Lotus Notes Archive – Default Location, Archiving & Unarchiving

Summary: In this post, we have explained the archiving process in IBM Lotus Notes. We have listed the reasons why you need to create a Lotus Notes archive file. We have also provided the default NSF archive location, steps to create Lotus Notes archive, and how to unarchive. Additionally, we have provided a software program (download it below) to open an archive file in other applications, such as Outlook.

Lotus Notes Archive – Default Location, Archiving & Unarchiving

Archiving is an important feature of Lotus Notes as it helps in reducing mailbox size and creating backups. It allows you to copy important emails and other mailbox items to an archived database. Once the archive file is created, you can delete the items from your mailbox and generate free space. You can archive mailbox data of specific days and based on specific parameters to fit your requirements.

Why Do You need to Create Lotus Notes Archive File?

The following are some of the main reasons to archive emails in IBM Lotus Notes:

  • It creates free space in your mailbox, which is required to save new emails and other incoming items.
  • It removes mailbox size-related errors.
  • Lotus Notes archive can serve as a backup of your mailbox.
  • You can transfer your mailbox from one Lotus Notes-based system to another by using an archive file.

What’s the Lotus Notes Archive File Location?

The default IBM Lotus Notes Archive file location is:

C:/Program files/IBM/Notes/Data/Archive/archive.nsf

How to Create an IBM Lotus Notes Archive?

To create an archive file in Lotus Notes, follow these steps:

  • Launch IBM Lotus Notes and open the Actions menu. Select Archive, and then select Create Criteria.
setting archive file criteria in lotus notes
  • In the Create Archive Criteria window that opens, provide a name for the Lotus Notes Archive criteria.
  • Select Enable this criteria checkbox and click the Selection Criteria button.
  • Select the folders that you want to archive. Also, select the duration for which you want to archive the mailbox items. Then click OK.
Providing Archive Selection Criteria

Providing Archive Selection Criteria

  • Specify the location where you want to save the IBM Lotus Notes Archive file. Also, specify a name for this file.
  • Open the Actions tab and go to Archive > Archive Now.
  • In the dialog box that opens, select Yes.
Archiving Dialog Box

Archiving Dialog Box

Note: You can also schedule archiving by opening the Schedule tab in Archive Settings and selecting the appropriate options.

How to Fix “File does not exist” Error?

Sometimes, Lotus Notes users get the following error: “File does not exist”. This error is usually generated when Lotus Notes can’t find an archive file in the expected Lotus Notes archive file location. The application may also generate the error if the archive file is renamed, deleted, or moved to a new location.

To fix the error, follow these steps:

  • Note the archive file’s provided location by going to File > Database > properties > Archive Settings- Where do you want these documents archived to.
  • Go to the archive file folder by using Windows Explorer. Check if the archive is missing or renamed.
  • Look for the archive file in other locations on the system.
  • If the file is renamed, then revert the change. If the archive location is changed, then move the file to the correct location. 

How to Unarchive Emails in IBM Lotus Notes?

In Lotus Notes, unarchiving refers to extracting mailbox items from a Lotus Notes archive and transferring the same to the original location.

To unarchive emails in Lotus Notes, follow these steps:

  • Open Lotus Notes and click Archived emails.
  • Select the emails that you want to restore.
  • Click return to inbox. The selected emails will be restored to the original folder they were archived from.

How to Open Lotus Notes Archive in Other Applications?

IBM Lotus Notes archive is a .nsf file that can only be opened in Lotus Notes email client. To open the archive file in another email client, such as Microsoft Outlook, you need to convert the file into an appropriate format.

To open a Lotus Notes archive file or any other Lotus Notes database file in Outlook, you can use Stellar Converter for NSF.

Stellar Converter for NSF is an advanced utility that can directly convert Lotus Notes archive file into PST, HTML, PDF, and other popular formats. The following are some of the top features of this software:

  • Converts NSF files to PST directly and safely
  • Provides complete preview of NSF file before saving the converted data
  • Converts multiple Lotus Notes archive or other database files (Technician edition)
  • Directly exports Lotus Notes data to an Office 365 account (Technician edition)
  • Supports Lotus Notes 10.0.1, 9.0.1, 9.0, 8.5, 8.0.2, 7.0, 6.5, and 6.0 versions
  • Offers advanced filters for selective conversion
  • To convert a Lotus Notes archive file into PST with the software, follow these steps: Launch the software. In the Select NSF File window, click Browse and provide the location of the Lotus Notes archive.
Browse and provide the location of the Lotus Notes archive
  • Click the Convert button to begin the file conversion process.
  • Preview the contents of the archive once conversion is completed.
contents of the archive once conversion is completed
  • Select the folders that you want to save to PST and click the Save Converted File button on the top-left.
  • Select PST from the list of file format options and click Next.
Select PST from the list of file format options

Provide the location where the converted file will be saved and click OK. The software will save the file automatically.

You can use Stellar Converter for NSF to convert Lotus Notes archive into PST. Then, you can import this PST into Outlook and access its contents.


Like other email clients, Lotus Notes allows the users to export their emails to declutter their mailbox and make space for new emails. This process is called archiving and you can easily do it by following the steps given in this blog post. It must be noted that a Lotus Notes archive file can only be opened in Lotus Notes application. If you want to open your Lotus Notes emails in Outlook, you need to use an NSF to PST converter tool.   

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