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Lotus Notes: "Invalid or non-existent document"

As I have noted earlier, Lotus Notes is not famous for having easily understandable error-messages, quite the opposite in fact. However, when you think a bit about it; some messages are clearer than others. An example of this is the “Invalid or non-existent document” error.
The problem in this case is that an entry in an NSF-file (a document in a database) is corrupt. This can happen for various reasons. There are two ways to fix the problem, one server-side, and one client-side.
On the server console, run the command load fixup %NAME OF DATABASE%
This will remove the faulting documents from the index and from the database
Some databases can be replaced client-side (basically any databases located in the Data catalog of Notes). To replace them, simply rename the file, then start Notes. Notes will then recreate the file from the .ntf. NOTE: This will delete any and all entries in the database.


  1. But exactly WHAT files and WHERE do they exist client-side such that they can be renamed???

    • You should only get the error message on databases that have the problem, so that should take care of the “what”. As for where it is located, that should be something you can find out by right-clicking the database, and looking at the properties.

  2. Ok, so after some more hunting, I found the “*.nsf” files here… C:\Users\MyUserName\AppData\Local\Lotus\Notes\Data\ …and this is on Windows 7 for Lotus Notes 8.5 here. I renamed all the “*.nsf” files (as suggested above). I soon discovered that the “names.nsf” cannot be renamed in this way, and it is required for Lotus Notes startup so I set that one back to its original name. I started Notes, when to Calendar, tried to create a new Meeting and got the dreaded “invalid or non-existent document” error. I got the same error when trying to create a new Appointment. So I am still blocked on this bug in Note. One thing that I should note is that I am working on a travel computer that sometimes sits docked connected directly to the LAN at work and sometimes it is used when working from home WFH and connected to the internet via WiFi and then connected to the LAN via VPN. So if anyone has any more help on this then it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. — Mark Kamoski

    • Heino Sackmann

      Whenever you get an error while creating new documents it is most likely that your database design is corrupted. The forms in the database template used for creating the types of documents you mentioned need to be replaced. I assume that you do not have a Designer client available to verify that. Anyway, the best way out of your misery would be to update the design of your database while being online. The easiest way is to right click on your mail database icon residing on your Workspace page, to choose Application – Refresh Design… and give in following dialogue box the server your mail database is located. If you still experience the same error after these steps you should ask your developer and/or administrator to check the integrity of the mail database template on your mail server.

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