It is not uncommon for a new user of Microsoft Outlook to wonder whether they use it to get mail from their company's Lotus Notes server. In some cases, Microsoft Exchange Server may be connected directly to the Notes server.

This page, though, covers direct connections between Outlook and Notes It can be done, but with limitations. For more information and reference material, please see SlipStick.com

What is the Lotus Notes MAPI service provider?

The Lotus Notes MAPI service provider (or NOTES MAPI support) is a .dll file provided with Lotus Notes. It allows programs that require a MAPI interface, including the Microsoft Exchange client and Microsoft Outlook to access LOTUS NOTES e-mail. Outlook 98 users must install Corporate or Workgroup mode to use the NOTES MAPI support.

What does it let me do?

It allows any MAPI-aware application to send and receive Lotus Notes E-Mail using the MAPI interface. So it is now possible to use the File | Send command within 32-bit Microsoft Offfice applications (which do not support Lotus' VIM messaging standard) to send mail via Lotus Notes. You can also use the Microsoft Exchange client or Outlook client to send and receive Lotus Notes mail. Most rich text attributes and message properties are converted.

What won’t it let me do?

It only supports mail. It does not allow the Outlook client to look at any other Notes databases, (except the Name and Address book for messaging). It will not even allow Outlook to look at Tasks or Meeting Items within the user's mailbox.

How do I install NOTES MAPI support?

When you install Lotus Notes, if the setup program finds MAPI support installed, it will add NOTES to the list of MAPI services available to the Exchange/Outlook profile. In practice, this means it will always be installed in Windows NT 4. For NT 3.51 or Windows 95, it will be installed if Windows Messaging, Exchange or Outlook is already installed.

If you installed Lotus Notes first, you can re-install Notes after installing Exchange, Outlook or Windows Messaging. It will just add the necessary MAPI transport .dll file while preserving the rest of your Lotus Notes setup. This means you'll see Lotus Notes as an available service when you set up or modify your Outlook profile.

How do I tell applications to use this service provider?

Before applications can use Notes MAPI support, you must include Lotus Notes as a service in your Exchange/Outlook profile. In Windows NT 4 and Windows 95, use Control Panel | Mail (or Mail and Fax). For Windows NT 3.51, a separate icon is installed to allow MAPI services to be configured. Once a profile is defined, it is available to all MAPI-enabled applications.

How do remote support and synchronization work?

In short, they don’t. If your Lotus Notes client is set up to work with workstation mail (i.e. you use the replicator page to send and receive mail), you can’t use the Exchange Remote Mail or Synchronize command to initiate Lotus Notes replication. You must open the Notes client and perform manual or scheduled replication.

Which versions of Lotus Notes provide MAPI support?

All 32-bit versions of Lotus Notes from 4.5 onwards provide the necessary .dll. However, version 4.5.4 works reliably in all situations. Version 4.6 and 4.6a were missing some fixes to the MAPI support that were in 4.5.4 and so do not work properly. We don't know about later versions.

Why can't  Microsoft Outlook open my message store?

This is normally due to configuration problems in Lotus Notes. In Notes, check your current location document (File | Mobile | Edit Current Location) to see that you have valid entries in the MAIL section. Check that you can compose and send a new memo from the Notes Desktop (Create | Mail | Memo) when your mail file is closed. If you can’t, your current location is probably wrongly defined. This sort of problem can also be caused by multiple NOTES.INI files in both the Notes folder and the Windows folder.

More Information

For more information and reference material, please see SlipStick.com