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So you are using Lotus Notes 8.5.3 for e-mail, calendar, and collaboration, and you want to know how to go from just using Lotus Notes, to letting Lotus Notes work for you. Lotus Notes is highly customizable, adapting to the way you want to work. We will show you how to make Lotus Notes look and behave in the manner you choose.

Getting ready

Your IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.3 client should be installed and connected to your home mail server to receive mail.

How to do it…

Let’s start with the Home page. The Home page is the first page you will see when setting up a new client. You can also access it in many different ways if your client is already set up. One way to get to it is from the Open list as shown in the following screenshot:

Here is what the default Home page looks like after you open it:

How it works…

To customize the Home page, click on Click here for Home Page options. Then click on Create a new Home Page. This will bring up the Home Page wizard. Give your new Home page a name, and then you can choose how you want your important data to be displayed via your new Home page.

As you can see, there are many ways to customize your Home page to display exactly what you need on your screen.

There’s more…

Now we will look at more ways to customize your IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.3 experience.

Open list

By clicking on the Open button in the upper left corner of the Notes client, you can access the Open list. The Open list is a convenient place to launch your mail, calendar, contacts, to-dos, websites, and applications. You can also access your workspace and Home page from the Open list. Applications added to your workspace are dynamically added to the Open list. The contextual search feature will help you efficiently find exactly what you are looking for. One option when using the Open list is to dock it. When the Open list is docked, it will appear permanently on the left-hand side of the Lotus Notes client. To dock it, right-click on the Open list and select Dock the Open list. To undock it, right-click in an empty area of the docked list and uncheck the Dock the Open list.

Windows and Themes

You can choose how you want your windows in Lotus Notes 8.5.3 to look. In the Windows and Themes preference panel, you can control how you want Notes to behave. First, decide if you want your open documents to appear as tabs or windows. Then decide if you want the tabs that you had left open when you exit the client to be retained when you open it again. The option to Group documents from each application on a tab will group any documents or views opened from one application. You can see these options in the following screenshot:

New mail notification

By checking the preference setting called Sending and Receiving under Preferences | Mail, you can display a pop-up alert when a new mail arrives. The pop up displays the sender and the subject of the message. You can then open the e-mail from the pop up. You can also drag the pop up to pin it open. To turn this off, uncheck the preference setting.


The workspace has been around for a long time, and this is where icons representing Domino applications are found. You can choose to stack icons or have them un-stacked. Stacking the icons places replicas of the same applications on top of each other. The icon on the top of the stack dictates which replica is opened. For example, for a mail if the server is on top, then the local replica will be ignored causing potential slowness. If you would like to make your workspace look more three-dimensional and add texture to the background select this setting in the Basic Notes Client preference. You can also add new pages, change the color of pages and name them, by right clicking on the workspace.


This article has provided a brief gist about Lotus Notes 8.5.3. It also explains how you can customize your Lotus Notes client, and make it look and behave in the manner you choose.

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