A Quick Summary of this Post

Unread Marks are enabled by default when creating a new Notes Database. In most cases, especially for applications used by multiple users, unread marks are not required and has a significant performance cost when the Notes database grows in size.

To disable Unread Marks:

  1. Right-click on your Notes database and select “Application -> Properties
  2. Click on the last tab
  3. Check the option “Don’t Maintain Unread Marks
  4. Compact the Notes database

A Detailed Overview

Through my years as a Notes developer, I’ve seem many cases where unread marks are enabled for Notes applications. One of the main reasons for this is that unread marks are by default enabled when creating a new Notes database. Many developers ignore this setting and continue developing an application for their client, where unread marks are most of the time not required.

Unfortunately, this comes at quite a cost to performance when the application grows in data, especially if the affected Notes database contains many Views.

In all my time as a Notes developer, I’ve never once required unread marks in the applications I developed. This became even more so the case when I moved to XPages development. I do understand that there are some cases where one would use it, but my recommendation is simple: If you don’t need it, disable it!

There are 3 settings to manage Unread Marks for a Notes database:

  1. Don’t maintain unread marks (Database Property – Last Tab)
  2. Do not mark modified documents as unread (Database Property – Tab 4)
  3.  Manage Unread Marks on a Notes View level (View Property – Tab 5)

It’s important to note that if you want to leave Unread Marks enabled for your Notes database and instead specify in your Notes View that there should be no unread marks, the View is still affected. See below abstract from the Domino Designer Help:

Note: Designing views that don’t display unread marks doesn’t improve database performance because they are still maintained but not displayed.

This means that to improve database performance, you have to implement one of the first 2 options mentioned above, at the very least option 2.

Closing

I can’t stress enough the impact unread marks can have on a Notes database. If you don’t need it…disable it. Depending on the size of your Notes database, the results are almost immediate.

Cheers for now
John