I would like to read some .NSF files (preferably on Linux). Converting to PDF is ideal, but anything else that uses modern formats (e.g. XML) is fine.

When I google "nsf viewer" I get many very similar hits for downloads that all promise to be "100% safe", which obviously triggers some small red warning lights. What is all that about?

I do not want to install something massive, preferably just a quick command line tool.

  • 1
    Notes is still a real product you can buy, but I'm not going to vote to close, since I wish it were retro. That said, I think you're in the situation where almost every legit solution (other than buying Notes or an official conversion tool) is going to be bit rotted away or otherwise incomplete, because Notes isn't a going concern for most people these days and is intensely boring. (The company I work for is finally moving away from Notes as of this year. I'm so happy.)
    – Dranon
    Apr 5, 2021 at 13:32
  • @Dranon otoh it's not rocket surgery either. I installed a free version which seems to work fine.
    – Tomas By
    Apr 5, 2021 at 13:34
  • @ThomasBy Good! Good luck in your endeavors.
    – Dranon
    Apr 5, 2021 at 13:35

2 Answers 2


Not really familiar with this topic, but maybe you have checked libnsfdb project on GitHub to see if it already does what you need. It seems to have a tool for exporting the data out of the box.

  • Thanks. Sadly, it does not compile for me "out of the box" (on standard Ubuntu).
    – Tomas By
    Apr 3, 2021 at 22:49
  • 2
    @TomasBy - I couldn't get the git repo version to build either, but the Source distribution package built on Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS and 20.10 (both x86_64) and Raspberry Pi OS (Debian 10, armv7l) using ./configure; make
    – scruss
    Apr 4, 2021 at 16:22

The best way (and easiest, if you find the installer) to access nsf files is to install Lotus Notes client. It's a great file format, database like, capable of storing any kind of data (mail is just a part of Notes/Domino).

I've worked on it up until v7 for a company I used to work for back then. It's really straight forward, you install Notes app and just open the .nsf file as you'd open an .xls file in Excel. In the past, IBM allowed a trial edition to be downloaded using a free IBM account. Nowadays the product has been sold to another company, I don't know if they still supply a free trial version. If not, perhaps you can locate on the Internet older IBM trial versions which can be obtained legally. Since you are an Ubuntu user, there were officially supported Ubuntu Linux versions available. I used Notes before these Linux versions were available (v7-8 shipped with Linux versions also, if I recall well), previous versions played nicely using Wine. So even if you obtain a v5 Notes client for example, you can use it through Wine.

PS: I don't think that's a retro question, Domino/Notes is still produced and supported :)

  • Well, the files I am interested in are retro. I wish you would join the libnsfdb project linked to in the other answer, and help get that completed.
    – Tomas By
    Apr 4, 2021 at 10:22
  • I did some developing of Notes apps using Lotus Designer and LotusScript back then, but I don't think I'm competent enough to help on libnsfdb project! Do search for Notes client, once you locate it and install it, it's super easy to access the nsf files.
    – Krackout
    Apr 4, 2021 at 10:31

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