The config file for khard is a plain text file with an ini-like syntax. Many options have a corresponding command line option. The only mandatory section in the config file is the definition of the available address books.


The file is looked up at $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/khard/khard.conf. If the environment variable $XDG_CONFIG_HOME is unset ~/.config/ is used in its stead.

The location can be changed with the environment variable $KHARD_CONFIG or the command line option -c (which takes precedence).


The syntax of the config file is ini-style dialect. It is parsed with the configobj library. The precise definition of the corresponding ini syntax can be found at .

It supports sections marked with square brackets and nested sections with more square brackets. Each section contains several keys with values delimited by equal signs. The values are typed and type checked.


The config file consists of these four sections:


This section contains several subsections, but at least one. Each subsection can have an arbitrary name which will be the name of an addressbook known to khard. Each of these subsections must have a path key with the path to the folder containing the vCard files for that addressbook. The path value supports environment variables and tilde prefixes. khard expects the vCard files to hold only one VCARD record each and end in a .vcf extension.


This section allows one to configure some general features about khard. The following keys are available in this section:

  • debug: a boolean indication whether the logging level should be set to debug by default (same effect as the --debug option on the command line)

  • default_action: the default action/subcommand to use if the first non option argument does not match any of the available subcommands

  • editor: the text editor to use to edit address book entries, if not given $EDITOR will be used

  • merge_editor: a command used to merge two cards interactively, if not given, $MERGE_EDITOR will be used

contact table

This section is used to configure the behaviour of different output listings of khard. The following keys are available:

  • display: which part of the name to use in listings; this can be one of first_name, last_name or formatted_name

  • group_by_addressbook: whether or not to group contacts by address book in listings

  • localize_dates: whether to localize dates or to use ISO date formats

  • preferred_email_address_type: labels of email addresses to prefer

  • preferred_phone_number_type: labels of telephone numbers to prefer

  • reverse: whether to reverse the order of contact listings or not

  • show_nicknames: whether to show nick names

  • show_uids: whether to show uids

  • show_kinds: whether to show kinds

  • sort: field by which to sort contact listings

  • private_objects: a list of strings, these are the names of private vCard fields (starting with X-) that will be loaded and displayed by khard

  • search_in_source_files: whether to search in the vCard files before parsing them in order to speed up searches

  • skip_unparsable: whether to skip unparsable vCards, otherwise khard exits on the first unparsable card it encounters

  • preferred_version: the preferred vCard version to use for new cards


This is the example config file:

# example configuration file for khard version > 0.14.0
# place it under ~/.config/khard/khard.conf
# This file is parsed by the configobj library.  The syntax is described at

path = ~/.contacts/family/
path = ~/.contacts/friends/

debug = no
default_action = list
# These are either strings or comma seperated lists
editor = vim, -i, NONE
merge_editor = vimdiff

[contact table]
# display names by first or last name: first_name / last_name / formatted_name
display = first_name
# group by address book: yes / no
group_by_addressbook = no
# reverse table ordering: yes / no
reverse = no
# append nicknames to name column: yes / no
show_nicknames = no
# show uid table column: yes / no
show_uids = yes
# show kind table column: yes / no
show_kinds = no
# sort by first or last name: first_name / last_name / formatted_name
sort = last_name
# localize dates: yes / no
localize_dates = yes
# set a comma separated list of preferred phone number types in descending priority
# or nothing for non-filtered alphabetical order
preferred_phone_number_type = pref, cell, home
# set a comma separated list of preferred email address types in descending priority
# or nothing for non-filtered alphabetical order
preferred_email_address_type = pref, work, home

# extend contacts with your own private objects
# these objects are stored with a leading "X-" before the object name in the vcard files
# every object label may only contain letters, digits and the - character
# example:
#   private_objects = Jabber, Skype, Twitter
# default: ,  (the empty list)
private_objects = Jabber, Skype, Twitter
# preferred vcard version: 3.0 / 4.0
preferred_version = 3.0
# Look into source vcf files to speed up search queries: yes / no
search_in_source_files = no
# skip unparsable vcard files: yes / no
skip_unparsable = no