FAQs on IBM Lotus Notes 8.5

Karen Hooper

November 2010


IBM Lotus Notes 8.5 User Guide

IBM Lotus Notes 8.5 User Guide

A practical hands-on user guide with time saving tips and comprehensive instructions for using Lotus Notes effectively and efficiently

  • Understand and master the features of Lotus Notes and put them to work in your business quickly
  • Contains comprehensive coverage of new Lotus Notes 8.5 features
  • Includes easy-to-follow real-world examples with plenty of screenshots to clearly demonstrate how to get the most out of Lotus Notes
  • Packed with expert tips and best practices, for using business e-mail, calendars and other Lotus Notes applications for efficient business communication
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Q: What is a Lotus Notes application?

A Lotus Notes application is similar in concept and function to a Microsoft Access database just like Lotus Notes mail is similar to Microsoft Outlook and other mail systems such as Gmail.

An application or database is a container of data (hence the name database). Data can also be known as a record or in Lotus Notes language as a document. The documents within the Lotus Notes application can be displayed in various ways, manipulated by actions and workflow, and can store a variety of data such as text, rich text and files.

Q: What is the use of the Sort Member List when we create a group?

A: When we create a group, there is Sort Member List button that assists in viewing the members of the group as they are placed in alphabetical order.

Q: Which are the options available with the More action button?

A: There are more options available when we click on the More button. From this menu we can select:

  • Preferences: From this area, we can set defaults for our Calendar including setting times for our schedule, enabling alarms, setting favorite rooms, and giving access to our calendar to others.
  • Out of Office: We can enable this to inform people of our absence. We can now allow a person whom we have given access to our mail to enable this on our behalf.
  • Import Holidays: We need to select this option to import holidays that have been configured by our IT Department.
  • Open Person's Calendar: Allows us to select a name so that we can open their calendar if we have been granted access.
  • Create Group Calendars: From here we can create new group calendars or alternatively view any group calendars that we have created.
  • Calendar Cleanup: It is a tool to assist with safely deleting past calendar entries including past repeating entries.

Q: What is ACL?

A: ACL is an Access Control List. The access control list is all about security. It has a list of people's names or groups with different levels of access to the application.

Q: What are the different levels in the ACL?

A: The different levels are:

  • Manager: This is like the owner of the application. As a manager one can edit the access control list and add, rename, and remove members. We can also change the level of access for members. A manager can also delete the application. This is the highest level of access and it incorporates all the other access levels.
  • Designer: As the name implies a person with this level of access can make design changes to the application. If a new view is required a person with designer access would be able to create that new view.
  • Editor: With this level of access we can typically create and edit any document within the application.
  • Author: An author can create documents but can only edit the documents that they create.
  • Reader: Can only read documents.
  • Depositor: This role can only add documents. This level of access is used for applications designed for voting or questionnaires, and so on. In such applications, we just enter our information—for example, we submit the form and can't read anyone else's information, or our own information once submitted.

The following is an example of an Access Control List. The yellow highlighted area is the available levels of access.

Q: What is a Replica in Lotus Notes?

A replica is a special copy of a Lotus Notes application that synchronizes with another replica, exchanging data so that they become the same. When we access our mail at the office, we typically open our mail on a server. To work offline we need to create a copy of our mail locally on our computer. That copy needs to be able to synchronize so that any mail that we received at the office can be copied to our mail on our computer and any messages that we have sent or filed locally are copied back to our mail on the server.

In Lotus Notes this copy is called a replica because it has the ability to synchronize documents between other Notes applications—sending documents to other replicas and receiving from other replicas. To create the replica, we need to open the application on the server such as our mail and select the Make Available Offline option.

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Q: What is Replication in Lotus Notes?

A: Replication is the process of synchronizing documents and updates between replica applications. When replication (also known as synchronization) occurs between two replicas, documents and changes are compared in each replica. If a new document such as an e-mail message is in one replica and not the other, the replicator will create it in the latter. The replicator's job is to send and receive any changes that have been made so that both replicas are the same. To use mail as an example, changes could be a new message, a newly created folder, filing of messages, or a repeating calendar entry being changed.

Q: What is a Mobile directory in Lotus Notes?

A: This is a special copy of the Corporate Directory that contains all the personnel within our organization. If we have the mobile directory available to us on our PC when we are sending a message, we will be able to look for names in our Contacts and the Corporate Directory. If we do not have a Mobile Directory, then we will not be able to see the Corporate Directory only our Contacts. It may have a different name such as Mobile Directory or DirCat. It is special because it is lightweight in size and typically quick to replicate. It does not contain all the details that the Corporate Directory does, such as group membership, as this is how it remains lightweight.

Q: What is the function Block Mail from Sender used for?

A: Many times we receive unwanted e-mails. We can block these e-mails by adding them to the Junk; this function is called Block Mail from Sender. This feature allows us to filter incoming messages and move those from specific senders directly to Junk so that they bypass our inbox. We can use this function in all mail views and folders except for Sent, Rules, Stationery, and Follow Up.

Q: How to disable the Out of Office feature?

A: By default the Out of Office feature will automatically disabled itself; however, in some organizations, we will be required to disable the Out of Office manually as it has not been enabled to run as a service. If we do need to disable it ourselves, the Out of Office will send us a reminder to do so.

  • Open mail or calendar.
  • Above the message list, click More | Out of Office.
  • Click Disable and Close.

Q: What is Lotus Symphony?

A: Lotus Symphony is an office productivity suite that allows us to create, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It is provided free of charge by IBM and can be downloaded and installed as a standalone product; however, we will be exploring the integrated version of Symphony, which is within Lotus Notes. When we install Lotus Notes, we can select to install the productivity tools called Lotus Symphony.

Q: What file format does the Lotus Symphony support? Why is it important?

A: Lotus Symphony supports the Open Document Format (ODF). ODF is important and valuable because it provides choice, cost effectiveness, and control over the use of our documents and the intellectual property they contain. ODF enables efficient interchange of information between various parts of an organization and between organizations. This is a great asset as we no longer need to worry that a recipient of our documents won't be able to open them.

Q: What is a Template oraganiser?

A: Within Lotus Notes there is a Template Organizer where, as the name implies, we can organize our templates! The Template Organizer works with libraries that are designated folders on our local file system containing template files we can import into the Template Organizer. By default, there are some presentation templates supplied, which reside in the Default Template Library.

Q: What is the time frame for file recovery in Lotus Notes?

A: The default time frame is 10 minutes and it will display nine open files.

Q: Where can Widgets be utilized?

A: Widgets, can be utilized as a business tools that provide information. The type of information provided depends on the widgets we have installed. Some examples of widgets are LinkedIn and Google Maps. However, there are countless variations of widgets available with a variety of purposes and uses. The following is a sample list:

  • World clocks
  • Local and world weather
  • Gas comparison
  • Stock prices
  • NBA playoffs
  • Facebook
  • FedEx/US track
  • Dictionary and thesaurus
  • Wikipedia search
  • Zip code search
  • Currency converter
  • Learning plugin for IBM Lotus Notes


In this article we have answered the frequently asked questions on IBM Lotus Notes version 8.5

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