfriendly, I never remember how to do simple thinks, the magic "click-right" is useless. The last very bad surprise is that I am now working in a diferent country with a bad internet access. Working directly with server is so slow... The replication is almost impossible.

I have been told that my box is full so I am now trying to delete big files attached to emails. I did it locally but they came back after synchronisation!!! Horrified, I discovered that the username.nsf is a 300Mo file!!! How is it possible to handle such a big file efficiently?

I will, again, delete attached files, create a new replica when I will have a good connection at home.

Thank you for your initiative.

Posted at 11/17/2006 8:24:27 by Martin

re: Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Martin, sorry to hear of your challenges with Lotus Notes. Seems that folks have a love/hate perspective of the product. My experience is that the negative views of Notes most often come from people who have the unfortunate experience of:

A) working for a company that does not provide adequate training in how to use Notes for maximum efficiency, and/or

B) working for a company that imposes restrictions on the use of the system that destroy a user's trust (e.g. purging everything in the email DB after 90 days, including tasks and calendar)

Thanks for your comment. Eric

Posted at 11/20/2006 22:55:14 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

For sure, I would hate a car which I can't drive without an user manual:-) I think I never needed any training for using office tools. I'm not looking for sophisticated features, I just need a friendly email tool.

Finally, I solved my problem by creating a new replica, it took 4h at home. By the way, another irritating feature of LN: it’s quite often frozen, empty window, when downloading or playing with replica. Never saw that with

Outlook (and I’m not a fan of MS).


Posted at 11/21/2006 9:32:46 by Martin

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

My organisation has just converted from Notes 5 to Outlook. My desktop was refreshed a week ago.

Notes mail is fully functional, and does just about everything you need. It's easy to use, but has some of the strangest UI quirks of any product I've ever used. It was an old version, but I think newer ones are similar.

In the main I prefer Outlook mail, but to my surprise there's a couple of small useability things that are better in Notes.

The big issue for us is NOTES APPLICATIONS. We have a gazillion, and Outlook on its own cannot replace this functionality.

Ergo we also acquired MS Sharepoint. In our situation there is no way you could consider moving to Outlook without the means to build those little office workflow applications that are so easy in Notes.

We're not very far in at this stage, so I don't know how this decision will bite.

Posted at 11/21/2006 13:53:08 by RodT

re: Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Rod, I agree that the Notes UI has some quirks. Like you, my clients and I see the tremendous power that Notes offers with Notes Applications. In the past 20 years, I've yet to find an app that can match this functionality. (For non-Notes users who may be reading, I know this is hard to believe; you have to see it...) Even with the quirks in the Notes UI, I still find Notes more efficient for me. Of course, since Notes can be easily customized, I can add anything I want, which is how I came to create my eProductivity Template for Lotus Notes several years ago. (http://www.eproductivity.com) this grew out of my work with several clients who wanted to implement GTD in Lotus Notes.

Best of success to you!

Posted at 11/21/2006 14:32:01 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I have worked with Lotus Notes for almost 2 years now and still think it is arcaic compared to Outlook. I have gotten over the "learning curve", but the thing is why is there a learning curve? Why do people put up with it?

The argument that it provides a great overall environment for collaboration/workflow/complicated tasks is ridiculous. It feels like trying to hack a Nintendo Entertainment System to do professional work. It can do it but the results are never polished, streamlined or intuitive.

I think Lotus Notes is something that appeals to people that like to work in one piece of software. That is an arcaic way of working nowadays. You should use an email client for email, and other professional tools for the tasks they are designed for. The results will be far superior. And you will actually be able to share your work with others who aren't stuck in your own personal insane working environment!

Posted at 12/06/2006 15:05:22 by Tim Berman

re: Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I suppose it's all a matter of perspective, Tim.

Either way, I thank you for your comments, which are welcome.


Posted at 12/07/2006 14:27:27 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I've used both Notes and Outlook (and MCI Mail and Vax Mail and PROFS and a few others over the years....)

I must admit I haven't found the best mail client for myself. I use Yahoo Mail and Gmail, but the former's UI is aging (I don't like the beta Yahoo Mail) and I don't get the tagging in the latter. Ah me.

Outlook was a tremendously powerful product that, if you worked in a Msft shop, made the connections between UI and OS pretty seamless, which was welcome. But Outlook had *so many* options that I loved David Allens' guide to dumbing down the interface.

Notes doesn't have the bewildering options of Outlook but it tends to be an enterprise solution and, at least in the places I've worked (4 so far) that used Notes, they've all locked the UI down so I can't create custom views of my email or alter the views I am allowed to use. I'd love to create a custom view so I could see all emails from a specific person, but no can do. They've also turned off indexing on our mail files, perhaps for good reason, but there goes any type of flexible searching.

Notes users are at the mercy of their administrators.

I loved Outlook's threaded conversation view that could be applied to folders. I can't do that in Notes and it's damn annoying. All I have is a view of threaded mails for **all the mails in my nsf file**, which is not helpful at all. That email thread from last year is down there, somewhere.

I still get confused about whether I'm in a view or a document and what commands or buttons are enabled. (I always have to remember that email for Notes is a database application, not a true and flexible email client like Eudora or Thunderbird.)

Why have a magnifying glass *and* binoculars next to each other on the toolbar? I always click the wrong one.

Both clients have problems with mail files that grow too large. I can only do a single-level search, nothing too sophisticated in Notes, so I tend to use brute force searching when I need to find something (or maybe it's in my archive file -- so now I have 2 places I need to search for stuff).

The last company I was at did try to use Notes databases for projects, shared documents, etc. which lent a little more order than the shared folders of the Msft shop. Shared folders did get real messy. But then, so did the Notes databases after a while; and in an international company, how do you know where to locate a database that might have information you need? And then you need to find the database's owner and get access to it...Oy.

I was at Glaxo (Outlook) when it was taken over by SmithKline (Notes), and Notes was imposed with howls of pain and disgust on the Glaxo folks. We hated it mainly because we had finally figured out how to get Outlook to do (or not do) what we wanted. It was comfortable. Then with Notes we were on track for another years-long slog of learning a new essential app. Most people just stuck with the basics, and Notes is probably OK for that. But I never saw what I considered to be sophisticated usage of Notes by the rank and file.

At my current job, also a Notes shop, I've startled people by creating some document databases, including links to those documents in emails, and doing very basic stuff I learned from my time at Glaxo that's proven to be useful here. But I still am restricted by the Notes administrators so I can't customize the database the way I think it would work best. And Notes is really seen only as an email client by the rank and file, who still send out dozens of emails instead of clustering their messages around a single database. There's no sense of a document flow.

That's not Notes' fault, of course, but, for whatever reason, Notes doesn't inspire ideas in people. They see a mail client, a decent calendar, a to do list that I've never known anyone to use, a journal that I only started using based on David Allen's Notes guide but that I have to consciously remember that I have, and so on.

Sorry for the long post. Short answer: they're both complicated and it depends on what you imprinted on first, probably, and what makes sense to you. I actually used Notes back in the mid-90s, but no one at Ziff-Davis really liked using it. I used Outlook for the first time a few years later and it made a little more sense to me (maybe its resemblance to the other Office products made it feel more familiar).

Outlook, as administered when I used it, was so wide open and customizable I felt like I was dropped in a big field and had to find my way out on my own. with Notes, I feel like I'm in a very confined room where I can barely stand up straight and, if I hold my breath, I can turn around.

Neither option is much fun; email clients are necessary evils.

Posted at 12/08/2006 20:40:49 by Mike Brown

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I too used Notes for two years and went to several developer classes as we were challenged with design of a internal Intranet. My previous company was a total Microsoft shop so the change was painful to say the least. Notes appears to be an acceptable tool for email, but lacks from a developers perspective. Trying to design WEB applications using Domino compared to Visual Studio.net ... well that should suffice.

We have issues with the Microsoft family of products as anyone who really uses them does, but we had limitations with the Lotus products where we reached a ceiling and could do nothing about it. Java had to be written in the middle tier, the database had to be full text index for searches, Active X controls could not be used, Javascript only was the page language.

Nothing is perfect in this life and notes has it's place, but I prefer to use Outlook and SQL Server as it seems to meet the needs we currently embrace.

Posted at 02/14/2007 13:29:46 by Bill Birt Sr.

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I hate Lotus, I am a mobile user, never using the local network and even I have correctly setup my "strategies" (local, modem, ...), Lotus is not user friendly.

Last time, I had a crash of my computer while Lotus was running, it destroyed my local database, ok right, I though it was easy to re-replicate the whole thing. Not at all, impossible, everything changed, now, the email I send are not anymore in my sent items!!!

People can say whatever they want, that this is not a mail program at first place, it is still doesn't do such an easy job as being a mail client, I even don't know how many people are using Lotus Notes for something else than Emails, not the majority I think.

Anyway, I found out the Outlook connector trick and I am very happy with it.

Now I am putting pressure to get rid off Lotus, too much ofa s... Sorry for the lovers, but all my colleagues have the same feeling!

Posted at 05/31/2007 20:44:12 by jo

re: Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Thanks for your comment, Jo. I'm curious to know what kind of training and support your company provided to you in how to get the most from your technology. Many companies mistakenly assume that their employees will "figure" things out only to discover that they never realize the full potential of the investment. I've found that this holds true, regardless of what software is ultimately selected.

Posted at 06/21/2007 14:25:31 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I propose a list of side by side features/quirks comparison (of latest version of both).

I would like to start with:

Lotus Notes Email Rules vs. MS Outlook Email Rules (winner MS Outlook)


LN rules only applies to new incoming emails, you cannot retro-apply to old emails unless you write an agent.

MS rules can do that via UI.

Plus MS outlook has more "email rules" features such as color coding.

Posted at 07/17/2007 0:00:17 by Jon

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I've used varous versions of Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook over the years. They both have the same basic email capabilities. Both can be used with BlackBerry handhelds for wireless email delivery. Both require company's to purchase and support BlackBerry Enterprise servers.

Overall, I've found their email and calendar capabilities to be very similar. Both Notes and Outlook have to synchronize a user's client with a server. IBM calls it replicating, and Microsoft calls it syncing (they even have an "ActiveSync" product now".

I really miss Lotus Notes becuase of the added benefits that the non email databases provide. I was able to setup forms for my department to use. The forms had built in security, automation, and everything I could possibly imagine! I was able to create, manage, and distribute data in a logical, automated way using Notes with no development training. My IT manager gave me Domino Designer and I figured it out. Lotus Notes "agents" were the best!

Some very limited automation can be done with Outlook, but you'll need to be a developer, capable of putting together complicated VBA scripts. And believe me, I've tried (and failed).

If I can go back to Notes, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Email aside, it'll make my group much more efficient.

Oh...and any database that's created via Notes can be accessed via the Internet.

Posted at 07/20/2007 15:10:35 by Keith Harrison

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Sorry Notes 7.x People....I hate it. I've worked with Outlook for many years and a year ago I took a new job at a place where they use Notes. I thought it would just take time getting use to it. Nope. It's a year later and overall I'm less efficient as an employee. It has continuing issues and is less intuitive than Outlook. If I worked as well as Notes, I would be fired. I absolutely hate it.

Posted at 07/26/2007 5:37:26 by Andrew Kristoff

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Lotus Notes is absolutely the biggest pile of steaming crap ever made. It is worthless in helping you to organize, message, access, plan, or anything else that you need to do with a mail client. yes, a mail client- not an overbloated mail client/database access portal/document management which by the way it does extremely poorly at all of these. Lotus (piece of crap) Notes is non-intuitive, glob of unorganized offal. I spend most of my time working around Lotus Notes extreme shortcomings. Its time for IBM and all you lotus notes users to admit that outlook and exchange are it. Either lotus notes needs a recreation or scrapped for something else...

Posted at 08/01/2007 7:17:26 by Tom Ulcak

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

IBM could have fixed notes client years ago but I am on version 8 beta and it is a crock compared to outlook via connector.

They need to rethink their whole way of working. Why is every email client in the world other than notes working the same way.

Why after sending an email and then thinking I want to add you to my address book you can only add the sender (yourself). Why call it a memo? Why differentiate between appointments and meetings so you have to create a new one and cut and paste the details because you decide to invite someone? Why can't it use the real estate better? I see twice as much emails and twice as much detail of each in outlook and how many people have more than one email and would like to drag and drop between folders? this is too hard in a totally crap UI that has not changed in donkeys.

Posted at 08/01/2007 18:43:28 by James Dawson

Lotus Notes Email 6,5 Vs. Microsoft Outlook 2003

Here are some time wasters in the Lotus Notes client (not exhaustive by any means). Many of these suggest additional training requirements reducing overall productivity.

• Terms and look and feel different to almost all other email clients. Example “new memo” is a new message. In fact look and feel different to other applications in general, the application does not comply with Microsoft GUI standards or IBM CUA standards.

• Address book access inconsistent - first name in “To” field but surname only in address book search.

• “Actions… Synchronise Address Book” menu item only available when you ARE NOT in the address book.. huh?

• In default installation, cannot sort by subject

• Sent items does not reflect actually sent (noticeable in home use with slower connections) whereas outbox and sent items in outlook reflects reality

• Very few “right click” menus available.

• Lose email address of internet email accounts sometimes in forwarded or replied email.

• File open dialogue does not have standard windows options (recent documents, desktop, my documents etc).

• Double click on attachments leaves dialog box still open after closing the attachment more mouse navigation and clicking required.

• No horizontal scroll bar in folder list makes user constantly resize preview window to find nested folders.

• A open email has a delete button but if you press it a message tells you that you cannot delete the item because it is open???

• Default email replies include any attachments back to originator, wasting mail box space and causing confusion. All other email programs drop the attachment by default.

• Can only press “To” button so cc or bcc cannot be double clicked within address book

• “Reply to all” does not maintain email recipient relationships in terms of who was sent, copied or blind copied

• Right click on email address does not add user to address book, this only available in tools. If you manually send an email to someone and then want to add them to address book later you end up adding yourself as “add sender” is only option.

• Sharing option a one way street when creating new folders.

• Notes defaults on forward and replies attaches documents wasting space/bandwidth unless user specifies.

• Use of RTF when the rest of the world is on HTML can make editing annoying and care is required where the current position of the cursor lies. When attachments are involved and attachments hard to find from non notes users since they all end up down the very bottom of the email.

• Open or save as dialogue box is not standard windows (missing recent documents etc icons) and although remembers path does not remember view setting.

• Meeting/appointment over several days (eg going on holiday or overseas) requires making all day appointment with daily repeats because you cannot exceed 24 hours..

• Make an appointment and then decide to invite people (aka meeting) and you cannot. Must create meeting and hand cut and paste all the details.

• Recurring tasks appear as hundreds of separate tasks creating clutter.

• Notes webmail calls “message” a message but notes calls it a memo and there are many other differences.

• Notes client fiddly – easy to accidentally delete things due to multiple views of same data – eg delete accepted meeting invitation deletes the calendar entry too depending on defaults. Users have to understand differences between “remove” and “delete”.

• Preview pane same size for all folders, open emails etc within mainframe limiting number of concurrent activities and impossible to drag and drop across emails.

• Calendar in week view once it has a few entries leaves no white space to create a new meeting

• Should be a law to reply with text history – reply default without history is like replying to an sms on a mobile - you never know what it is about

• If you delete mail and then go into trash you cannot use mail until restored – time waster.

• If you send a mail and then wish to send to others from the sent items folder you must move a view into inbox first to get the reply to all button up to get the email addresses

• Outlook has better indication an email is signed and encrypted. Notes not so obvious and can only make default for non-notes (Internet) recipients.

• User modifications are often lost when templates are routinely replaced by the server in default install.

• No drag and drop between email accounts and multiple email account features badly supported

• Instant messaging – “same time” crude versus most popular and user friendly “messenger” in Microsoft products

• Exporting email is very limited – text and Lotus 123 (how topical). There are no separate email files (.eml), no Outlook personal folders (.pst), no nothing. Unless third-party tools are purchased.

• Default reply omits the original message altogether (like an SMS, receiver is totally lost). You must press "Reply With History" and if you want to reply to everybody then an additional Reply To All button in the new window with the same history problems and options.

• GUI conventions – are intended to provide a consistent look and feel across applications and Lotus Notes does not comply with many conventions used in other products. For example:

o Notes has a tabbed MDI environment: to use multiple "windows" open on separate tabs as opposed to separate windows making dragging and dropping attachments a breee.

o Instead of putting help in the status bar they use the title bar of the window itself.

o Selecting multiple emails at a time is possible, but not with ctrl (single select) and shift (multiselect) as is used in windows explorer, any other email program or any program with a list including list boxes etc. Dragging in the list to select multiple emails also does not work.

o The calendar does nothing when scrolling with a wheel mouse: instead of moving to another month (or something else that makes sense)

o The menus do not always work the same way as in word, excel, etc. For example: if you'd ever want to mark an item as unread, it is not in the context menu. You have to go to the "Edit" menu, select "Unread Marks" and then "Mark Selected Unread"

o Moving items is possible but sent items cannot be moved, only copied. To copy and trash the original may delete both if you forget the remove option

o cannot send mail from the trash folder must restore it first

o search results are dumb because you dont know what sub-folder the found email is in

Posted at 08/01/2007 19:37:40 by James Dawson

Looks like the Notes 8 UI team still has lots of work to do...

Wow, James, that's quite a list. I appreciate that rather than simply slamming Notes, you provided concrete examples of what your user experience has like with Notes 6.5 compared to your experience using Notes with the connector for Outlook 2003. You've done a nice job of presenting your user experience in one place.
I've experienced many of these and often wondered "why did they do that." I eventually chalked it up to a rapidly growing product converging from many over the past 20+ years. Still one would hope that with each new release the UI designers would revisit the feature set to make things consistent. I only hope that Mary Beth Raven, designer of the new Notes 8 UI and the rest of the Notes design team reads my blog.
I want to test and think about a few of these; perhaps I'll make a post over on www.NotesOnProductivity.com to continue the discussion.
As I said, I've experienced some of these and noticed others and, while I may have thought there was a better way to do something, most never deterred me from using Notes. About once a year I ask myself if its time to start looking at another platform for my internal use. When I get past the sizzle of the interface or the Web 2.0 colors prevalent in so many products I get to the tool and ask: "Will [fill in the blank] help me get things done better than what I can already do using Lotus Notes?" So far, the answer's been no. I've found many products that do specific things much better than Notes does, but none that do all of the things better than Notes does. So, for me, at this time, I'll stick with Notes, warts and all.
James, I do hope that your comment on this thread reaches the eyes of someone at IBM who can make a difference before the next release of Notes (Version 8) repeats the mistakes of the past. That would be a missed opportunity. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, James.


Posted at 08/02/2007 0:43:54 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook


While I agree with many of the things you've said, here are a few differences I have.

- In default installation, cannot sort by subject

The default template in Notes 7 allows sorting by subject.

- "Reply to all" does not maintain email recipient relationships in terms of who was sent, copied or blind copied

When I Reply to all Notes adds the sender and anyone in the "to" field to the "to" field and those cc'd to the "cc" field. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?

- Make an appointment and then decide to invite people (aka meeting) and you cannot. Must create meeting and hand cut and paste all the details.

Just go to the Appointment heading, there is an arrow next to it. Click the arrow and you can change an appointment to a meeting without cut and paste of the details.

- If you send a mail and then wish to send to others from the sent items folder you must move a view into inbox first to get the reply to all button up to get the email addresses

You can forward the email to the other recipients or edit the email, add new recipients and send again.

- User modifications are often lost when templates are routinely replaced by the server in default install.

If you modify the mail template and don't want to loose your modifications, make sure you click the "Prohibit design refresh" check box.

- The calendar does nothing when scrolling with a wheel mouse: instead of moving to another month (or something else that makes sense)

The calendar moves when I use the thumb wheel on the mouse. Not sure why it isn't working for you.

- Tanny

Posted at 08/02/2007 15:10:25 by Tanny O'Haley

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Response to Tanny

The default template in Notes 7 allows sorting by subject. Mine does not, remember working off the server the server side instance must index all the time and have those indexes intact. This is not the case for me. I have 6.5 running on windoze, 7 running on an iMac and 8 running on windoze and linux and none sort by subject - this means press on the subject field and it sorts. Most other email clients (even open source) do this.

When I Reply to all Notes adds the sender and anyone in the "to" field to the "to" field and those cc'd to the "cc" field. Isn't that how it's supposed to work? - to clarify this problem does not always happen - sometimes a persons' name like "james dawson' is there as a piece of text only and not an email address.

Just go to the Appointment heading, there is an arrow next to it. Click the arrow and you can change an appointment to a meeting without cut and paste of the details - I don't have this arrow, how come?

- If you send a mail and then wish to send to others from the sent items folder you must move a view into inbox first to get the reply to all button up to get the email addresses

You can forward the email to the other recipients or edit the email, add new recipients and send again. YOU CAN BUT THE WHOLE POINT IS NOT TO PUT THEM ALL IN AGAIN - in outlook I often think of something later, go to my sent mail and press reply all and then delete my own name from the list and send. handy for those emails where you just typed in a dozen or more names and then thought of one small correct etc to your first note. I do this ALL the time.

- User modifications are often lost when templates are routinely replaced by the server in default install. If you modify the mail template and don't want to loose your modifications, make sure you click the "Prohibit design refresh" check box. This is very technical and part of the problem with notes. Thanks, I actually removed the template name altogether but your solution sounds better.

- The calendar does nothing when scrolling with a wheel mouse: instead of moving to another month (or something else that makes sense)

The calendar moves when I use the thumb wheel on the mouse. Not sure why it isn't working for you. EITHER AM I, nothing happens

- Tanny

Cheers and thanks. It does beg the question why IBM don't pick up some open source UI code from say mozilla thunderbird or buy some small email client company and put another tab or page for the calendar and there you have it.

Like the old Lotus 123 for windows (having double clicks and triple clicks for same thing in excel that was single and double click) with meaningless icons on buttons they just don't seem to know how to make a client consistent and user friendly.

Posted at 08/02/2007 23:19:34 by James Dawson

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook extra comments

I forgot to add the irony that MSOutlook webmail works on all browsers (including konqueror) and yet IBM webmail ONLY works on IE. Only difference is it is slightly prettier in IE but our notes webmail won't tolerate anything else but IE.

I realise IBM are intending to support Firefox but it seems an irony that MS product would be more browser agnostic. You would think it would be the other way around.

Posted at 08/02/2007 23:24:23 by James Dawson

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Hi James,

When the company was Lotus they did buy a small email company, cc:Mail. I think they had around four million users at that time. Despite Lotus' best efforts to kill cc:Mail it was like the B movies of the 1950's, it just wouldn't die. When I left Peloria Technology Corporation in 1998, I believe that there were around 14 million cc:Mail users.

Hate to sound like a broken record, but iNotes/DWA version 7 supports Firefox and if you have the latest patches, it supports IE 7 too.

Posted at 08/03/2007 16:16:02 by Tanny O'Haley

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Funny to read all these comment, and love/hate stories.

I have worked with Lotus Notes, since the first releases back in the early 90's and for a lot of years, I was "religious" about Lotus Notes vs Outlook, but now we are in the the middle of a process changing our email system, after the company I work for, have to regrup with other companies, all working for the Goverment here i Denmark.

There were about 20.000 endusers using Lotus Notes, and about 25.000 endusers using Outlook.

The funny thing about the administration part with the numbers mentioned above, is that with the Lotus Notes part, there is only 9 administrators for 6 organizations, but for the Outlook part there had to be 20 administrators, doing the exactly same job.

Looking at these numbers, you also have to look at the features, that the endusers are looking at, and the way they are used to handling a PC. Most of the endusers already have a PC at home, and therefore they already know the Microsoft part, and they are not interested in learning new facilities in f.ex. Lotus Notes, since this will just slow them down in their way of using a PC at the job. But the facts, that a lot of endusers don't worry about opening documents from unknown senders, there is more restriction builtin the Lotus Notes setup, which does not allow the users to receive these email's and therefore they don't get virus or spam, in the same numbers, as the coworkers who uses Outlook.

But when this is said, I gotta admit that some of the functions and layout in Lotus Notes, do have a lack vs Outlook, which in a lot af faclities is easier for the endusers, who doesn't need to ask the IT-department for creating of these, as they do in the Lotus Notes.

But no matter which system you will use, there will be positive and negative things, applications you miss/need, and other small parts that you used to have in the other system.

Getting to bottom line of this writing:

Endusers - Prefer Outlook

Administrators - Prefer Lotus Notes

and one thing for sure: enduser and administrators are often pretty much disagreeing, because endusers wants something that the administrators doesn't mean the endusers need/should have.....

At the moment being, I'm using Lotus Notes Rel. 6.5.x/7.X and Outlook, since I have to use and support both systems....

Have a nice day to all of you!!!

Best regards

/Ronny Povelsen

Posted at 08/09/2007 2:06:42 by Ronny Povelsen

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Interesting observations above.

I work in an environment that has many different email systems and depending upon what division you work for determines what you use.

I would qualify the above by saying here that exchange administrators prefer exchange and domino administrators prefer domino and most but not all end users prefer outlook for the familiarity reasons you list and all phones and pda's synch wheras it is limited with notes and outlook does have a slicker interface and way of working and provide more data and function on the precious screen real estate. The simple folder sharing concept is much easier and more powerful for them than this techo database stuff and clearly a notes techie guru could make it do amazing things.

On the security issue I would have to disagree. More than once I have been the only person on the floor who did not get a virus attachment because outlook protected me by not letting me open it. The notes client is very robust but attachments still appear and can be easily opened. We also found natively that notes did not understand spam tagging that outlook and all other email clients understood out of the box so applications had to be written just for notes users.

Maybe in the past outlook was a security problem but these days that is very much old news. On my imap accounts I have to use another email client sometimes to see some attachments because outlook shuts them off period.

The final word is the power of right click in outlook, you can do so many things and a simple click to share parts of folders and calendars etc (in fact you can share anything) is such a simple and powerful concept and that is what lots seem to love about it.

Posted at 08/14/2007 22:18:10 by James Dawson

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I cannot seem to leave this alone :-)

Ref the first note way above.....

One commenter on Rod's blog, Gary Petersen, had this to say:

I've used both. From the perspective of email, I'm somewhat split as both clients work well. Lotus Notes has a clear strength, however, in its use of message databases that can easily be programmed to build in workflow tasks, like routing a document for approval and revision control. I much prefer it for that reason.

>> notice you have to write a program to do it but with MS office and exchange it is just a menu item within word to send it to someone else for review or whatever and you set the workflow accordingly. I did this years ago on the first version of outlook and word and exchange.

This is in stark contrast to last night's podcast in which I shared that my Union Bank CSR told me that she hates Lotus Notes. (However, she did tell me that she prefers MS Word. That's like saying "I don't need an adding machine, I have a typewriter.") But I digress.

>> no it is not, like me she uses word for her email editor and that is a much nicer way of editing emails and far more familiar

Why does notes call an email a memo still?

Why is the new email button a file open icon?



It would be so easy to make it more familiar than other programs, like dump the space wasting extra tool bar on top of each email might be start

Posted at 08/16/2007 14:54:23 by James Dawson

re: Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I'm delighted to see the discussion about the Notes client; many of these points are ones I discuss with clients daily. I know that at least a few IBM team read this blog. Hopefully they will take some of this information back to the UI team to review. Meanwhile, just to keep up the competition for UI improvements, I hope that Microsoft's team reads this blog too, (they do) and they take this information back to their programmers as well. I have clients using both products and, as long as we have competition and open dialogue, we will all stand to benefit.

Posted at 08/16/2007 23:36:40 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

There are a couple of ways that I know of to use Outlook with Domino as the back end email system. Some have better success than others. You can use the Microsoft connector and Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook. This gives users the Outlook front end with Domino back end.

Posted at 08/17/2007 18:18:18 by Tanny O'Haley

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I have now worked in a myriad of environments, and as an instructor and Applications Specialist, have been in both Notes and Outlook shops repeatedly. I remember starting out on Notes 4.0. The line when 4.5 came out was, “Wait until 5.0, the interface will finally be awesome.” Then from 5.5 came the remark, “Oh yeah, the interface in 5.5 sucks, but 6.0 is gonna be great, exactly what Notes needs to take over the market.” The same song and dance went on from 6.5 to 7, and now with 8.0 on the horizon, we hear it all AGAIN. Nothing will change in the GUI. (Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me eight or more times, I’m just a Kool-Aid drinker) IBM and it’s people are the most stubborn and pig-headed programmers around. (Making Microsoft look user-friendly is quite a feat!) They never “listen” to customers, the GUI in Notes has always been and always will be unintuitive, cumbersome and annoying. (When I click to sort by date, of course I want the oldest email to be at the top…NOT!!)

And we have implemented Common Store at my current location and it is a nightmare beyond belief that has not worked right in the 1½ years it’s been deployed. IBM has come in to try and help us, and they have no idea what’s up, and no one has an idea of how to fix it now that attachments have been archived, but none of the emails have.

Thank you to James for outlining so many of my own complaints (and quite a few I hadn’t found.) Btw, in regards to changing an appointment to a meeting, I tried clicking the downward pointing triangle next to Appointment and it does allow me to change it to a meeting, but ONLY before I save it. Once saved, when it is reopened, it cannot be changed…more cutting and pasting. Also, a triangle pointing down usually means that something is expanded and clicking on it will collapse that “something” down, but not here. But when you are working with forwarded / replied to messages in Notes, the downward pointing triangle to the left of a forwarded / replied to message will collapse it…IBM can’t even stick to a consistent GUI. Oy!!

Alas, suffice it to say, I am not a Notes guy, though I have tried to see the good in it. And Outlook 2007 is even significantly better than 2003. I’ll take the Exchange/SharePoint/Web 2.0 solution any day.

(Hi Eric…hope all is going well for you and the family!)

Posted at 08/21/2007 13:29:19 by Paul Patané

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Addendum to my last post...

The scroll wheel issue in Notes Calendar is yet another example of inconsistency in the GUI. It scrolls through the Month mode, it scrolls in the Day mode, but ONLY through the current day, not continuing to the next day...huh?...why not? It scrolls in the Work Week views, but not in the Full Week views. Hmmm, maybe because it is not the 4th Thursday of the month following the third Wednesday that is causing it not to work (which makes as much or more sense than IBM's continual plodding to a beat different from the real world.)

Posted at 08/21/2007 14:45:31 by Paul Patané

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Hi People, nice chat...

It's possible compare Lotus Notes Bandwidth versus Outlook Bandwidth, only for mail?

It's the same thing or outlook it's heavier?

Posted at 08/24/2007 18:08:29 by Ivan Moraes

re: Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Hi Paul! Good to hear from you.

Sorry to hear of your nightmare with Lotus Notes. Thanks for your post on my blog, though. It seems that many things that uses complain about have fallen on deaf ears. That;'s a shame, especially when many of the fixes have been made by third part developers. I recently had a discussion with a Notes developer about the Notes 8 Mail client. I asked him "do you think I have anything to be afraid of with the R8 mail client?" His reply: "Nah, i's just a pig with make-up!" Fortunately, for me, that spells more opportunity. And, in my template, you can sort several ways, with more options to come...

Thanks for the post, Paul. I'll look for you at GBC.

Posted at 09/01/2007 23:06:38 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Hello all....

Lotus Notes is cool in me...it suitable for my work. Replication is nice...security is more reliable (unless I distribute my ID file to all of you..:D)

As for Outlook...I don`t like it...Hehehe! Sorry guys, it`s about the time there is people who hate Outlook. I don`t like it. It`s heavy, friendly? Yes...but for IT user like me...the more difficult to use...the more I like it. Notes is cool because we can create database, form, report, even application integrated into my mail with only Lotus Notes which connected to Domino server. Plus if we have a global IP, we can configure a remote setting so we can do as much as like in the office everywhere we want. New vesion of Notes has an iNotes also like Outlook Web Access. The weakness I got from Notes is that Notes do not have a recall mail facility, which Outlook have. But of course we can create it through agent (and some little programming of course...)


Posted at 10/11/2007 23:53:05 by Eric Nathan

re: Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Thanks, Eric, for your comments. It's refreshing to read some comments in favor of Notes, especially from a former Outlook user.
I've intentionally stayed out of most of the comments because I wanted to see where this would go. I have received many interesting comments and some really interesting emails. Some folks even wrote me to tell me that they thought I was doing a disservice to the Lotus Notes product by allowing this thread to continue. I never expected this thread to generate as much discussion as it did but I'm convinced that the best thing I can do is let it continue. Those that get Notes for what it does will see through the complaints. I should mention that some of the complaints made against Notes I find to be quite valid, but insufficient to get me to stop using a product that allows me to be so productive. Still, I hope that folks at IBM read this blog and this thread. If they chose to solve even some of the problems documented here we might find the comment thread changing from the typical "Lotus Notes sucks" rant to something more constructive. For all its greatness, there's always opportunity for improvement. I'm optimistic that we will see great things from Notes and IBM in 2008.

Posted at 10/12/2007 3:44:54 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Yes Eric, Lotus Notes 8 will answer this question and queries. I've been in the Lotus 8 launch in the Philippines and it's one superb realeases ever. It's a good thing you'll be coming to the Philippines. A lot of companies uses Notes only for emails and not for collaboration. They have been missing a lot.

See you at the conference Sir!



Posted at 10/14/2007 21:22:15 by Marlo Aguinaldo

re: Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Marlo, many companies use Notes for E-Mail only in the U.S., too. I suspect that's not just a problem limited to the U.S. and the Philippines. David Allen told us at a staff meeting that he's amazed at the number of Notes-based companies he walks into where the people have no idea that they can have journals, discussion databases, document libraries and more - all from File, Create, New...

What a wasted opportunity - to have one of the most powerful collaboration tools yet not be aware of what it could do for you. I think IBM needs to wake up and do more to promote Notes as a collaboration tool - again and make sure their customers understand that. At the same time, IT managers and knoweldge managers in organizations that use Notes need to make sure that their people get trained on how to make the most of this powerful product.

Posted at 10/14/2007 23:34:50 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

No question, I'll take Outlook any old day of the week over Notes. Notes is the Atari 2600 to Outlooks Nintendo Wii.

I switched jobs about a year ago; my new company uses Notes 6.5. I didn't think it was going to be much of an issue as I'm an intermediate-advanced user of most desktop applications, including email. To make an extremely long story short, I estimate that I've lost 3 to 4 weeks of productivity over the course year on Notes.

This is everything from trying to configure its views and options (e.g., can't separate emails by day, no quick filter by anything other than name or date, calender functions suck as mentioned previously, can't view Notes folders on my blackberry, search capability is horrible, and so and on and so forth), the constant lock-up of Notes(and subsequent searches to find out which components I could 'shut down' in task manager instead of completely re-booting), failure to replicate over certain wireless networks and related troubleshooting (what a time killer!), 3 re-installs of the entire program, etc., etc., etc.,

I kid you not - 3 to 4 weeks is not an exaggeration. More winging as follows....

The menu's are not intuitive - note to all non-Microsoft software developers - when writing your code, try to mimic the logic and terminology of MS pull down menus!! I'm not a Microsoft zealot, this is a pragmatic suggestion. Microsoft software is on 100s of millions of desktops around the world - we've all been conditioned to navigate software this way. Re-learning your clever new terms and logic is a complete and frustrating waste of time.

And finally - replicating - what a joke this is. This reminds me when I entered the professional workforce in the early 90's and some of the older office works talked about using the 'telex' machine. Note's hark ens me back to one the first email applications that I used - Groupwise; essentially to connect remotely you had do perform a 'send-receive'. I remember when I first began dealing Whith Accenture (then Andersen Consulting) and how sophisticated they appeared when they had to 'replicate'. Again, what a joke. With Outlook, remote connectivity is a vast improvement (think mimeograph v. copy machine); it is one of the rare ocassions where the word 'seamless' actually fits.

Wow, that felt good - a years worth of frustration off of my chest.

Posted at 11/09/2007 11:52:53 by Chuck Diablo

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I use both email clients. Outlook 2003 at home and Notes 7 at work. I've been using both applications intensively for 8 years since the very earliest versions.

There is no question that Notes is a better mail client.

What I love about notes is the MDI interface. All the email and documents are neatly contained within the application window. With outlook I end up with dozens of open windows and its annoying when I need to switch to another application.

Notes is also has one of the best application development environments in the world if you want a quick and simple database.

I wish Notes made a free version for home use. I would uninstall Outlook immediately.

Posted at 11/28/2007 1:10:21 by Simon

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I would like to address a couple of mistruths here. One: Administrator's prefer domino and it takes more admins to support exchange than domino - THIS IS TOTALLY UNTRUE. Being an IT professional of 18 years and working in so many different environments, I can tell you that administrators and endusers find Outlook/exchange without peer. It is simply the best. And it requires the same amount of support as domino/notes. Two: Databases. Folks, we are talking about a MAIL CLIENT here. If you want to access databases, use another application or better yet, connect via web browser. There are two different fuctions here. One is two manage communications effectively and the other is to have an efficient way to access and use data. Also, notes connections to databases has absolutely NO FEEDBACK for the enduser. Instead of presenting information to the end user, the end user must know the exact information they are looking for and where to find it. This is absurd. A database or datawarehouse should present data and information TO the end user. Fuzzy logic is the best. THE BOTTOM LINE: NOTES AND DOMINO ARE THE BIGGEST PILES OF STEAMING CRAP EVER MADE.

Posted at 06/13/2008 7:15:44 by Tom Ulcak

re: Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Wow, Tom. You are certainly passionate in your opinion. I find it interesting how many people find themselves at different ends of the spectrum when it comes to Lotus Notes. My experiences have been quite different from yours and, in fact, I like the database model as it provides great flexibility and ease of management, not to mention seamless integration with all other aspects of workflow. Obviously I do not share your opinion. - Eric.

Posted at 06/13/2008 11:25:40 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Tom Ulcak has it right. Notes and Domino steam!

My employer recently converted from Outook to Notes 6.x at the direction of our European parent company. My productivity has taken a huge dive as a result.

As an example, I have to process 60 to 100 emails a day, preferrable only the ones that I am on the "TO:" line, but Notes 6.x doesn't allow me to conditionally format my inbox like Outlook did, so that I can't differentiate those emails where I'm only "cc'd" and those that "I must" respond to.

The biggest email headache is trying to respond to an email question by attaching another email from my folders which include product history, pictures and/or spreadsheet attachments. Outlook let me drag and drop the old email into my response, attachments and all, while Notes requires me to save out each of the attachments separately and then export the email text into another file before adding each as attachments into my response. This Sucks!

I'd say thumbs down to Domino and Notes, but other fingers come to mind.

Posted at 07/14/2008 16:04:29 by Dan Steffen

re: Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Dan, you may want to take a look at eProductivity. I recently blogged about the preview program we are about to launch. Details here: http://www.notesonproductivity.com/ICA/NOP.nsf/dx/24-hour-preview-of-eproductivity-for-lotus-notes. Should you decide to join the preview, I will be most interested to learn how this changes your perception of Lotus Notes as a productivity tool. Eric

Posted at 07/14/2008 16:18:50 by Eric Mack

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

First, let me say that I am a simple email user. I read my emails, I maintain my contacts and I use my calendar. I have used Outlook for several years and for the past year I have been trying to adapt to Notes (8.0). To put it simply, it is the worst possible email application I have experienced. I also use Yahoo mail, which is free and I prefer it over Notes. Try searching your emails and determining what folder they have been saved in. Try sending an email to an alternate email address for someone, search an email for selected text. Yes, it is possible (I believe), but I feel like I am writing some foreign language/ logic program. There are so many little problems that it would be impossible for me to document then all. In a previous post, someone else commented about the inability to attach another email into an email that you are sending. Their post quite clearly reviews the problems in trying to do this.

In talking with people, they brag about its database utility. So what, I don't care one bit about a database utility. I just want to read email, save email, maintain contacts, and use the calendar function. I don't like the fact that Microsoft dominates the PC market the way it does. However, when I see the alternative, then I am willing to accept it. As I said, I would rather use Yahoo Mail than Notes. If I were to ever change jobs again, that will be one of the questions that I ask when interviewing - what email server do you use. Communication in an organization is extremely important. From what I have experienced so far, Notes make communication more difficult.

Lastly, I would like to say that I am thankful that I took the time to write this email. Having thought it through, I believe a possible solution to some of the problems I have with notes will be to print soft copies of all my emails and file them outside of Notes. This will at least make finding them and organizing them easier. If I ever need to attach the email to some other email that I am replying to, then I already have a soft copy to attach. Yes any files or attachments will be dead, but that’s Notes. While it does not solve all the problems, it is a start.

In an earlier post by Alan, he mentioned that he was able to forward all his emails to Outlook (Express I am guessing), I would be very interested in learning how to do this. Anything to get me out of Notes.

PS. I came across this web site because I was looking for help on sending email to a person's alternate email address. I am guessing that in Notes, I need to create a separate contact listing for each email address that a person has!?

Posted at 02/27/2009 7:46:06 by MattF

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

MattF - In LN 8.0 you can have up to 5 email addresses for one individual.

Posted at 06/16/2009 11:50:54 by SLM

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

You can have 5 email addresses for one individual but you're not given the option of choosing between any of the 5 email addresses when you're sending. You have to preset the default email address you want your Lotus Notes client to send to (click on the Email link in the individual's contact and select what one to be set to default.)

Posted at 08/17/2009 13:13:17 by Neal

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I have been a Lotus Domino Administrator for 12 years and have also Administered Exchange servers (outlook mail servers)and have noticed through reading this thread a few things:

Employees are not Trained in the function of Lotus Notes by their employers.

Everyone is comparing a collaboration tool against an email tool. (except the person who compared it to Sharepoint which is a more appropriate comparison).

Lotus notes applications (Outlook has none) can be created as websites\applications.

Lotus Notes can be used as a front end to many other products. eg. Oracle, Sap, SQL etc.

Functions that are being compared to are from old version of lotus notes to new versions of Outlook.

Some comments are simply wrong when comparing new versions of lotus notes to new outlook eg. 8.5 and outlook 2010.


Searching for email locations - You do this in all documents view where you can see what folder all your emails are located.

Forwarding meeting invites. You do this by either delegation or by adding a new recipient and sending the invite to them.

conversation threads: (was improved in 8+ can be viewed not only in your mail file but in the email itself.

Attachments that are required to be viewed by a team or entire company shouldn't be emailed as attachments but placed into a document repository (standard function of lotus notes) Where a link is sent out to the document to all users. This way all users see the same document and the most current rather than having multiple documents and maybe not the most current and yes it keeps mail files smaller.

Replication does not cache your mail like outlook does it is a true replica of your mail file.

Replication can be selective to not replicate full documents if you are over a slow link. This allows you to bring the rest of the document to your replica if you choose to.(this was standard in version 4 in lotus notes and beyond)

Alternative email addresses - This is available in Lotus Notes 8.5

Sync with mobile devices. This has been available via either 3rd party applications your mobile device application and now via the domino server. However over my experience the best production for Lotus notes and Exchange in a corporate environment is Blackberry. I have worked with many devices. eg. Nokia, Sony Ericson, Windows Mobile, Palm, Blackberry and recently Iphone.

Lotus Notes can be installed on the following Operating systems:




Im not saying that Lotus Notes is the best but what i am saying is that Employers and Lotus Domino Administrators need to educate the employees and find what is required by them rather than just dump the Lotus Notes client infront of them.

As mentioned above it isnt just an email client and is used for collaboration, Websites and most of all its security which when configured has higher level of security for sensitive information than any other.

Over all:

Outlook is easy to pickup, is used by many people on their home pc's. (does have drawbacks for viruses as it is easier to attack)

Lotus Notes is great if you wish to have full collaboration (I have yet to see a virus that can hack any domino application and send out the virus to other mail clients via email). Drawbacks: Requires user TRAINING. Is a corporate tool.

Posted at 10/16/2009 15:48:20 by Adminchick

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Lotus is a rubish and I am right as 99% of unlucky users of this rubish software, sorry for being rude, agree with all above against Lotus, who likes it let it use it and torture hih/her self on own computer do not spread stupidity around the worls, why shopuld I be trained when MS can be used without training?? R U B I S H ! ! !

Posted at 10/21/2009 4:35:49 by Ratko

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Cmon are you guys saying LN's calendar isn't a piece of junk?

Face it IBM simply cashed in the money for Notes while not enhancing it. It was the poor child in the corner not being fed.

Anyone saying LN is better simple is in denial or a person that makes his living off of LN.

Databases should NOT be tied to email systems... This is a horrible transgression in the IT world but it certainly helps IBM's wallet and stops people from looking at better options so your stuck with that junk.

IBM laughs at you when you pay your maintainence fee! Hah switch I dare you.

Posted at 10/27/2009 11:26:41 by Jim

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Oh also.

If it takes more guys to run Exchange your doing it wrong or you have some lazy exchange admins.

I know 50k+ places using 2 exchange admins at most on and off.

How big is your help desk staff to keep notes running? half of them are running around with notes keys reinstalling LN's and its a small army.

Posted at 10/27/2009 11:33:21 by Jim

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

@Jim - LN databases ARE NOT tied to mail any more than MS SQL Server is. Notes/Domino is an integrated environment providing a host of services such as data management, messaging, etc. You can choose to message enable an application or not. If I'm not mistaken, Exchange runs on top of a database...

Posted at 10/28/2009 9:56:58 by Jordan

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I have been running a Domino shop for over 8 years now:

- 500 users

- 45 large LOB databases

- 2 servers (only for redundency; it could all be on 1)

- 1 admin (me), 1 designer

there are only two occasions when the domino servers have to be shutdown:

During a domino server upgrade (infrequent)

During Windows server patches (every month)

If I new linux enough to support it, it would prob. be even less often.

Domino is one of the last true turn it on and forget it systems out there.

Client deployment is lengthy, but only happens once per user, vs the outlook way - quick and easy, but any time a profile acts up you have to redeploy/reconfigure (often enough).

User training is required, but come on, email is email. the buttons are located in different places, and some are called slightly different things.

The apps developed within them require no more training than anything developed in house on SQL/Sharepoint.

Posted at 11/11/2009 10:55:19 by Mike

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

as an end user, there's no contest here. I've used Outlook '97, '98, '03, '07. I used Notes for about 5 years in the mid '90s, and I'm using Notes 8.5.1 right now.

I would give my left you know what to be able to go back to Outlook. Notes sucks!!! I waste so much time dealing with all its bugs and shortcomings that it hardly qualifies as a 'productivity tool.' Perhaps it was written by islamic fundamentalists as a way to bring down the economies of the West. That I'd believe.

Posted at 11/24/2009 10:29:33 by Ralph Hipps

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I had to migrate from Outlook to Lotus Notes when I changed jobs. I started with 6.5 and absolutely hated it. My productivity went down the drain. Let's face it, the user interface is just shot. We upgraded to Lotus Notes 8 recently and it is basically a ghetto version of Outlook 2003. There is no intuition built in to the product. If I want to mark something as read I can right click on the email message right? Nope. Changing preferences and out of office settings are tedious. It's slow and with version 8, SameTime is attached to Lotus Notes. Seems great, but now when Lotus Notes takes 10 minutes to load, uses 300 MB of RAM each time or when my e-mail crashes, I get signed off of SameTime as well. Want to add a hyperlink? Oops, I have to create a HOTSPOT (wtf) and go through 50 menu items to do it.

Look, people want to use e-mail, calendaring, contacts. That's it. That's the bottom line. Databases and all that stuff, everything is all web-based now. No one wants to work in an isolated environment like Notes.

Posted at 12/01/2009 11:55:01 by Ed

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I was looking for a way to interface Outlook to Domino, sadly the connector doesn't work properly (random crashes) as I believe I'm using Domino r7.

Anyway I've used Notes over the past 10yrs from R4.5 and now trialing 8.5. I see they FINALLY added a 'contextual right click menu item' how disappointed was I when I saw it only had to do with Messaging.. so I still can't right click a mail to flag it as I want or right click and add the sender to my add book and the list goes on and has been grazed upon by others before me.

I can see the big advantage of having an integrated DB etc yada yada. But over all this time, hasn't IBM deemed to update the interface properly? That's the biggest slap in the face to end users. Training or no training, any app should have a team to handle user interface to make sure the learning curve is as gentle as possible. Otherwise we'd all still be using command line interfaces

Posted at 12/07/2009 0:07:44 by Nick

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I am sorry, but as an end user I am really not a fan Microsoft products so I will never use Outlook, plus unless you buy an add-on or use PGP you cannot encrypt your mails (which is a must today). Windows o.s. is so vulnerable to viruses that it is just a hassle having to update everyday everything (antivirus, anti-adware, windows update).

Except IBM Lotus Symphony, I have never used Lotus Notes or any IBM products.

But according to the views I have read above, I will give Lotus Notes a try.

I don't know any of the people, but I think that younger generations are more keen of switching between many different applications and softwares.

It is just a matter of curiosity

Posted at 03/18/2010 15:44:59 by Bibi Johnson

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Nick said -

"I see they FINALLY added a 'contextual right click menu item' how disappointed was I when I saw it only had to do with Messaging.. so I still can't right click a mail to flag it as I want or right click and add the sender to my add book and the list goes on and has been grazed upon by others before me."

This is completely FALSE. If you're going to critique something at least be honest.

Posted at 03/30/2010 13:09:48 by Hmmmm

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

Well, to be honest, i have used both, i have used LN for over 3 years now and i do not see any issues at all, the new interface in 8.5 is just great, it also has sametime integrated into the email client. i think all of the comparisons are Bullshit, both of them work as they are suppose to be.

HOWEVER, from the development perspective it is much better to have outlook as they havethe .NET environment to take care of the programming. lotus notes development framework is not bad, but i would say it is much harder to find a person who knows lotus notes development vs finding someone who knows Visual Studio.

Whoever takes the comparison really serious is a person with no common sense, both are good.

ALSO, Lotus Notes is much cheaper if you have other enterprise software from IBM, outlook is pricey in comparison

Posted at 04/12/2010 14:17:44 by Mike Azar

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

For last 6 years I have been using Exchange/Outlook while vorking as a Network Admin.

Just a few month ago I have was hired by diff company and on my first day have found out that they are usibg Lotus Domino/Notes.

My laptop had Lotus Notes 8.5 client installed and I was so eager to see how this new (to me) app works/looks.

After trying some basic tasks (right click on the message, schedule meeting, reply to all from Sent folder, insert/send a hyperlink to someone etc.) I was very very much dissapinted and upset.

I could not believe that this "upgraded" version of Notes was designed that poorly.

WOW.... but wait - some of our users still on 6.5 client what a disaster that thing is...

90% of end users just want to be able to send/receive/search their mail and have intuitive interface which is not even near while trying to use Notes.

Also you have to be a developer to use most of those features (creating workspaces etc.) but who does that? very few...

even for the admins to deal with those tempales and documents, certifiers, expired id's and many HD calls every day...

I just hate this stone age application... it doesn't make any logical sense for regular users to be using it.

Posted at 04/15/2010 19:00:20 by John

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I had to switch from Outlook to Lotus Notes 7 years ago and I am still crying for all the functions I have lost.

Yes, LN may be more powerful but I don't care, I spend most of my time exchanging emails, not reading the cantine menu (what a nice function!).

I've read here that version 8 solves many problems, I checked and we are using 6.5 in 2010. Why my company doesn't upgrade???

A martyr of LN 6.5

Posted at 06/15/2010 8:37:16 by Martin

Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

i have an exchange server and i want to view emails in lotus notes; does anyone know how to go about doing that? thanks


Posted at 06/29/2010 12:26:09 by Rabindra R Singh

re: Lotus Notes Email Vs. Microsoft Outlook

I recommend that you contact Simplified Technology Solutions. Darren Duke's team can help you.

Lisa can get you started.

Best of success to you

Posted at 06/29/2010 13:22:19 by Eric Mack

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