Connecting to an IBM Lotus Domino Server with Outlook 2003

I recently started a new job at an organisation that uses IBM Lotus Notes/Domino for their enterprise collaboration. As a person who has always used and relied on Microsoft Outlook, I have been finding the transition extremely difficult. The Lotus Notes client is lacking in a lot of areas that I have taken for granted in Outlook. It's not user friendly, not intuitive, and generally requires a lot more effort to perform a task than it would in Outlook. Rather than use standard windows controls (scroll bars, text boxes, buttons etc), IBM seems to have found the need to write their own. Of course this has the end result that none of the standard navigation and shortcut keys that we are all used to work. In fact, there was even a password field that showed my password in plain text rather than masking it as I typed!

Now, we are using version 6.x which it has been around since 2004. I know that version 7 is out, with 8 on the horizon. But I can't help thinking that even for its time, version 6 is very backwards. It looks, feels and behaves like a Windows 3.1 application. Considering Outlook 2003 was out a year before Notes 6 was released, I would have expected a little more.

Thankfully, all is not lost. I decided to browse the Microsoft downloads page, and see if there was anything available that would ease my transition into this new role. Much to my surprise, I found that Microsoft do indeed have a plug-in that connects Outlook 2002/2003 to a Domino server! I like to think that Microsoft feel sorry for guys like me, and wrote this plug-in to make our lives a little easier. In reality, it's probably more to assist organisations when migrating from Notes/Domino to Exchange/Outlook.

The restrictions are that you must be using Outlook 2002/2003 (a 2007 version of the plug-in does not seem to be available), and the server must be running Domino 5 or 6. Not the best news for the staff from my last job that are migrating to Domino 7 soon. Sorry guys.