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abookrc - Man Page

configuration file for abook address book program


abookrc is the (optional) configuration file for use with the abook(1) address book program.

abookrc is stored in a user's $HOME/.abook directory. It follows a format of “set option=value”. The following information lists each of these options and the values they may take.

If a variable is not set in abookrc , a sensible default, as  listed with the description below, will be used.

Comments in abookrc are on lines beginning with '#'.


set option = value
field identifier = human_readable_name [ , type ]

Defines a new custom field. type can be one of 'string' (default) , 'emails', 'list', or 'date'.

view view name = field1 [ , field2, ... ]

Defines a view/tab, with fieldN being the identifier of a field declared with the field command, or the identifier of a standard field.

Standard fields:
name, email,
address, address2, city, state, zip, country,
phone, workphone, fax, mobile,
nick, url, notes, anniversary

Note: if you don't define any view, abook will use a default display based on the above standard fields.



Defines whether the addressbook is automatically saved on exit. Default is true.


Specifies how fields not declared with the field command nor in a view should be preserved while loading an abook database.


preserve any completely unknown field.


only preserve the standard fields (see a list in the
 description of the view command) and the legacy
 'custom[1-5]' fields.


discards any unknown field.

Default is all.


Defines the way entries are displayed in the main list. This is a string containing field names enclosed between braces, with an optional width limit specified by a number (right alignment if negative) after the field name and a colon, and an arbitrary number of alternative fields (first with non empty content is to be displayed) separated by vertical bars. For instance:


displays the name field with a maximal width of 22 characters.


displays (right aligned within a width of 13 characters), either the phone, workphone or mobile field, whichever being the first to be non-empty.

Default is " {name:22} {email:40} {phone:12|workphone|mobile}"


Defines whether all email addresses for a contact are shown in the main list view. Default is true.


Obsoleted by index_format.


Defines whether to return all email addresses matching the search criteria to a mutt query. Default is true.


Defines the command to used when printing the addressbook. Default is "lpr".


Defines the command used to start the web browser to view a contact's URL. Default is "lynx".


Defines the style of address formatting to be used when exporting as text / printing the database (European, UK, or USA). Default is European ("eu").


This option allows you to force Abook use only ASCII characters. This option is useful if your terminal doesn't support non-ASCII characters. Default is false.


Defines whether to avoid adding addresses already in data. Default is false.


Defines the field to be used by the "sort by field" command. Default is "nick" (Nickname/Alias).


Defines if the cursor is visible in main display. Default is false.


Defines if navigation via the mouse is activated. Default is false. Most terminals can also inhibit ncurses mouse events at runtime by holding the Shift key (restoring mouse-selection behavior).


Defines the number of lines the address list is scrolled by on a mouse wheel action. This option only takes effect if use_mouse is enabled. Default is 2.


Defines if the output of abook is colorized. Default is false.

Color settings:

color_header_fg=color Foreground color for header bar

color_header_bg=color Background color for header bar

color_footer_fg=color Foreground color for footer bar

color_footer_bg=color Background color for footer bar

color_list_even_fg=color Foreground color for normal list entries with even index in the list (starting with index 0)

color_list_even_bg=color Background color for normal list entries with even index in the list (starting with index 0)

color_list_odd_fg=color Foreground color for normal list entries with odd index in the list (starting with index 0)

color_list_odd_bg=color Background color for normal list entries with odd index in the list (starting with index 0)

color_list_header_fg=color Foreground color for the list header

color_list_header_bg=color Background color for the list header

color_list_highlight_fg=color Foreground color for highlighted list entries

color_list_highlight_bg=color Background color for highlighted list entries

color_tab_border_fg=color Foreground color for tab borders on details page

color_tab_border_bg=color Background color for tab borders on details page

color_tab_label_fg=color Foreground color for tab labes on details page

color_tab_label_bg=color Background color for tab labes on details page

color_field_name_fg=color Foreground color for field names on details page

color_field_name_bg=color Background color for field names on details page

color_field_value_fg=color Foreground color for field values on details page

color_field_value_bg=color Background color for field values on details page

Where color can be: default, black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white

Sample Configuration File

# sample abook configuration file

# Declare a few custom fields
field pager = Pager
field address_lines = Address, list
field birthday = Birthday, date

# Define how fields should be displayed in tabs
view CONTACT = name, email
view ADDRESS = address_lines, city, state, zip, country
view PHONE = phone, workphone, pager, mobile, fax
view OTHER = url, birthday

# Preserve any unknown field while loading an abook database
set preserve_fields=all

# Automatically save database on exit
set autosave=true

# Format of entries lines in list
set index_format=" {name:22} {email:40} {phone:12|workphone|mobile}"

# Show all email addresses in list
set show_all_emails=true

# Command used to start mutt
set mutt_command=mutt

# Return all email addresses to a mutt query
set mutt_return_all_emails=true

# Command used to print
set print_command=lpr

# Command used to start the web browser
set www_command=lynx

# Address style [eu|us|uk]
set address_style=eu

# Use ASCII characters only
set use_ascii_only=false

# Prevent double entry
set add_email_prevent_duplicates=false

# Field to be used with "sort by field" command
set sort_field=nick

# Show cursor in main display
set show_cursor=false

See Also



This manual page was written by Alan Ford <alan@whirlnet.co.uk> and expanded by Cedric Duval <cedricduval@free.fr>.

abook was written by Jaakko Heinonen <jheinonen@users.sourceforge.net>

Referenced By


Oct 25, 2005