Read time 8 minutes

Summary: Discover how to effortlessly open and view NSF files even without HCL Notes installed on your system. This blog post explores both manual and automated methods for accessing NSF files, with a focus on the convenience of automated solutions. It introduces Kernel NSF Viewer Free, a tool that simplifies the process, allowing users to view NSF files for free and offering the option to convert them to Outlook-compatible formats with the full version.

HCL Notes, formerly known as IBM Notes, is a trusted email client that ensures secure communication with colleagues and professional contacts. Mailbox data is stored in NSF format, accessible exclusively within HCL Notes. However, during instances of HCL Notes downtime, accessing mailboxes becomes impossible. Converting them to PST format allows easy access in Outlook, without the need for an account. It’s essential to understand the various reasons behind HCL Notes unavailability before initiating the conversion process.

Reasons to Open NSF Files Without HCL Notes

  • Due to higher installation and maintenance cost
  • It requires a lot of RAM to store NSF mailboxes
  • Due to the poor server support
  • Notes server is down or other related issue
  • Application is not installed on the current system
  • Orphan NSF files are received from some external resource & Notes application is not installed
  • Market trends; switch to other organizations, mergers/acquisitions, etc.
  • Due to the segmented file structure and large database size, the backups are slow
How to Open NSF files in Outlook?

Microsoft Outlook, renowned for its user-friendliness, stands as one of the most widely used email platforms. The good news is, if you have Outlook installed on your system and wish to open an NSF file within it, you can seamlessly achieve this compatibility!

Instant Solution

Download automated tool Kernel NSF Viewer to open and view NSF file without using HCL Notes.

How to do it Manually?

To access an NSF file in Outlook, it must be converted to the compatible PST format. This conversion involves an export and import procedure. Firstly, you need HCL Notes installed to export the files. Subsequently, Outlook’s Import/Export feature allows you to import the CSV file, effectively transitioning the data into Outlook.

The two stages included in this procedure are:

  1. Exporting NSF files to CSV file
  2. Importing CSV file to Outlook application

How to Export NSF files to CSV?

  1. Start HCL Notes on your system and click on Open.
  2. Click on File and in the menu choose Export.
  3. Now, select a destination for your file, after the selection from the drop down select Comma Separated Value or Structure Text.
  4. Give a name to your file and click on Export.
  5. Once the process is completed successfully, you will get either of these two; CSV or a Structured Text Export screen.
  6. Select the option as per your requirement provide the saving path location and click on Ok.

So, this is how you export files from HCL Notes; now you need to import these files to Outlook.

How to Import HCL Files to Outlook

  1. Launch the Outlook application installed on your system.
  2. Start with clicking on the File option.
  3. Click on Open & Export and select Import/Export from the options Import/Export
  4. Now, select the Import from another program or file option from the list of ‘c’ and click on Next.Choose an action to perform
  5. On the next window ‘Import a file’, select Comma Separated Values and click on Next.Comma Separated Values
  6. Next, you need to click on the Browse button and select the exported CSV files. In the options section, you will see three options, selected the preferred one and click on Next.Select the exported CSV files
  7. Now select a destination from your PST file and click on a destination
  8. Once the process is completed, click on the Finish button.Finish The process

After performing these steps successfully, you will be able to open the exported files in Outlook. This manual solution to open and view NSF files using the Import and Export feature is a long process and definitely requires the installation of HCL Notes on your system.

How to Open and View NSF file with Kernel NSF Viewer?

“For a smoother and faster experience, consider installing Kernel NSF Viewer Free. This tool enables you to effortlessly open, view, and convert NSF files without requiring HCL Notes on your system. Follow these easy steps: Download the software from the official website, install it, and launch the application on your system.

  1. Start with clicking on Add Local NSF Files(s).Add Local NSF Files
  2. Now select the desired NSF files and click on the files
  3. Now, select the file and click on on Preview
  4. Select the particular file item for the preview.Select the particular file
  5. So, you have seen the direct 3 step process to open and view the NSF files mailbox content via Kernel NSF Viewer application.


NSF is the proprietary database file format of HCL Notes, which has limited compatibility with other applications. To open and view an NSF file in Outlook, the methods mentioned above are effective. While the manual method works, the automated approach is recommended for its simplicity and convenience. The advanced software discussed in this blog offers a trial version for free NSF file viewing, while the full version enables Lotus Notes NSF to Outlook conversion , allowing you to save the converted files on your system.

Benefits of Software
  • The software provides preview of all the presentable items of mailbox.
  • It does not change the hierarchy of folders.
  • It can open unlimited number of NSF files.
  • It also shows the hidden folders in NSF files.
  • The read/unread status of emails is not changed if you view them in the software.
  • It can open NSF files created from any version of IBM Notes.
Kernel for Lotus Notes to Outlook