This is a single archived entry from Stefan Tilkov’s blog. For more up-to-date content, check out my author page at INNOQ, which has more information about me and also contains a list of published talks, podcasts, and articles. Or you can check out the full archive.

Lotus Notes on Mac OS X

Stefan Tilkov,

For Lotus Notes/Mac OS X users only: Without NiniX, using Lotus Notes is next to impossible on a lot of Mac OS X systems due to the ridiculous font size. NiniX enables you to modify the font size, something that can be done by editing the ASCII notes.ini file on other platforms. Sadly, on Mac OS X only the notes.ini settings are stored in some binary format. Update: vowe, as usual a source of amazingly useful info on a whole lot of issues, had an entry about Silk, which makes Notes screens infinitely more readable. Essential.

On April 21, 2004 7:35 AM, subrato dutta said:

hi, iam working on macintosh and as well i have healthy hold on lotus administration, but that i had learned on windows platform, see i will expect some healthy feedback from ur side regarding lotus /mac support. It will ur greatness if you provide the related stuff in my mail box.


On April 28, 2004 8:24 PM, Mark Hughes said:

I am using a demo version of LN client 6.5 in OS 10.3.3 (Panther) and get the following error message “Domino Directory does not contain a required view”. Our Domino server is v4.65, are the two incompatible?

On April 28, 2004 9:47 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Mark, it definitely seems that way, but unfortunately I don’t know for sure. When does this happen? If it happens during setup, a way around it might be to simply copy the databases, templates and Notes ID you need to your Mac instead of relying on the setup process to interact with the server.

On June 10, 2004 9:57 PM, Nick Anderson said:

Hey, I am about to upgrade a network from Mac OS 9.2 to OS X v10.2, and switch from using an Exchange server and outlook over to using Lotus notes and Domino. How much different is notes 6.5 form outlook? Are there any limiting gliches with OS X and Lotus Notes that I should be weary about? Thanks in advance.

On June 10, 2004 10:27 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

It’s interesting that there doesn’t seem to be that much information about Notes and Mac OS X since this page seems to attract a lot of visitors from Google hits … maybe I’ll slowly morph it into a kind of resource page for stuff related to this.

Anyway, to your question: I would say that Notes is significantly different from Outlook on any platform. The reason is that Mail, Calendaring, Addresses and ToDo lists just happen to be a few of the many things that Notes can do; comparing just these to Outlook will almost always result in Outlook being the winner. My advice would be to get familiar with the Notes/Domino concepts of databases, replication, and workgroup-related features; once you have “got” that, the rest makes sense.

Mac OS X specific: I find that Notes works very well on OS X; Silk and NiniX are essential, but once you have used them, it’s essentially the same as on other platforms.

One thing to note - maybe related to my installation only - is that when you send email and include attachments, sometimes they’ll get compressed to Mac .hqx files. The way around this is to compress certain document types (most notably .doc files) with the Finder and then attach the .zip files.

On August 18, 2004 6:40 PM, Joel Bruner said:

The HQX things messes my users up all the time, you can turn it off by doing this:

File -> Mobile -> Open current Location

Advanced Mime Settings

Change the encoding from BinHex to AppleDouble

On August 18, 2004 8:54 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Thanks Joel, I’m using this (stumbled across that setting before), but forgot to update the info here.

On September 2, 2004 7:20 PM, Konocer said:

Yes I´m one of those “googlesended”… I´m looking for any experience using notes in web environment from a Mac OS X side (as client)

Thank you..

On September 2, 2004 7:54 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Can you be more specific? I’ve used the Notes client for ages on Windows (and OS/2) before that, and switching from the current Notes client on Windows to the same version on OS X essentially posed no problems.

Or are you thinking of using Notes to do Web development on Mac OS X? Then you’d be out of luck since there is version of the Notes Designer for the Mac. Or do you want to use Web apps built on top of Domino with OS X? That should be no problem.

On September 7, 2004 2:26 PM, James Stenning said:


I’m having a problem with Lotus notes databases that where created on a Windows machine. When viewed on a Mac (os x 10.3.5) the pound symbol is being displayed as a $.

Any ideas anyone, we have 4 machines which is the same on all of them.


James Stenning.

On September 7, 2004 5:32 PM, Dave T said:

I work in a Lotus Notes Windows environment and I recieve an error when using my Mac on the Network. The Error is “Error Loading USE or USELX module : LSXODBC.

The IT guys can’t seem to help.

Before they force me to move to Windows does anyone have any insight? I am using OSX with the current 6.5? version of Notes

Thank You

On September 7, 2004 6:27 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Dave, this is probably only happening with some of your Notes databases. The reason is that they have been custom-built by either your IT folks or some third party, and they make use of a LotusScript extension (or LSX for short) that is not available on Mac OS X (an LSX is a loadable module that offers a callable interface to the LotusScript environment, similar to the way a COM control can be called from VisualBasic).

While there is ODBC support on Mac OS X, I don’t think IBM/Lotus have ported the LSX, nor are they likely to do so IMO. So if you can’t live without that particular DB (or DBs), you’ll have to either use them from Windows or ask you IT folks (or the vendor) to provide a Web interface to them (if the Domino HTTP task is running on your company’s server, you might even just give it a try - see the Cheat Sheet [1] for more information.


On September 7, 2004 6:28 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

James - sorry, I have no idea about this issue.

On September 21, 2004 4:32 PM, Daniel Dickerson said:

I’m using my mac in a desing capacity and have the entire Adobe font library loaded to accomidate our designers, (long story but font man. soft. not an option) anyway, notes does not like this and unexpectedly quits at launch. It’s definetly these fonts because when I pull them notes launches fine. All obvious fixes aside how can I utilize both funtions at the same time. Have the Adobe font library loaded and use notes? Is there a patch or a mod. Any help appreciated.

On September 21, 2004 4:56 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Hi Daniel - sorry, I have no idea :-(

On September 29, 2004 3:44 PM, Krishen said:

Wow… another Google referal here…

Surely there’s got to be a Mac OS X-Notes forum on the web somewhere so we’re not all hijacking Stefan’s blog. But anyway, while I’m here :)

I’ve known about this pretty much since day 1 of using Notes on Mac OS X (about 5 months ago, now), but since I found a workaround haven’t investigated it much: does Notes fail to check mail for anyone else while it’s minimized? For the time being I’m simply hiding Notes instead, but I’d love to be able to minimize the window, too.

I’m using Notes 6.5 under Mac OS X 10.2.8.

On September 29, 2004 11:03 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Hm … Krishen: this seems to become a recurring pattern, but again, I have no idea why this would happen (and I’ve not experienced it because I never minimize, only hide applications, and also don’t have Notes check for emails automatically, anyway). Sorry. Maybe the next Google-referred reader knows something :-)

On October 29, 2004 3:27 PM, Patrick Murphy said:

this is a great list so far - I am having a huge issue sending attachments to windows users

they get a file but it is blank?! i send a complete .xls, they open it , and it is empty??

any thoughts??

i have gone through and changed settings (binhex, appledouble, etc) zipped them up prior to sending, etc. nothing works?!


thanks in advance!

On November 1, 2004 5:21 PM, Lawrence Impey said:

If you get “Domino Directory does not contain a required view” when Domino server is v4.65 (or similar) and client is 6.5 you can still set up your 6.5 client and open databases if you do not specify a path to the Domino server during the client setup. In this way you can first set up the client then configure your local Notes Address Book (Directory) for a connection to the server.

On April 11, 2005 10:02 AM, Perry said:

Hi All, I have my Lotus notes web application designed from windows OS and Intel Platform / IBM compatible machine and no problem. I’m using java script mostly of my forms. But when I’m going to run my application under MAC OS X internet explorer then internet explorer error appears and says “permission denied”.

Please help.

On April 11, 2005 10:07 AM, Perry said:

Hi All, I have my Lotus notes web application designed from windows OS and Intel Platform / IBM compatible machine and no problem. I’m using java script mostly of my forms. But when I’m going to run my application under MAC OS X internet explorer then internet explorer error appears and says “permission denied”.

Please help.

On November 19, 2005 10:05 AM, Rose said:

Dear Stefan,

Please help. Your site came up on a google search. I really need to Lotus Notes working on my ibook running on Mac OS X 10.4.2 I’ve downloaded the trial from the IBM site. And I downloaded Stuffit expander. But when I try to decompress the file, nothing happens. What’s wrong? I tried to register at macrumors but I only have a yahoo email so the site won’t let me register.

I can only think of posting a call for help here.

Hope you can spare the time to help me out.

I’m a new mac user so I’m quite lost!

Thanks in advance.


On November 21, 2005 7:59 AM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Sorry, I have no idea why this would happen. I suggest you try the Lotus/IBM support forums …

On December 4, 2005 5:44 AM, Mark Stull said:


Have you ever been able get mouse wheel scrolling to work in Notes on the MAC? Cannot get it to work for the life of me.

ON that compression issue, when you select the file to attach in notes, there is a radio button that says “compress”, I uncheck it and then others can open the attachments I send them.


On December 9, 2005 2:46 PM, Matthew Ziegele said:

Another Google referal here - here’s a tough on for the notes guru’s out there.

I am a sys admin for a Mac network that uses notes 6.5 i have 1 client that i have mapped to an AFP server for their network home dir - this user is having a notes error when she tries to send mail “error during main dictionary spell initialization” I have completly removed notes from the machine and deleted all the info from the Notes Data folder except for the ID and address book. After 3 re-install’s i still cant get this user to send emails without this problem. I have other users setup the same way with no issues. Hope I can get some help here.

Thanks for your time

On December 9, 2005 2:48 PM, Matthew Ziegele said:

Another Google referal here - here’s a tough on for the notes guru’s out there.

I am a sys admin for a Mac network that uses notes 6.5 i have 1 client that i have mapped to an AFP server for their network home dir - this user is having a notes error when she tries to send mail “error during main dictionary spell initialization” I have completly removed notes from the machine and deleted all the info from the Notes Data folder except for the ID and address book. After 3 re-install’s i still cant get this user to send emails without this problem. I have other users setup the same way with no issues. Hope I can get some help here. Server is 10.3.9 Client is 10.4.3

Thanks for your time

On February 21, 2006 12:45 AM, Jin Lee said:

I am using Lotus Notes 6.5 on Mac OS x 10.4. I am encountering problem looking for the Workspace which disappeared with messege “can’t locate” and when I clicked OK, the workspace icon on the far left of the Note disappeared and iT’s no where to be found. Is there any way to get it back? Seems Notes help isn’t really covering this.. Thanks.

On April 7, 2006 10:45 PM, John Barnes said:

We are using Notes 6.5.4 on OSX 10.4 and are having some trouble with reading email that contain HTML images. We figured that we could simply edit the profile within notes and in the ‘internet browser’ tab source or Unfortunately this does not fix the issue. The problem is specific to Notes on the Mac although it does bunk out on PC. Unfortunately the solution on the PC does not curry over and work on the Mac. Any thoughts??

On April 8, 2006 1:48 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

John, I don’t think the internet browser tab has got anything to do with it — this controls only what happens when you click on a URL within Notes.

I know the problem regarding embedded HTML in Notes/Mac, but I don’t know a solution. Sorry.

On May 15, 2006 10:58 PM, yannis said: from IBM finally takes care of the font size of Notes in Mac OS X

On May 18, 2006 8:22 PM, achim Zieger said:

i m using lotus notes 6.5 with macintosh 10.4.6 without any problem. Nevertheless I want to migrate to another e-mail program. can you give me an idea how I can transfer my exisiting mails and addresses to any other program? Thanks a lot.

On May 20, 2006 9:16 AM, Stefan Tilkov said:

In case your Domino server has a full replica of your mail DB, you can simply use Apple’s, set up an IMAP account and wait for your mail to get downloaded and cached. In other words: instead of looking for a client-to-client solution, go through the server.

As for addresses, I’m not aware of a good solution. There’s a company called KissWorks that sells an iSync-Notes solution, but it may not be what you’re looking for (and I never got it to work, anyway).

On June 23, 2006 6:56 PM, Ilene Ruvinsky said:

I am trying to use the web version of Lotus Notes on a Mac with Firefox I can read mail but cannot reply or compose mail. Any advice? Someone mentionned the possibility of a plug-in but I haven’t been able to find one.


On July 21, 2006 9:40 PM, Keene said:


I want to set up an IMAP account to use to store and read email from my work account instead of Lotus Notes. Can you give me an idea of what the IMAP address might look like in order to set it up. Everything I have tried does not work. Thanks!


On July 24, 2006 12:17 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Your Domino server needs to run the IMAP server task, and it might be that your email database template must be upgraded. Your server administrator will know the ports; if the defaults don’t work, you might want to try the SSL variants.

On August 15, 2006 5:43 PM, Patty said:

I am running Lotus Notes 6.5.4 on OS X 10.3.9 and when I send attachments .pdf it duplicates or makes extra attachments for the Windows User - I read on IBM that there is a fix to this, by putting in my Notes preferences (notes.ini) “pcfriendly_attachments” and using a value of “1” - this is not working on my mac (does not give the option when attaching like it says it is suppose to)- any other ideas out there or any help on this - our IS team cannot figure it out - I had to find this link myself on the internet - they would prefer we get rid of all Macs instead of helping me set up - so obviously they are not willing to upgrade to 6.5.5 which fixes this. site is — help anyone???

On October 4, 2006 2:30 AM, Rev. Randell E. Tonn said:

I am trying to install Lotus Notes 6.5 on my iMac [Intel]. How do I answer the request for the “USER ID” file and Password.

I know this is probably pretty simple stuff, but help would be appreciated!!!


On October 9, 2006 6:45 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Look for a file called “” in your (presumably existing) Notes/Windows installation, transfer it to the Mac and use your standard Notes password. I suggest you ask your Notes/Domino admin … he will be able to help you with the info.

On October 11, 2006 7:18 PM, John Judy said:

Greetings Stefan,

I am unable to get a clean install of Lotus Notes 6.5.5 to configure a new user. This is a new hard drive, clean install, all permissions set to read/write.

It seems to get hung up on creating the desktop6.ndk file. Even though the error message states that the file can not be created, it does create the file. Trying the config after that gives me a message that it cannot load a database within desktop6. I’ve tried this with current user (with admin privledges ) and as a newly created user with admin privledges.

I do have an open call with IBM but have not heard back yet. For reference, its a PoweMac g5, non-Intel, OS 10.4.7. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated. Thanks


On October 11, 2006 7:50 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Sorry, I don’t have any idea what might be causing this.

On October 29, 2006 7:03 PM, Oliver said:

I’ve recently tried installing Lotus Notes on my mac. We use LN pre-installed on Dell laptops at work, but my powerbook is obviously a much nicer machine to use..

At this stage, i’ve installed Notes for the main (admin) account on 10.4.8. Getting the app set up to work with the company’s servers etc.. is another challenge that hopefully work IT staff can help with.. but in the meantime i have another issue that maybe you can solve.

I’d like to use Lotus Notes with one of my other user accounts, but it doesn’t work. I can only start LN up in the main/admin account. In my other accounts I get an error message saying “cannot locate the applications/data folder using the preference file user/library/preference/..”. The preference file is there, as is the data folder.

I thought reinstalling the app under the user account in question (instead of the admin account) might help, but that just resulted in the installer saying installation was successful but nothing was installed!

Overall, I truly hate this app and i’d rather not have on my powerbook at all.. But if you could help me get it working at least i won’t have to use the Dell anymore.

On November 2, 2006 5:54 PM, Colin said:

Notes sometimes runs into problems launching on multiple user accounts because of the way the permissions are set up on the Notes folder. Try this:

  1. Log in as an admin user. Open Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal).
  2. Type: sudo chmod -R 777 /Applications/Lotus\ Notes/
  3. Enter your password.

This should allow all user accounts access to the Notes Data folder.

On November 2, 2006 5:57 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

I’m not sure I actually consider this good advice since it will effectively bypass the permissions by allowing everything to everyone.

You should at least be very well aware of what you are doing here :-)

On November 2, 2006 11:20 PM, Oliver said:

Well, it worked! I don’t really see any issue in opening up permissions to just that folder, but thanks for letting me know exactly what I was doing..

So one issue is solved. Now I just need to find someone at work who can set up LN to talk to our servers.

On November 4, 2006 4:15 PM, Colin said:

Well, not everything, just the whole Notes folder. One security-minded alternative would be to create a new group that includes only the users who need access to Notes and then grant access to only that group. But my sense was that this would require far more messing about in Terminal than Oliver was comfortable doing.

Another option in Notes 6.5.5 (maybe earlier ones too, I forget) is to store the Data folder outside the Notes application folder. So in this case you’d want to move the Data folder to a place available to everyone, like /Users/Shared/. Or I suppose you could create duplicate Data folders and put one in each user’s Documents folder. I’ve done this on occasion, and it works for basic installations, but I’ve had problems getting Notes to do certain things like automated replication when the Data folder is outside the Lotus Notes folder.

On November 7, 2006 10:41 PM, Oliver said:

I’m back, different problem this time.

So I asked an IT guy at work to help me configure Notes to work with the corporate server, and despite having no mac-knowledge at all he was very happy to help.

We started Notes, entered my name and the IP address of the domino server. A short while later Notes asked me to enter my password, which I did, but then it said the password was incorrect.

The password was correct. I went back onto the Dell and changed the password, logged in and out of Notes a few times to make sure it was working and registered with the server… then tried the whole process again on the mac and the same thing happened.

Don’t know if anyone has encountered this problem before and has a workaround.

As always, any help is much appreciated.

On November 7, 2006 10:43 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Make sure you’re using the same .id file. Your password is not stored on the server, but instead used for decrypting the ID file. So it could be that your Dell’s ID file is encrypted with a different password than the one on your Mac (or in your server’s directory if it still contains the original ID copy, which it shouldn’t).

On November 6, 2007 10:19 PM, Sean MacEachern said:


I’ve been trowling through google and come across this page. Just wondering if anyone can suggest a way to open a lotus notes db (.nsf) on a mac? At the moment it seems like I’d have to download a trial version 7.0.2 and then email every thing I have in my various databases ( a few gig) to a separate account! There must be an easier way to access these emails on a long term basis, preferably on my hard drive.

Any help would be appreciated.


On November 7, 2007 7:03 AM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Still a popular page, after all this time ;-)

What you could do is use Notes to export all the documents into plain text (which means they’ll only be somewhat readable, I’m not sure what will happen to rich text elements). For your mail database, if you still have a server (preferably including an admin person), you can use IMAP or POP3 to retrieve your email to or Thunderbird or whatever. This will take a few hours, though …

HTH, Stefan

On November 7, 2007 5:07 PM, Sean said:

Thanks for the tip!