What Are the Differences Between IBM Notes and Gmail?

Are you or your business considering a switch from IBM Notes to Gmail?

These two workplace managers have similarities as well as some key differences, both in terms of layout and overall user experience. Understanding these features and their many applications will help your business make an informed decision.

See how a switch to Gmail will affect—and improve—your daily business tasks.


Immediate Impressions: Layout and Formatting

You’ll notice differences in formatting and overall user design from the moment you first open a Gmail. Intuitive navigation systems and information hierarchies make Gmail an incredibly popular email system. Here are some formatting differences you may notice between Gmail and IBM Notes:

  • Messages. In IBM Notes, each message is independent and appears individually in your inbox. On the other hand, Gmail offers grouped conversations, so you can follow messages as a single thread. If you prefer to keep your messages separated, you can change this option in the settings tab.

  • Organization. IBM Notes allows you to store messages in separate subfolders: personal, important, social, and so on. Gmail does the same, but you can add multiple labels to emails and search for them based on any of their tags. So in Gmail an email could be categorized in four tags for example, but in IBM Notes, an email conversation could only be stored in one folder.

  • Keep your inbox clean. IBM Notes offers an option to delete emails. If you’re the type of person who hates the finality of deleting, Gmail offers another option. Archive your emails when you want them out of your inbox but will need to refer to them again later -- still able to search for them within the built-in search functionality.

  • Labeling emails. If you want to mark an email as important, there’s a flag for that. When you’re using Gmail, you have two options: either mark as important as a tab, or put a star next to it. You can easily filter all your starred items by clicking that icon under your inbox menu.

  • To-do lists and other tasks. IBM Notes features an option to create independent tasks that sync to your Calendar. Gmail has the same service, linking your to-do items to your Google Calendar, but with an extra option: you can add email messages to your to-do list to avoid retyping your assignments.

Because of its attractive layout and intuitive navigation, Gmail is an efficient way of doing business.


Comparing Email Composition and Accessibility

Compatibility is an important question you should consider when choosing an email service. Gmail and IBM Notes differ in this aspect.

While IBM Notes requires that you use its service on a device on which it’s installed, Gmail allows you to access mail over any device. Even if you want to access your IBM Notes online, you must do it from a device where software is installed.

This is a vital point.

With Gmail, there’s no installation required—access your mail from anywhere with an internet connection (and there’s offline capabilities).

When you log into your Gmail account for the first time, you’ll find that composing and sending email is a piece of cake. Gmail has all the options you love about IBM Notes, with added features. Draft your correspondence with the fonts, headings, and alignment features you want, and sign in your own personal style.

With Gmail, you can add attachments, links, and images for seamless collaboration. For larger files and more effective ways to communicate, take advantage of Google Drive. Drive links allow you to share work tasks with coworkers, managers, and employees. Just insert the link, and everyone can work from the same document.

Thanks to Gmail, effective communication has never been easier.


Do More Business With Gmail

We live in a mobile world that requires constant communication to keep up with the competitive marketplace. Gmail lets you keep with that pace. For mobile networking on the go, download and install the Gmail app.

You’ll never miss another email.

Sometimes, our lives take us off the grid. When you’re offline, you can still keep working. Compose emails, and Gmail will automatically send them when you’re back at an internet connection.

If you’re in the business of sending large files, Gmail has a solution for that too. With Google Drive, you can send files as large as 30 GB—or 30 TB if you have a storage plan.

Today’s business watchword is efficiency. Maximize yours by taking advantage of Gmail’s convenient features:

  • Canned responses. Do you tire of sending the same emails over and over again? Use Gmail’s “canned response” option: simply type a response once, and save the text as a canned response in settings. The next time you need to send the same email, it’s there waiting for you.

  • Auto filters. If you love nothing more than an organized inbox, auto filters are for you. Set recipients as important, or file them by position: employee, vendor, boss, etc.

  • Undo send. We’ve all sent emails we wish we wouldn’t have. The next time you make a typo, forget a recipient, or accidentally reply all, you can undo it using the “undo send” option. Just make sure it’s enabled in your settings.


Tips and Tricks for New Gmail Users

For the novice Gmail user, there are plug-ins and extra add-ons that make your email service experience even better. Try using one of these options to make the most of Gmail:

Boomerang for Gmail is a plug-in that allows you to write emails when you have the time and schedule them to be sent later. For example, you may write an email late at night, but schedule it to send when you know a co-worker is going to be sitting down at a desk for the morning. Your email is the first thing he or she will see.

Gmail Snooze is another handy plug-in that allows you to hit the snooze button on your email, much like your morning alarm clock. If you open an email and don’t tend to it right away, Gmail Snooze will remind you whenever you choose—within minutes, hours, or days. You’ll never miss a follow up again.



Gmail has all the features of IBM Notes with added convenience and efficiency. Nothing beats its user experience and intuitive design.