March 24, 2011

Error: Saving this document will change its format

I have an XPage that is used for editing news. Those news may be created from the Notes client and contain some Rich Text fields.

When editing the news I get an error like this:

Saying: Saving this document will change its format from native Notes rich text to HTML. This may cause a change or loss of formatting if opened again in the regular Notes client.

What "damage" might this inflict? And are there any way to avoid this smoothly?


  1. The conversion of rich text to HTML is not really the whole problem, even though the message says that. The problem is also the conversion from HTML to rich text the next time a person with a Notes client reads the message. These repeated conversions back and forth can change font sizes, lose certain colors and styles, alter table borders and sometimes column widths.

    If you need some specific examples, go to my blog and search for the phrase "All your base are belong to IBM" and read about the fidelity issues of converting from rich text to HTML. There may be some on going the other way. (Example:

    One solution is to buy a product such as our CoexEdit, which will handle the conversion more cleanly. Another is to mandate that all documents be edited and created from the web, so that there is never a conversion (unless you edit the documents with agents). Most documents don't contain much formatting and won't be hurt, but tables, bullets and graphics tend to be issues.

  2. Thank you for such a quick reply Ben! Would love to restrict users to publish from web, however the customer requires the possibility to publish from client as well.. Will take a look at CoexEdit, thank you for the tip!

  3. Hi Mats,

    If you can live with some format loss, there is a property (htmlConversionWarning) of the Rich Text control that represses the error message.

    Maybe you already knew, but I didn't until today...


  4. Another solution might be to tick the rich text field in the form to store the content as HTML and mime.

    If you do this there will be no conversion as it is stord as HTML both in Notes and on web