Many of khard’s subcommands can be used for scripting purposes. The commands list, birthdays, email, phone and postaddress feature a --parsable option which changes the output to be tab separated (normally the fields are visually aligned with spaces). They list several contacts at once. If the search terms are known to match one single contact the command khard show --format=yaml can also be used for scripting. It produces the contact in the yaml format that is also used for editing. But if the search terms produce more than one result the show command first asks the user to select one contact which is unsuitable for scripting.

Specifying output fields

The list command additionally features a --fields/-F options which allows to specify the fields of a contact that should be printed. The list of supported field names can be seen with khard list -F help.

Some fields can hold complex data structures like mappings and lists. These can be specified by dot-subscripting the field name. Lists are subscribed with numbers starting at zero. Subscripting can be nested.

If the contact for somebody would contain several email addresses for example:

$ khard list --fields emails somebody
{'work': [''], 'home': ['', '']}

One could access these with different nested field descriptions like this:

$ khard list --fields somebody
$ khard list --fields emails.home.1 somebody


Khard can be used together with email or SIP clients or a synchronisation program like vdirsyncer. For synchronisation programs it is important to note that khard expects the contacts in the configured address book directories to be stored in individual files. The files are expected to have a .vcf extension.

If you already have .vcf files containing multiple VCARD entries (i.e. from Android/MacOS Contacts app), below are some scripts that generate the corresponding single entry .vcf files:

  • vcardtool (processes one input file at a time)

  • vcf-splitter (needs to be used with the -u/--uid flag to generate the required UID entry)

You might need to preparse your .vcf input files with vcard2to3 if they contain VERSION:2.1 entries.


Make sure to write the contacts into individual files as VCARD records and give them a .vcf file extension:

[storage local_storage_for_khard]
type = "filesystem"
fileext = "vcf"
path = "..."


Khard may be used as an external address book for the email client mutt. To accomplish that, add the following to your mutt config file (mostly ~/.mutt/muttrc):

set query_command = "khard email --parsable %s"
bind editor <Tab> complete-query
bind editor ^T    complete

Then you can complete email addresses by pressing the Tab-key in mutt’s new mail dialog. If your address books contain hundreds or even thousands of contacts and the query process is very slow, you may try the --search-in-source-files option to speed up the search:

set query_command = "khard email --parsable --search-in-source-files %s"

If you want to complete multi-word search strings like “john smith” then you may try out the following instead:

set query_command = "echo %s | xargs khard email --parsable --"

To add email addresses to khard’s address book, you may also add the following lines to your muttrc file:

macro index,pager A \
  "<pipe-message>khard add-email<return>" \
  "add the sender email address to khard"

If you want to search for email addresses in specific header fields, append the “–header” parameter:

macro index,pager A \
  "<pipe-message>khard add-email --headers=from,cc --skip-already-added<return>" \
  "add the sender and cc email addresses to khard"

Then navigate to an email message in mutt’s index view and press “A” to start the address import dialog.


Add the following lines to your alot config file:

      type = shellcommand
      command = khard email --parsable
      regexp = '^(?P<email>[^@]+@[^\t]+)\t+(?P<name>[^\t]+)'
      ignorecase = True


For those who also use the SIP client twinkle to take phone calls, khard can be used to query incoming numbers. The plugin tries to find the incoming caller id and speaks it together with the phone’s ring tone. But it is more or less a proof of concept - feel free to extend.

The plugin needs the following programs:

sudo aptitude install ffmpeg espeak sox mpc

sox and ffmpeg are used to cut and convert the new ring tone and espeak speaks the caller id. mpc is a client for the music player daemon (mpd). It’s required to stop music during an incoming call. Skip the last, if you don’t use mpd. Don’t forget to set the “stop_music”-parameter in the file to False, too.

After the installation, copy the scripts and sounds folders to your twinkle config folder:

cp -R misc/twinkle/* ~/.twinkle/

Next convert the sound samples to wave:

ffmpeg -i incoming_call.ogg incoming_call.wav
ffmpeg -i outgoing_call.ogg outgoing_call.wav
ffmpeg -i ringtone_segment.ogg ringtone_segment.wav

Then edit your twinkle config file (mostly ~/.twinkle/twinkle.cfg) like this:

# We need a default ring tone. Otherwise the phone would not ring at all, if
# something with the custom ring tone creation goes wrong.



The file misc/zsh/_khard contains a khard cli completion function for the zsh and misc/zsh/_email-khard completes email addresses.

Install by copying to a directory where zsh searches for completion functions (the $fpath array). If you, for example, put all completion functions into the folder ~/.zsh/completions you must add the following to your zsh main config file:

fpath=( $HOME/.zsh/completions $fpath )
autoload -U compinit


Use the wrapper script misc/sdiff/ if you want to use sdiff as your contact merging tool. Just make the script executable and set it as your merge editor in khard’s config file:

merge_editor = /path/to/


Khard also contains a helper script called davcontroller. It’s designed to create and remove address books and calendars at the server. I have created davcontroller cause my previously used CalDAV server (Darwin calendarserver) offered no simple way to create new address books and calendars. But davcontroller should be considered as a hacky solution and it’s only tested against the Darwin calendarserver. So if your CalDAV server offers a way to create new address books and calendars I recommend to prefer that method over davcontroller.

If you nonetheless want to try davcontroller, you have to install the CalDAVClientLibrary first. Unfortunately that library isn’t compatible to python3 so you have to create an extra python2 virtual environment and install in there:

# create python2 virtual environment
virtualenv -p python2 ~/.virtualenvs/davcontroller
# get library from svn repository
sudo aptitude install subversion
svn checkout CalDAVClientLibrary
cd CalDAVClientLibrary
# install library
~/.virtualenvs/davcontroller/bin/python install
# start davcontroller script
~/.virtualenvs/davcontroller/bin/python /path/to/khard-x.x.x/misc/davcontroller/

This small script helps to create and remove new address books and calendars at the carddav and caldav server.

List available resources:

davcontroller -H -p 11111 -u USERNAME -P PASSWORD list

Possible actions are: list, new-addressbook, new-calendar and remove. After creating or removing you must adapt your vdirsyncer config.