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What is NSF File and How to Open & Access It

Published By Nilesh Kumar
Debasish Pramanik
Approved By Debasish Pramanik
Published On January 24th, 2024
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading
Category Lotus Notes

NSF file which is also known as (Notes Storage Facility) is an extension file format used by IBM Notes Software which is formally known as Lotus Notes. Basically, it defines the schema to store the data such as emails, appointments, documents, and other data.

Basically, the NSF files are binary in nature and consist of File Header, Database Header along with that it also consists Superblock, Bucket descriptor block, Bitmap, Record Relocation Vector bucket, Summary bucket, and Non-summary bucket.

The best about the NSF file is that it can be encrypted in many ways such as Filed Encryption, Port Encryption, Document Encryption, Database Encryption, and Mail Encryption.

Now after knowing all about the NSF let’s find out where is the location of the NSF file in your machine.

Location of the NSF Files Based on OS

Well, the location of the NSF file is totally dependent on the Operating System you are using. And also remember that NSF files are stored locally as well as on the server.

Windows 7, 8, 10: C\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Lotus\Notes\Data

Mac OS: Library/Application Support/Lotus Notes Data

Linux: /{$HOME}/Lotus/Notes/Data

Now, after knowing the location of NSF files let’s find out what are the types of NSF files.

Types of NSF Files

Mailbox NSF File – Well, Mailbox.nsf stores emails, tasks, calendar, etc. And the location of this file is also local or server-based. This file stores lots of data, which is why after a point, it can become large-sized and reach the Quota size set in Lotus Notes. When that happens, the application may display error messages such as:

Names.nsf – This NSF file contains data from a personal address book, such as contacts, locales, and so on. This file is created automatically in the Notes folder.

Other NSF Files – These are supplementary NSF files that include information such as stored bookmarks, web browser information, and so on. There are a variety of file types, such as,

  • Bookmark.nsf – It stores the information about saved bookmarks.
  • Internet.nsf – It contains Lotus Notes newsgroup subscription.
  • Perweb.nsf – It saves all data about the web browser.
  • Headline.nsf – It saves data about the Database subscriptions information.
  • Busytime.nsf – It saves all data about local free time subscriptions.

Now, after knowing all about the NSF files, everyone wants to know how to open or access NSF files. So, in the upcoming section, we are going to discuss how to access the access NSF file in Lotus Notes.

How to Access NSF Files in Lotus Notes

Here in this section, we will explain to you the steps to access the NSF files in Lotus Notes. So, follow the steps.

1. Open IBM Notes and go to the File Menu

2. Now, choose Database and then Open.

3. After that select the server where the NSF file is Located or if the file is saved locally then select local

4. Navigate to the NSF location and click on the Open button.

Next, we will also discuss the method to open Lotus Notes .nsf with applications other than Notes. Also, if you want to access the data in Microsoft Outlook, you can convert NSF files to PST easily.

How to Open NSF Files With Other Applications

Well, if we talk about the manual method to open NSF file without Lotus Notes, then there is no method available that helps you to do so. And the reason behind this is that Lotus Notes is very secure and encrypted so you cannot open this file.

Now to solve this you have only one option left is to convert the NSF files to some other file format. Now, Lotus Notes gives you the option to save Lotus Notes emails as EML files.

So if you want an EML file then you can use the Lotus Notes export option. But there is a catch in this process that you can only save individual emails at once which makes this method so time-winded.

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Now, to make this task easy you can try the NSF Extractor Utility, this gives you different options to extract NSF data into different file formats. This tool gives you options such as PDF, MSG, EML, vCard HTML, ICS, CSV, TXT.

Along with this, the tool also provides the option to maintain the data integrity and date filter. Also, the tool comes with advanced conversion options such as HTML, Formatting, Internet Header, Header Doclink, Folder Hierarchy.

Also Read: How to Open Lotus Notes NSF Files in Outlook

HCL Notes Tips & Tricks

Here is a list of errors in Notes application with solutions defined in dedicated articles:


Well, this is the end of the write-up here we have tried to discuss all the what is NSF files and how to access them. In fact, here in this blog, we have also discussed how to open NSF files without Lotus Notes, if it is possible or not.


By Nilesh Kumar

As a Chief Technical Writer, I know the technical issues faced by home and professional users. So, I decided to share all my knowledge via this blog. I love to help you with challenges while dealing with technical jargon.