Beginners Guide to Learn About Lotus Notes NSF & Names.NSF File

Written By Kumar Raj
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On February 1st, 2020
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading

IBM Lotus Notes is one of the popular email client, which provides multiple business collaboration functions such as email, calendars, contacts, etc that is used for the purpose of organizational communication. Now, this IBM Notes can be used with other IBM Domino applications and databases. The data items of Lotus Notes are stored in NSF file format. The major highlight of the Lotus Notes application is its unbreakable security options that are mainly preferred by large-scale organizations. Also, the encryption applied to the emails, which ultimately results in excessive usage from an organizational perspective. So, let’s elaborate more about NSF format, Names.nsf file and it’s file location.

Lotus Notes NSF & Names.NSF File Converter

Still Hovering About What is NSF & Names.NSF File in Lotus Notes?

Want to know more about NSF file format? Then, read on and know the in-depth detail here!

From the above section, now we all are aware that IBM Notes is a desktop workflow application which is used commonly by corporate environments for email purpose. In addition to that, it can also be used to access databases like document libraries and custom applications including workflows

NSF file stands for Notes Storage Facility, where it creates a client-server cross-platform. In which, IBM Notes acts as client software and IBM Domino as server software. Basically, NSF is a database file, which is supported by both IBM Notes and IBM Domino server. Now, this NSF file contains all the information with regards to the Lotus Notes account such as emails, contacts, calendars, tasks, etc. The storage location of the NSF file format may vary with respect to the operating system versions and the type of installations.

Generally, the IBM Notes database is either stored locally or on the server. This means, the locally stored NSF files are stored on the system and the NSF files which are on the server are stored on the Domino server. The NSF files that are stored in the Domino server can be easily downloaded to access the database in offline mode by the Notes clients. In case, if the user makes any changes to the NSF file then it gets automatically synchronized by the Domino server in the master database. Moving further, you might have noticed that NSF files end with .nsf extension.

What Are the Types of Lotus Notes Data Files?

The NSF file contains all the Lotus Notes mailbox items stored in binary form. The default location for all the NSF file types is stored in the Data Folder at C:\Program Files\IBM\Notes\Data.

Now, mailbox.nsf and names.nsf are the most important and common NSF files where it stores all the Notes data items such as emails, contacts, calendar,etc

  1. Mailbox.nsf: This NSF file stores all the information related to emails, tasks, journal and calendar. It may be stored locally on the server. When the mailbox capacity exceeds beyond its limit, then we can move the excessive data to the Archive folder. This Archive NSF file is created in the Data folder within the subfolder named Archive. It is stored in the following default location,
    C:\Program Files\IBM\Notes\Data\Archive
  2. Names.nsf: This NSF file contains the information related to personal address book like contacts, locations, etc. This file is automatically generated in the Notes directory.
  3. Other NSF Files: These are additional NSF file that contains the information of saved bookmarks, information about the web browser and so on. It can be divided into different file formats such as,
    • Bookmark.nsf: It stores the information about saved bookmarks.
    • Internet.nsf: It contains the data related to newsgroup subscriptions.
    • Busytime.nsf: It contains the information about local free time subscriptions.
    • Perweb.nsf: It contains the details of a web browser.
    • Headline.nsf: It contains the information of Database Subscriptions information

Know More About Names.nsf File in Lotus Notes

Names.nsf if one of the file type in IBM Notes where all the contacts entries are stored in a contacts file. When a user tries to send a message to another person, this names.nsf file is the one which finds the destined persons email address. Instead of using the default contact file, one can create a new contact file storing all the extra contact files. Also, the names.nsf file is auto-created in the Notes directory.

The default location of Lotus Notes names.nsf file is as mentioned below,

C:\Program Files\IBM\Notes\Data\names.nsf

A user can create a New Names.nsf file in Lotus Notes simply by using the personal address book template i.e., pernames.ntf file. Then, rename the file according to the interest like names2.nsf file. This will ensure that all the contacts files are stored in the same directory.

What is the NSF File Location in Lotus Notes?

The following are the location of the NSF file format, which is stored at different location. For users who need to fetch their saved data, then simply navigate the NSF file.

For Single User

Windows: C\Programs Files\IBM\Lotus\Data

For Multi Users

Windows XP

C\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Lotus\Notes/Data

Windows Vista


Windows 7


Windows 8 / 8.1


Windows 10


Mac OS

~Library/Application Support/Lotus Notes Data



Final Words

The NSF file format is the master file format that can only be accessed in Lotus Notes and Domino server that is the supported applications In this blog, we have described and clearly elaborated the concepts related to NSF File and the different types of NSF files. In addition to that, a user can easily access the saved data by locating the NSF file, which may vary with regards to different OS versions.