Notes 6 on the Mac


Argh! That old chestnut in Notes for the Mac is still here: font sizes. You can’t read anything in the default installation! Let me take your pain away…

The default installation of Notes for the Mac, from R5 through to ND6, results in fonts that are painfully small. The solution in R5 is an edit to your Notes Preferences file, which itself is no small feat owing to the nature of this file. Whilst in the PC world you simply open your notes.ini file in any old text editor, the Notes Preferences file on the Mac is not in text format, so no dice.

Existing solutions

You have two options in R5:

  1. Write some simple Lotusscript that updates the Display_font_adjustment variable or
  2. Download the Notes Preferences Editor application from the IBM download site (see link below) and edit said file by hand.

In ND6?

  1. We don’t have a Designer client. So how you gonna write your Lotusscript now eh?
  2. No such luck. You can try the prefs editor, but beware: it’s a Classic only app. I have no idea whether it still works in ND6, as I can’t run it at all, what with my machine being an OS X-only Mac. *

Well, here’s another bit of help. A simple database with a button in the "About…" document that, when clicked, prompts for a new increment to add to font sizes. I find a value of "2" is sufficient. See how you get on. Download and unzip the file (Stuffit can handle it), and off you go.

Feb. 2004 update: IBM have released an OS X editor which works with Notes 6. You can download it here.

*Update - July 2003: KissWorks have an OS X Notes Preferences editor application in the offing.

Further reading



  1. Hi I cannot find it at the IBM site. The URl points to itself. maybe you got a copy for me? thnx reneRene van Amerongen#
  2. Yes, you're right, it did. I've updated the article link, as the document in question is on the IBM site, and I have also submitted an error report to IBM.

    But if it's just font sizes you want to tweak, use my download.

    Ben Poole#
  3. Hi Ben, I know this isn't exactly related, but do you know where to find the Mac OS X Notes 6 gold release client on IBM/Lotus' website? I can only find the WIN 98/XP/2000 clients. What happend to the Mac final release client? Once I find that, I'm gonna download your font fix! I'm a domino administrator by profession but have only used Notes on my work PCs - never on a Mac! I downloaded the PR2 client on Mac last month and couldn't believe how horrible the fonts looked! Shame on Lotus/IRIS!! I'd hoped they'd fix this before the final release!! Cheers, StuartStuart Chapman#
  4. Hi Stuart

    The "missing link" at the IBM site was noted in the R6 forum on the LDD too… I know no more at this stage, but assume that Lotus are holding off providing the Mac download 'til they get their OS X installer problems sorted out (as you may know, the installer only works in Classic).

    BenBen Poole#

  5. Hey Ben, Thanks for the info on the fonts fix for Mac… I wanted to say that I went looking for the Mac R6 download on IBM as well and ran up against the "missing link", however, I was able to finally get past it by switching browsers. Netscape 6.2 seems to work (Internet Explorer 5.2.2 didn't). Best Regards, BrianBrian Newell#
  6. I ran the IBM-supplied Notes Preferences Editor on my 9.2.2-only Mac, and it worked … except that I did not see any variable that looked like it pertained to font size. However, the little "fontsize.nsf" file did the trick.Tim Murray#
  7. you rock!!!!

    this has been an issue for us since we started using notes!!! users didn't understand how to use the pref editor! this little app is a must.

    Lotus should buy this from you and install package it for mac users.

    thanks a million…. really.


    Brent Kirsten#
  8. Thanks for your font size app! It has allowed me to continue my apple existence in a PC world.matthew dooley#
  9. HELLLOOOO!! my names Ben Poole too! wicked!!i live in wales. I am currently studying for my GCSE's. And stumbbled across your website. Thanks for making my day.BEN POOLE!!!!!#
  10. Thanks for the utility. I have used both methods now, but if you are in OSX as I am your utility works much nicer. I have a question though. It seems that the fontsize is related to which default fonts you have selected in user preferences. i.e. some fonts look better in small sizes and also it seems that the font size adjustment affects different font classes differently e.g. monospaced, serif, etc. I know that this is pretty subjective but has anyone found the "perfect" combination of font size adjustment and font "family"? Thanks, Ted Ted Landis#
  11. Interesting point Ted. Font sizes and OS X are quite complex. One person who covers them better that I ever could is John Gruber in his piece, Anti-Anti-Aliasing. Well worth a read!Ben Poole#
  12. Please notice that you can also do something about the appearance. Here is a before and after comparison.Volker Weber#
  13. I am new to the MAC. I am trying to install the Notes 6 client and have it recognize my .id file which I have copied from my XP machine at work. I keep getting a password error when I try to login. I have tried placing the .id file in my documents folder, the lotus notes folder and the data folder under notes. Any ideas? Thanks James Stewart#
  14. Well, I have my ID in my data folder… your location document needs to know where the ID is also. Haven't seen this issue on my machine though, so I'm afraid I can't help more.Ben Poole#
  15. Thanks Ben! I can now read all of our corporate forms without stating up VirtualPC. :-) Craig Daniels#
  16. Hi Ben, Those pesky IBMers have moved the link again. Perhaps you should upload it to this blog before IBM deletes it. Link. I am running an eMac g3 with OS9 for compatibility checks and it seems ok. I do have a problem with the install but I think it is the Domino Directory.

    Server Entry: Entry not found in Index.

    Hmm. Ray Ray#

  17. holy moley! You are obviously a man of great taste….MY NAME IS BEN POOLE TOO!!!!!HELL!Ben Poole#
  18. Bless you! After 3 hours of squinting I thought I would go mad! Thanks for this app.Judy Wilson#
  19. Instead of writing Lotusscript I am learning Applescript. It seems to be easier. Have you checked out the Lotus Notes dictionary?KL#
  20. Thx for the info
    As of today, NiniX did it with R6.5 on Panther.3.1
    Thx to www.kissworks as well then !

    For people not used to Notes prefs format, you'll have to click on the "add a new item" button, then in the item field type or drag from here "Display_font_adjustment" (without quotes) and add number 2 (or more depending on your display resolution) in the value field. Then click the "Add it!" button. You're done. Restart Notes and enjoy!Jean-Philippe ROBBE#
  21. Hello benpoole…..please help me with the Notes_pref_edit. I am trying to fix the default font size in Notes 6.5 on my Mac. I see your instructions on how to do this, but I am new to Mac world. Will you assist me ? Thanks, RobRob #
  22. hi ben poole. hoping you can help me out with some issues i am experiencing with my notes 6 and os x mac clients.
    the users cannot send viewable attachments to outside clients. I applied the fix listed on the notes site as well as checked out if stuff it was further compressing the attachments. cannot get it to work. also, wondering what issues were happening with os 10.3 and the notes 6.5 client.
    is there also a way to increase the terribly tiny default font size for these mac/notes users?Jenna Rizzo#
  23. Hi Ben

    Do you know how to launch an app (e.g. word) with Lotusscript on a Mac? I have some code that exports some selected fields from the contact from though a button into Word, but it doesn't work on a Mac - I get a 'non supported platform' error…

    Any ideas?

    ThanksSarah Hammond#
  24. Hi,

    This crazy little tool is amazing ;o)


    MichaelAnonymous Coward#
  25. Great App…thanks Ben. 2 questions: Kissworks seems to be offline. Does anyone know what happened? Second does anyone have an application that allows launching Safari as the default browser?Macklin#
  26. I tried many times to ask kissworks to explain if kiss is waporware or not… awnser….Alberto#
  27. Hi Ben

    You make reference in this blog to your utility to neatly fix font issues in R65 on OSX - but where do I get your utility from as I have user about to sue for going blind trying to read his emails!! thanksMauro#
  28. Mauro, the link is at the bottom of the article you're responding to.Ben Poole#
  29. HELP!
    I've started a new job and need to check the notes database daily. I can NOT read it. TOO SMALL. Fragmented. So I downloaded the IBM Pref Edit but get a Error -108 when I try to Item>add
    Tried the Kissworks deal, the demo has expired and I can't justify spending $49 to see if it even works.

    Any suggestions? I'm near panic and we have NO Mac IT.


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