in Blog, IBM Lotus Notes/Domino

As promised, here are the instructions on how to create your own Lotus Notes skin for (the free, just now released in the previous post) MarvelClient Skinning Edition:

  1. The image files supplied in the download are defined as follows:
    Note: this is the same download as in the previous post
    1. def_background.bmp: the background image – details under 2.)
    2. def_icon_down.bmp: the image for selected icon tiles
    3. def_icon_up.bmp: the image for normal / non-selected icon tiles
    4. def_sitemap_down.bmp: the image for selected portfolio databases (e.g. bookmark.nsf)
    5. def_sitemap_up.bmp: the image for normal / non-selected portfolio databases
    6. def_twistie_old.bmp: a placeholder image which is replaced with def_twistie_new at runtime –
      the def_twistie_old.bmp should not be changed regarding colors/contents/format, but only resized according to the exact size of def_twistie_new.bmp
    7. the size determines the “clickable” area of the final twisty.
    8. def_twistie_new.bmp: the image of the notes twisty / hinky-minky (=to select server for replicas)
    9. def_r6_default.bmp: the replacement high-color icon image for newly created databases
    10. old_r6_default.bmp: the original “default” Notes 6/7 database icon for newly created databases
      note: any transparency in the original icon must be replaced with the color black for MarvelClient to replace the image at runtime.
    11. def_r6_mail.bmp: the replacement high-color icon image for mail databases
    12. old_r6_mail.bmp: the original “default” Notes 6/7 mail database icon
      note: any transparency in the original icon must be replaced with the color black for MarvelClient to replace the image at runtime.
    13. – you can create as many old_r6_* and def_r6_* icon pairs as wanted/needed (ok, performance may suffer it it’s several hundred or so ;-))
      – all of the above images can be 24bit or 24bit+8bit alpha (=32bit) bitmap files
      – for the background image, alpha is not supported, but 24bit only.
      – using a 16bit background image creates a (very) weird effect when navigating through notes and back to the workspace
      in other words: 24bit bitmaps for the background only

      The background is not optimized / resized for the current resolution of the client to be skinned – if the background is too large, the client will only render as much on screen as fits the resolution;
      if the background is too small, it will be tiled – whilst for photos this is a drawback, you can certainly also take advantage of this with a tiled background (e.g. Escher or a repeatable pattern – by default, the Notes client uses a pattern, too)

  2. When creating a new skin, tiles can have ANY size LARGER than the default Notes tiles (a little bit smaller, too, however if it gets too small to render the database icon, title etc. into the tile, don’t expect the Notes client to not crash ;-)).
    Note: Displaying bookmarks as (virtual) workspace does not support larger images – it’s up to you, whether you want to create a skin that works for both the classic Notes desktop and the bookmarks as workspace display or just the Notes desktop.
  3. Unfortunately, at least as of “now”, the text on icon tiles is always black for non-selected tiles, blue for selected (we are looking into it) – keep this is in mind when designing the icon tile, as a black icon tile or dark background “shining trhough” will render the database title unreadable
  4. The database / bookmark icon is always at the top left of an icon / bookmark tile. Period.
    (Applies to all other objects, such as position of unread mark display, twisty, and title, too)
  5. All icon objects (database icon, title, twistie) are moved by 4 pixels down and to the right when clicking on icon tiles. So if you design your new set, the selected tile should fit with that “4×4-pixel-shift”
  6. Repeated: Make sure that def_twistie_old has the same size as def_twistie_new (to fit clickable area) and is only changed in size
  7. If you don’t want to replace a particular bitmap / skin a particular object, just remove the respective file
  8. Seeing the results of your changes requires a client restart (to reload the images)

Showing 12 comments
  • Irv

    This is great stuff and should be included with future clients from IBM (What a way to demo the client … include company logos as the workspace skin!). Thanks for sharing!

  • Gottfried Palinkas

    Like this !!! Great to show that it’s really fun to work with Notes ­čÖé

    As usual .. get some frictions … for example not all Icons get replaces (some mail archives show new icon, some still have the old style). And wasn’t able to find the bmp-files used by other databases, so currently ‘limited’ beautification ­čÖé

    Anyway : appreciate that work !

  • Torsten Onkes

    Hello Florian,

    what is meant with “- you can create as many old_r6_* and def_r6_* icon pairs as wanted/needed”?

    For what other databases can I create icon pairs?

  • Thomas Ro├čmayer

    Hi all,

    it is not working for me, checked the procedure some times.

    Can it be a problem that we have following

    C:Program FilesLotusNotes
    with notes.ini and mc_skinning.dll

    and data dirctory is

    with folder skinning

    The log.xml is also not working

    any suggestion ar welcome


  • John Turnbow

    Very nice work..



  • J├ęr├┤me Deniau


    For once I can have a workspace I can enjoy and show to Notes detractor ;-)))

  • Torsten Link

    This is great stuff, but I found one problem: If the Icon I want to replace originally contains black areas, then the replacement does not take part any more… That might be, because after the replacement of black with transparent the two images do not match any more.
    Example: The old R5 default database icon contains some black dots and it is not replaced…

    Any suggestions ?


  • Markus Seitz

    Hi Tode,

    black pixels within the original bitmap should be fine, but i was able to reproduce this problem with r5 default icons.

    we’ll try to fix this, but it may take some time…

    thanks for you feedback,

  • Torsten Link

    thank you for your reply. You’re right: With other Images Black is not a problem…

    I testet a little bit, but I could not find out, what is different in this icon.. It is not:

    – the usage of all 16 colors + transparency (It works with other Icons)

    – the usage of black

    – the usage of the dark- grey color next to transparency

    Hope you find the solution….


  • Markus Seitz

    notes draws these icons by a sequence of BitBlt operations (SRCINVERT/SRCAND/SRCINVERT).

    sometimes there’s some random noise within the transparent part of the image. since these parts are masked anyway you won’t see these pixels. to map old & new images we use checksums (so we can support a large number of mappings without affecting performance).

    unfortunately this noise alters the checksum. but i’m confident we’ll find a different approach that isn’t afffect by this noise (and is still “flicker free”).

    btw – i’d really like to see your skin^^


  • Abhay Singh

    Thanks its really working nice

  • alec

    every few days the workspace get reset back, any ideas on why

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