Switching from Lotus Notes and Cleaning up your Lotus Notes account

Here are some tips for making the switch from Lotus Notes® to Google Apps.   Please note your Google Apps account will be created and accessible before your Lotus Notes email has migrated as noted in the Google Apps Transition and Migration Process.  During this transition your email address will not change, it will remain eid@vcu.edu.

How much email will migrate from Lotus Notes to Google Gmail?  
Collaboration Services staff in Technology Services will be archiving emails sent and received prior to 6/1/2013 to your Lotus Notes archive database (you will receive a notice when this will occur). Your older (archived) emails will still be available, in your archive database, from either the Lotus Notes client, or from VCU Mail Anywhere (can not access your archives from IMAP). At a later date we will be posting a procedure if you require additional data to be migrated.  Faculty may request the archived data (email older than 6/1/2013) be migrated to Google after the initial migration for all faculty and staff has been completed.  Staff will be required to provide a business case justification to have data older than 6/1/2013 migrated.  Data on the Lotus Notes Servers will not be deleted without approval from the University Counsel's office based on state records retention guidelines.

To speed up the migration process please clean up your Lotus Notes email account, see "Prepare - Clean up Lotus Notes" below.
Switching from Lotus Notes®
Life After Lotus Notes®

(PDF) Quickly learn to accomplish some of the same tasks in Gmail and Google Calendar that you're used to in Lotus Notes®. Also includes power tips.

Print this reference guide out and keep it on your desk as you learn to use Google Apps!
   Prepare - Clean up Lotus Notes® 

Have you ever wondered which emails you should keep and which ones to delete?  Take a look at the State Library guidelines.

For additional details on quick ways to perform mail file cleanup, visit our askIT article, Mail file Cleanup.

Special Note to IMAP client (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc) users 

  • Mailfile cleanup may best be accomplished using the Lotus Notes client software or VCU Mail Anywhere. The Collaboration Services group strongly discourage large deletions or moves of data via IMAP clients.  Performing any cleanup via an IMAP client needs to be done in small amounts to avoid your mailfile being locked on the server, causing new mail delivery to halt and a server outage.  To avoid disruption to the entire user community, please clean up using the recommended methods (Mail file Cleanup).

Email & Archive

  • Clean up your account by deleting messages and folders you do not need.
  • Be sure to empty the “Trash” and/or “Deleted Items” folders.  Junk will not migrate, Trash will!
  • Move documents that exceed 17 MB to file storage as they will not migrate.
    - (Check with your local IT Support staff for information)
  • Executable files, even if zipped or tarred, will not migrate.
  • Print stationery documents (or send to yourself as an email) as these will not migrate.
  • Encrypted Email (Inbox and Sent) will not migrate.
  • Follow up flags will migrate as starred emails in Gmail.
  • Personal correspondence that is sent to your @vcu.edu email should be changed to go to a personal email account if it is not work related.  VCU Computer Ethics Policy: http://www.assurance.vcu.edu/Policy%20Library/Computer%20Ethics%20Policy.pdf

Folders - Email & Archive

  • If you have an intricate folder structure, before removing any folders please review our section related to folders in our Mail File Cleanup article.
  • Rename any folders that have the caret character (^), a comma (,) ampersand (&) or exclamation point (!) in the name. These character aren’t allowed in labels and will product undesired results during migration. 
  • If you have a folder named Archive, rename it (this is different than your Archive Database).
  • Check the total number of mail folders that will migrate and become Google labels. Google recommends a max of 200 for optimal mail performance. If you have more than 500 folders, we recommend that you consolidate them.
  • Check for long or nested folders paths to make sure the paths to the folder (e.g. FY2012/Spring/May) do not exceed 225 characters. If any of them do, rename those folders to be less than 225 characters. Folder names or paths longer than 225 characters will be truncated during the migration.


  • Edit repeating events – removing repeat dates created more than 24 months in advance.
  • Review your meetings for attachments. Copy any meeting attachments that are needed as meeting attachments do not migrate.
  • Delegated calendar settings - if you use delegation in your calendar, make a copy for reference since this will not migrate.
  • Lotus Notes Reminders will migrate over as a Google calendar event, but will loose the "reminder" distinction.  The suggested work-around, prior to the migration of your Lotus Notes account, is to go into the Reminders in Notes and edit the title to append [Reminder] or what ever makes sense to you.   Therefore, when the event migrates from Notes to Google calendar it will have [Remnder] in the title.  Once the Reminders are migrated to Google you can color-code them to set apart from rest of your Google calendar. 
  • Lotus Notes Calendar items marked as Private will still be marked as Private when they migrates.


  • Sync your local contacts to your mail file.  Here is a step-by-step guide
  • Remove old contacts (@hsc, @saturn, @mail1/mail2, etc.).
  • Groups will migrate; however, each member of a group will also create an individual contact so review your groups and if they are current, be sure to update or remove them prior to migration.  


If you use the following features in Lotus Notes and would like to use them in the new email, make a copy for reference since these features do not migrate.

  • Any rules that you have for email (you will recreate filters in Gmail).
  • Access and Delegation settings (you will recreate Gmail Delegation).
  • Email signatures.
  • To Do’s (Tasks).
  • Notes/Journal Entries.
  • Out-of-office message:  copy and save into a Word file; you can quickly rebuild it in Gmail.
  • Out-of-office must be disabled for migration to complete.