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Moving from Microsoft® Outlook to IBM® Lotus® Notes® for end users

Hansraj Mali

Technical Advisor, IBM Software Group Lotus Notes/Domino Mail & Messaging Team IBM Pune, India

February 2009

© Copyright International Business Machines Corporation 2008. All rights reserved.

Abstract: This white paper is intended for former Microsoft® Outlook users who have moved to IBM® Lotus® Notes® 8. It describes the functionalities of Lotus Notes, mapping these features from those of Microsoft Outlook and describing how to customize Lotus Notes to deliver a user experience comparable with that of Microsoft Outlook.

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Contents

 

1 Introduction

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2 Elements of Lotus Notes

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3 Comparing basic features

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3.1

Home Page

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3.1.1 Customizing your Home Page

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3.2 Using the Open list

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3.3 Searching

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3.4 Notes sidebar

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3.5 Tabs

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3.5.2 Closing a grouped tab

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4 Exploring Lotus Notes

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4.1 Mail window

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4.2 Mail Action bar

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4.3 Addressing your message

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4.4 Organizing messages

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4.5 Attachments

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4.6 Flagging messages

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4.7 Message recall

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5 Maintaining Contacts information

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5.1 Navigation pane

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5.2 Creating a New Contact

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5.3 Creating a group

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6 Calendar

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6.1 Main Calendar page

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6.2 Creating a new calendar entry

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6.3 Quick Check your calendar

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6.4 Checking others’ calendars

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6.5 Viewing dates in the future

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7 Preferences

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8 IBM Lotus Sametime

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9 Widgets and Live Text

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10 IBM Lotus Quickr

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11 Lotus Notes Help and IBM Support Assistant

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11.1 Using Help

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11.2 IBM Support Assistant

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12 Conclusion

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13 Resources

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14 About the author

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Introduction

Migrating from one application to another can be difficult and time consuming. However, by reviewing the new application’s features, you can quickly orient yourself to tools with which you may already be familiar and explore new tools that can help you maintain or even improve your productivity.

The IBM Lotus Notes 8.0.1 and 8.5 user interface provides easy access to all the tools you need to be more effective in your communications. If you are a former Microsoft Outlook 2003/2007 user, after completing the steps in this paper, you should be able to map the features in Lotus Notes 8 to the features you used in Outlook, accelerating your migration to (and familiarity with) the Notes client.

2 Elements of Lotus Notes

The Lotus Notes user interface is illustrated in figure 1.

Figure 1. Elements of Lotus Notes UI

in figure 1. Figure 1. Elements of Lotus Notes UI NOTE: The information in this section

NOTE: The information in this section is from the IBM Lotus Domino and Notes Information Center.

Navigator. The navigator displays the views and folders that are available in the currently opened application. For example, in your Calendar, you can choose from several views, such as One Day or One Week. In your Mail application, you can create folders to organize your messages.

Menus. The menu bar displays menu choices that apply to an application or document. There is a standard set of menus, plus optional menus that change depending on the

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application. There is also a set of advanced menus that you can enable (View > Advanced Menus). Context menus appear when you right-click an object (a message, for example) or area.

Toolbars. Toolbars are made up of buttons. You can set Toolbar Preferences to specify which toolbars display, and you can add or remove buttons from each toolbar.

Action bar. Each window tab optionally includes an action bar, specific to the application or document open in the Window tab. Action bars may include icons and text, or be composed of text only. Items on the action bar are also available from the Action menu.

Icons. Icons display throughout Lotus Notes. To see a description of an icon, move the mouse pointer over the icon.

View pane. The contents of what you select in the navigator display in the view pane.

Window tab. Each tab displays a page. As you work, you can open multiple tabbed pages. If the row of tabs exceeds the width of your screen, left and right scroll icons display that you can use to access tabs that are out of view. Alternatively, you can set a Windows and Themes user preference to group documents in a single tab.

Status bar. The status bar displays action buttons and messages about current status and activity.

Open list. Click the Open button for a list that includes your Lotus Notes applications, bookmarks, folders, IBM Lotus Symphony™ Documents, Presentations, and Spreadsheets, and your workspace. Right-click Open and select Dock the Open List, to display icons down the left side of the window.

Preview pane. The preview pane displays a preview of a selected message or calendar entry. You can display the preview pane vertically, beside the view pane (the default), or horizontally, underneath the view pane. You can also hide the preview pane.

Home Page. The home page (previously called the Welcome page) is the first item that appears if you do not have a view set to open when you first launch Lotus Notes. The default home page gives you a central location from which to access your Mail, Calendar, Contacts, To Do list, Personal Journal, and productivity tools.

Switcher menu. You access the switcher menu by clicking the small menu icon located in the upper-right corner of your navigator. Use this menu to switch to another application, for example, to switch from Mail to To Do or to Calendar.

Sidebar. The sidebar gives you easy access to Lotus Sametime® Contacts, Calendar, a Feed Reader, and Activities, depending on how your administrator has set up your Lotus Notes account. You can collapse the sidebar to a thin bar showing icons only (the default), or hide it.

Search. Search appears at the top right of the toolbar. You can use Search for a Notes- style search or a Web-style search. You set a user preference to enable Yahoo!™ Search or Google™ Web Search.

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3 Comparing basic features

Let’s begin by comparing some basic features of Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes.

3.1 Home Page

When you start Microsoft Outlook, you begin in your Inbox folder, whereas Lotus Notes 8 opens to your Home Page, from which you can launch any application you need (see figure 2).

Open an application by clicking the associated icon, or quickly create a new entry in any of the applications by clicking the New button for the application of your choice.

Figure 2. Default Home Page

Launch New Application Application
Launch
New
Application
Application

3.1.1 Customizing your Home Page

You can customize your Home Page options to match your personal preferences by clicking the Home Page options arrow (see figure 3). The current Home Page selection displays in the drop-down list, which contains pre-configured Home Page options.

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Figure 3. Home Page options

Click here to customize Default Home page
Click here to
customize Default
Home page

You can select from these pre-designed options or customize your Home Page to match your preferences, using the Create a new Home Page button (see figure 4).

Figure 4. Create a new Home Page button

Click here to create new Home page
Click here to create
new Home page

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Figure 5 shows an example of a customized Home Page.

Figure 5. Customized Home Page

TO DO Inbox Web Link Calendar
TO DO
Inbox
Web Link
Calendar

3.2 Using the Open list

In the top left-hand corner of the window is the Open button (see figure 6). Clicking it gives you access to all the information available from a Lotus Notes client, including email, Calendar and Contacts, Web pages, rich text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. The Open list has a context-sensitive search field; simply typing part of an application’s name causes it to appear on a shortened list.

Figure 6. Open list

field; simply typing part of an application’s name causes it to appear on a shortened list.

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In addition, you can right-click on the Open button to convert the Open list to Dock list format (see figure 7).

Figure 7. Dock list

to Dock list format (see figure 7). Figure 7. Dock list 3.3 Searching Microsoft Outlook is

3.3 Searching

Microsoft Outlook is a mail, calendar, and contacts client with which you can search your mail, calendar, and contacts entries. Lotus Notes 8, on the other hand, can be used to view many more types of information.

For example, the Search Center interface (see figure 8) lets you search your mail, calendar, contacts, applications, and even the Web, from one search location. It is context sensitive. If you are in your Mail, it will search that by default; when you switch to your calendar, it will search that.

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Figure 8. Search view

Click here to search in a application
Click here to search in a
application

Figures 9 and 10 show examples of Recent Searches and an Internet search from a Notes client, respectively.

Figure 9. Recent Searches

Search String Search result
Search String
Search result

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Figure 10. Internet Search from a Notes client

Google search from Lotus Notes
Google search from Lotus Notes

3.4 Notes sidebar

Figure 11 shows the Notes client sidebar, from which you can get quick access to IBM Lotus Sametime® instant messaging, a day-at-a-glance view of your calendar, RSS news feeds, Quickr Places, and a quick view of your collaborative activities. Other sidebar plug-ins can be added, including My Widgets, Google gadgets, and third-party plug-ins.

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Figure 11. Notes sidebar

Sidebar
Sidebar

3.5 Tabs

Microsoft Outlook uses a Navigation pane for quick access to applications such as Mail, Calendar, and Contacts. The Navigation pane varies depending on the application you’re in.

Lotus Notes uses tabs along the top of the Home Page (see figure 12) for easy access to open applications and documents—the same model used by Web browsers.

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Figure 12. Notes Client tabs

Windows Tabs
Windows Tabs

3.5.1 Grouped tabs

You can set a user preference so that window tabs are opened in groups, instead of each individual document opening in an new window tab.

With grouped window tabs, when you open a Notes application, a window tab opens. Then, each document you open from that application opens in the same window tab. A number in the window tab tells you how many open documents are grouped in the window tab.

To select one of the open documents, select from the number list (see figure 13). To return to the primary view of an application, click the window tab.

Figure 13. Window tab

Figure 13. Grouped tabs
Figure 13. Grouped tabs

3.5.2 Closing a grouped tab

To close the active open tab, click the red X at the end of the window tab row, making sure your focus is on the tab you want to close before you click the X (see figure 14).

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Figure 14. Closing a tab

Figure 14. Closing a tab 4 Exploring Lotus Notes Email is an essential part of conducting

4 Exploring Lotus Notes

Email is an essential part of conducting business. Lotus Notes 8 has tools and features that can help you communicate more effectively and provide you with more control over the information you send.

4.1 Mail window

The overall appearance of the mail application is similar in layout to that of Microsoft Outlook (see figure 15):

The Navigation pane along the left-hand side of the window lets you select the view you want to appear in the main view.

In the Follow Up pane (in the bottom-left corner of the screen) you can quickly access items you’ve flagged for follow up and remove the flag when you’ve finished.

Figure 15. Mail window Toolbar Action Bar Preview Pane Follow up Pane Navigator pane
Figure 15. Mail window
Toolbar
Action Bar
Preview Pane
Follow up Pane
Navigator pane

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The toolbar across the top provides similar functions as those in Microsoft Outlook. In addition, you can skip ahead in your view to the previous or next unread message and, with your cursor on the toolbar, you can right-click and customize your toolbar with those options you need most (see figure 16).

Figure 16. Customize toolbar

Right click on Toolbar to customized
Right click on Toolbar to customized

4.2 Mail Action bar

The Action bar changes automatically, depending on the application you are in, enabling you to quickly find options that are specific to that application. You can use the Action bar to create a new message, reply to or forward a message, and flag a message for follow up (see figure 17).

Figure 17. Action bar

Move Document to Folder Show Unread Mails Click Here to Create New Message Follow Up
Move Document to
Folder
Show Unread
Mails
Click Here to Create
New Message
Follow Up Flag

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In the Calendar, the Action bar provides the ability to create a new meeting, appointment and to import holidays.

You use the Show button (in the upper-right corner) to select preferences for viewing messages. Options include displaying preview panes (both on the bottom and the side of the Inbox), viewing unread messages only, and viewing conversations or individual messages.

4.2.1 Conversations

One of the more innovative features of Notes 8 is something called conversations. To understand this feature, it's helpful to think about how we communicate in everyday life. If I have a conversation with someone, I'll usually end that conversation before starting a new one. This may sound obvious, but it's a contradiction to what goes on in our Inbox every day.

If we look at email communications as conversations, it quickly becomes clear that it differs from how we would communicate with someone if they were standing in front of us. We hold multiple conversations in our Inbox and try to follow each as they transpire.

Imagine trying to have a dozen people in front of you and holding a conversation with each one at the same time. This is what we do through email every day. To make things worse, the responses are not ordered sequentially. Email is a great way to communicate with colleagues, but it is difficult to manage because the response to our conversations are scattered throughout our Inbox.

Lotus Notes 8 makes this much easier by gathering the various conversations, allowing us to see the entire conversation in sequence (see figure 18).

Figure 18. Example of a Conversation

(see figure 18). Figure 18. Example of a Conversation 4.3 Addressing your message Lotus Notes 8

4.3 Addressing your message

Lotus Notes 8 keeps track of the people that you communicate with most often and moves those names to the top of your type-ahead list (see figure 19). Instead of being sorted in alphabetical order, the type-ahead list is sorted based on the people with whom you most often interact. If you've never sent a message to Ted Johnson in Atlanta or Ted Jones, they won't appear on the list, eliminating the possibility of choosing them by mistake.

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Figure 19. Addressing your message

Address Lookup
Address Lookup

It's a simple concept, really, based on the premise that the people with whom you are most likely to collaborate in the future are those with whom you have collaborated in the past. It's a feature called Recent Contacts, and it's also used when sending meeting invitations. One of the best attributes is that the Recent Contact list is stored locally, along with your other Contacts (don't worry, it doesn't take up much space).

That means that when you're on an airplane or otherwise disconnected from the network, your Recent Contacts are still there. Once you've stopped collaborating with a person for some time, they fall off the list, making room for someone else that you're more likely to collaborate with in the future.

4.4 Organizing messages

Just as in Microsoft Outlook, you can create folders to organize and store your important messages in Lotus Notes. Simply right-click the folders icon in the Navigation pane to create new folders.

You can click the folder icon on the Action bar to move messages to a folder (see figure 20), or simply drag and drop them into the proper folder. The Action bar icon can also be used to remove them from a folder and create new folders.

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Figure 20. Move To Folder dialog box

Select Folder
Select Folder
Figure 20. Move To Folder dialog box Select Folder Click here to create New Folder Select

Click here to create New Folder

Select Folder and click on Move button

4.5 Attachments

Adding an attachment to a message in Lotus Notes 8 is similar to the process used in Microsoft Outlook. To do this, just click the paper clip button (see figure 21).

Figure 21. Attachment paper clip button

Click here to add attachment
Click here to add
attachment

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The Create Attachments window opens, from which you can select a file in the current folder or browse to the folder that contains the file you need (see figure 22).

Figure 22. Create Attachments window

need (see figure 22). Figure 22. Create Attachments window 4.6 Flagging messages To quickly flag a

4.6 Flagging messages

To quickly flag a message for follow up, just click the Flag icon button (see figure 23). The message will be flagged and added to the Follow Up pane.

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Figure 23. Flag button and Follow Up pane

Follow up Flag Follow up Icon Follow up Pane
Follow up Flag
Follow up
Icon
Follow up Pane

4.7 Message recall

As in Microsoft Outlook, message recall is readily accessible in Lotus Notes 8. Simply go to your Sent folder and select the message you want recalled. Click the Recall Message button and select the recipients from which you want to recall the message. A Message Recall Report will be sent to you to confirm the status of the recall (see figures 24—26).

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Figure 24. Recall Message button

Click on Click on Recall Message Select Sent View Message
Click on
Click on Recall Message
Select
Sent
View
Message

Figure 25. Select Recipients to recall from

button Click on Click on Recall Message Select Sent View Message Figure 25. Select Recipients to

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Figure 26. Recall Message report

Figure 26. Recall Message report 5 Maintaining Contacts information The Notes 8 Contacts page uses a

5 Maintaining Contacts information

The Notes 8 Contacts page uses a Navigation pane and a toolbar like the Notes mail application (see figure 27). The Action bar provides a quick way to create a new contact, edit a current contact, and search for specific contacts. The Action bar also lets you schedule a meeting, send a message, or start a chat by highlighting a contact and pressing the appropriate button on the Action bar.

Figure 27. Contacts page

Contact Action Bar Contacts
Contact
Action Bar
Contacts

5.1 Navigation pane

Lotus Notes 8 can sort your contact information in many of the same ways you were able to sort your Outlook contacts. The My Contacts view is easily sorted alphabetically,

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by Recent Contacts, by Groups, by categories that you deem important, and by company. The Navigation pane also lets you sort your contact information by Birthdays & Anniversaries (see figure 28). All these sorting options also have a variety of viewing options.

Figure 28. Navigation pane

Navigation Pane
Navigation Pane

5.2 Creating a New Contact

To create a new contact, click the New button on the Action bar, select Contact, and then enter all your contact information on the New Contact page (see figure 29). By clicking the Photo button, you can add a photo of the contact to give you a visual reminder. You can also create a Contact by adding the sender of an email to the address book from the context (that is, right-click) menu.

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Figure 29. New Contact page

Figure 29. New Contact page Click here to insert Photo in New contact 5.3 Creating a

Click here to insert Photo in New contact

5.3 Creating a group

Create a group by clicking the New button on the Action bar and entering a group name and description (see figure 30).

Figure 30. Creating a new group

Click here to create new Group
Click here to
create new Group

To add members to the group, click the Members link (see figure 31) to have ready access to your contacts and to add them to your group.

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Figure 31. Add Members from address books

Click here to add members in Group
Click here to add
members in Group

6 Calendar

Let’s now discuss how the rich calendaring application in Notes 8 helps you manage your time more effectively.

6.1 Main Calendar page

The Main Calendar page provides a view of your schedule (see figure 32). Like the other applications we’ve discussed so far, the Navigation pane is along the left side of the Calendar page. The toolbar is also similar to the other applications and can be customized to your particular needs. The Navigation pane features a view selection that can be adjusted to one of five different possible views.

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Figure 32. Main Calendar page

Action Bar Meeting Document TO DO Navigation bar
Action Bar
Meeting Document
TO DO
Navigation bar

6.2 Creating a new calendar entry

To create a new calendar entry, click New on the Action bar, select the calendar entry you want (see figure 33), and then complete the Calendar Entry page (see figure 34).

Figure 33. Creating a new Calendar entry

Click here to create new Meeting
Click here to create new
Meeting

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Figure 34. New Calendar entry page

Calendar Action Bar
Calendar Action Bar

6.3 Quick Check your calendar

With Lotus Notes 8, you are able to check your calendar while you’re scheduling a meeting. When you click the Check Calendar button from within the Meeting Creation window, another screen opens displaying your schedule (see figure 35), so that you can quickly finish the scheduling process.

Figure 35. Check Calendar

your schedule (see figure 35), so that you can quickly finish the scheduling process. Figure 35.

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6.4

Checking others’ calendars

Lotus Notes 8 provides a quick and easy way for you to determine if others are available to attend a meeting or appointment. To do this, after opening a new calendar entry and entering the names of those you would like to invite, click the Find Available Times tab in the lower-left of the screen (see figure 36). A coordinated view of schedules for all those you’ve invited displays.

Figure 36. Find Available Times tab

invited displays. Figure 36. Find Available Times tab The green highlighted area is the time you

The green highlighted area is the time you initially proposed. If there is a conflict, the column will be red, indicating that an attendee has a conflict. To explore different times, simply click and drag the highlighted area to another time on the schedule. When everyone is free, the column will turn green.

6.5 Viewing dates in the future

To quickly look at dates in the future, simply click the month or year in the Navigation pane. You can also click the right and left arrows that surround the month and year in the calendar to move forward or back one month at a time (see figure 37).

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Figure 37. View future date

Click here to see future date
Click here to see
future date

7 Preferences

Among the many additional features of Lotus Notes 8 is Preferences. You can access all preferences settings by selecting File > Preferences from the main menu (see figure 38).

Figure 38. Preferences menu

Click here to open Preferences
Click here to open
Preferences

The Preferences screen displays. Here we’ve highlighted the example of the Windows and Themes option, in which the “Open each document in its own tab” option is selected (see figure 39).

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Figure 39. Open document in new Window

Window Management Click here to select Theme
Window Management
Click here to select
Theme

If you are not sure where to find the preference settings you are looking for, use the new filtering ability at the top of the list of preferences to quickly pinpoint the preference that matches your search criteria (see figure 40).

Figure 40. Preferences window

that matches your search criteria (see figure 40). Figure 40. Preferences window Click here to search
that matches your search criteria (see figure 40). Figure 40. Preferences window Click here to search

Click here to search Preferences

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NOTE: Sections 8—10 below are taken from the IBM Lotus Domino and Notes Information Center.

8 IBM Lotus Sametime

Lotus Sametime instant messaging software gives you quick and easy access to your coworkers. It's simple and versatile so that you can work with colleagues in whatever way suits your needs.

First, you create a contact list that is displayed in the Notes sidebar. A contact list contains the names of people with which you want to be in touch. From the contact list you can do the following tasks:

See each person's availability status, whether the person is online and available, logged off, and so forth.

Hover the mouse over a name to see information about that person, including photograph and telephone number.

Right-click a name whose status is available to display a menu of tasks that you can perform for that person.

Organize the contact list names into groups and lists that are meaningful to you.

9 Widgets and Live Text

The Widgets and Live Text feature enables end users to see and act on automatically recognized Live Text in a Notes document, using widgets created specifically for their use. For example, a user can see a specially highlighted Live Text string (for example, a flight number) and instantly act on it (for example, look up a flight status) by opening a third-party flight status widget that is linked to that Live Text.

Widgets and Live Text also enables power users and administrators to create and edit widgets, and deploy them to users to engage a Notes form, view, or document, or third- party services such as Web page, feed, or Google Gadget .

10 IBM Lotus Quickr

Lotus Quickr is team collaboration software that’s used to share content. Lotus Quickr works inside and outside firewalls and is essentially composed of three elements:

Content stores or repositories, where you store your personal and team content

Team Collaboration, which let you store, organize, access, and share content and team projects

Connectors, which provide the end user interface to Lotus Quickr content

11 Lotus Notes Help and IBM Support Assistant

Sometimes you need a refresher on how to use certain tools or features and, to that end, IBM has provided a robust, yet easy-to-navigate, help resource.

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11.1

Using Help

As you work in Lotus Notes 8, your help travels with you. From any application or screen, you can press F1 and get a list of related help topics. This dynamic and context- sensitive help gives you the ability to find the information you need when and where you need it (see figure 41).

Figure 41. Help menu

Click here to get Help
Click here to get Help

To use help, simply type a descriptive word or two in the Search expressions box, and Lotus Notes will present you with information related to your search (see figure 42). Then, click the link for the topic that best describes the type of help you need.

Figure 42. Help window

describes the type of help you need. Figure 42. Help window Search expressions box 11.2 IBM

Search expressions box

11.2 IBM Support Assistant

The IBM Support Assistant, which can be accessed from within Lotus Notes 8, is a self- help resource center for issues you encounter while using Lotus Notes. The Support

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Assistant can offer a path for rapid submission of problem reports and automate the collection of diagnostic data, which can speed up the resolution. To access the Support Assistant, select Help > Support > IBM Support Assistant, from the main menu. You’ll see the window in figure 43.

Figure 43. IBM Support Assistant window

window in figure 43. Figure 43. IBM Support Assistant window Click the Search button and enter

Click the Search button and enter your topic in the Search field; the results display on a window as shown in figure 44.

Figure 44. IBM Support Assistant Search output window

44. Figure 44. IBM Support Assistant Search output window 12 Conclusion We’ve explored the features of

12 Conclusion

We’ve explored the features of Lotus Notes 8, comparing the functionality that you are familiar with in Outlook 2003/2007 with similar functions in Lotus Notes 8. Hopefully, we have helped you feel comfortable and productive with the Notes 8 client.

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13 Resources

Read the developerWorks Lotus article, “How to set up IBM Lotus Notes V8 for Microsoft Outlook users”.

 

Refer to the developerWorks product page for IBM Lotus Notes and Domino.

Participate in the Notes/Domino 8 Discussion Forum.

14 About the author

Hansraj Mali is a Technical Advisor for the Lotus Domino/Notes Mail & Messaging Team

in the IBM Technical Support Center in Pune, India. He is a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and worked extensively with the Microsoft Exchange server before joining IBM in

2005.

The author extends special thanks to Dwight Morse for technically reviewing this paper and providing valuable feedback.

Trademarks

Domino, IBM, Lotus, Notes, Quickr, and Sametime are trademarks or registered trademarks of IBM Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.

Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.

Java and all Java-based trademarks and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States, other countries, or both.

Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

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