blanco requires access to your sent mail for calculating last contact times, and also access to a map of contact-to-frequency for calculating forgotten people.

If you can’t fulfil the requirements in the following two sections then blanco is not for you!

Sent mail

mbox, maildir and MH mailbox formats are supported, thanks to the wonderful mailbox Python module.

msmtp logs are also supported, and using them is the preferred method. Parsing simple log entries is appreciably faster than processing mailboxes, and this method should be chosen if at all possible.

There is also a faster gmail specific option when you’re using the msmtp log method, which takes advantage of the extra data included in Google‘s responses to calculate the date a mail was sent.


The default addressbook format is the format used by abook, where one of the custom fields allowed by abook is used to store frequency information.

blanco expects your abook entries to have a frequency value in the frequency field [1]. The format is “<n> <units>”, where n is a number and units is a character from the set [dwmy]. For example, an entry with a frequency of 3 m will be triggered if there hasn’t been a mail sent to that address in three months.

You can add the following snippet to your ~/.abook/abookrc file to display a frequency field in the other tab:

field frequency = Frequency

view OTHER = frequency

You do not need to set this for blanco to work, but it makes the purpose of the field clearer.

blanco can be used without abook, as it only requires a ini formatted contacts file. To create your own contacts file without abook follow the format below:



If you use the layout above you should specify --field=freq when calling blanco.

Another alternative would be to use abook just to convert your current address book in to a suitable format. Check the output of abook --formats for the file formats supported by your version of abook.

[1]You can select a different field using the --field option to blanco.


blanco stores its configuration in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/blanco/config.ini [2].

The configuration file is a simple INI format file, The file is processed with the configobj module, the documentation for which will describe some of the advanced features available within the configuration file.

You can specify command line options in the configuration file as defaults, and optionally override them from the command line. To toggle boolean options from the command line use their --no- prefixed versions.

An example configuration file is below:

sent type = msmtp
field = custom5
[2]The default value for ${XDG_CONFIG_HOME} is system dependent, but likely to be ~/.config if you haven’t set it. For more information see XDG base directory specification.