Tip: Lotus Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes interoperability: I want my doclinks!

What could be more useful than Lotus Notes doclinks? This tip explains how you can extend Notes doclink functionality to Microsoft Outlook.

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Felicia Sienkiewicz, Test Team Lead, IBM

Felicia Sienkiewicz is the Test Team Lead for the Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook project. She’s been on the Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook team since April, 2004. Felicia has been with Lotus/IBM since March of 1999, and has also worked on the Enterprise Integration team.



17 January 2006

One convenient feature of Lotus Notes mail is the ability to send links that bring the recipient user directly to a specific document or database when the link is clicked. Microsoft Outlook does not natively offer this type of functionality. However, there are methods that allow you to use Notes document and/or database links when sending a document from Lotus Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook. This tip describes these methods. One uses tables, and the other uses file attachments.

Sending document links via tables

To take advantage of this method, Outlook users must configure their Outlook clients to use Microsoft Word to both edit email messages and read Rich Text messages. In Outlook 2003, do this through the Mail Format tab in the Options dialog (see figure 1).

Figure 1. Mail Format tab in Outlook
Mail Format tab in Outlook

For Outlook 2000, the only option you need to set is to use Microsoft Word to edit messages. Messages can be composed in either HTML or Rich Text.

To copy and paste a Notes doclink into an Outlook document, open Notes and select one or more documents in your database. Then right-click while the pointer is over the list of documents. You will see the menu shown in figure 2.

Figure 2. Copy Selected as Table option
Copy Selected as Table option

Select 'Copy Selected as Table'. Then open the document you are composing in Outlook (such as an email or meeting invitation), and paste (CTRL-V) the selected items. They will be displayed as shown in figure 3.

Figure 3. Links in Outlook
Links in Outlook

For the recipient, the links will be active and clickable, regardless of which client (Notes or Outlook) in which that the document is received.

Sending database or document links via a file attachment

Our second method lets you create and send both document and database links using a file attachment.

To send a database link, from within Notes, right-click on the database you want to link to, and choose Database -- Copy as Link. This copies the database link information to your clipboard. Next, open a text editor such as Notepad, and paste the information from your clipboard into the new Notepad document. It will look something like figure 4.

Figure 4. Database link information
Database link information

Save this file with a name that will make sense for the recipient, and change the file extension from TXT to NDL. This indicates that the file is a Notes document or database link. Next, from within the document you are composing in Outlook, insert this NDL file. The link will display as an attachment for the recipient. When the recipient double-clicks the attachment and opens it, the link will open the database that it links to.

Sending a document link via the attachment method is similar to sending a database link: Right-click on a document, and choose Copy as Document Link. Paste the information into a text file, and save it as an NDL file. Then send the file in Outlook as an attachment.

This second method works best for sending single or individual database and document links. The first method allows you to select many documents, and quickly send them as links, in a table format.

Resources

  • Find out more about Lotus Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook by visiting its product page.
  • Participate in developerWorks blogs and get involved in the developerWorks community.

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