Khal offers a set of commands, most importantly list, calendar, interactive, new, printcalendars, printformats, and search. See below for a description of what every command does. Calling khal without any command will invoke the default command, which can be specified in the configuration file.


khal (without any commands) has some options to print some information about khal:


Prints khal’s version number and exits

-h, --help

Prints a summary of khal’s options and commands and then exits

Several options are common to almost all of khal‘s commands (exceptions are described below):


Be more verbose (e.g. print debugging information)


Use an alternate configuration file


Specify a calendar to use (which must be configured in the configuration file), can be used several times. Calendars not specified will be disregarded for this run.


Specify a calendar which will be disregarded for this run, can be used several times.


khal will detect if standard output is not a tty, e.g., you redirect khal’s output into a file, and if so remove all highlighting/coloring from its output. Use --color if you want to force highlighting/coloring and --no-color if you want coloring always removed.

--format FORMAT

For all of khal’s commands that print events, the formatting of that event can be specified with this option. FORMAT is a template string, in which identifiers delimited by curly braces ({}) will be expanded to an event’s properties. FORMAT supports all formatting options offered by python’s str.format() (as it is used internally). The available template options are:

The title of the event.
The description of the event.
The start datetime in datetimeformat.
The start datetime in longdatetimeformat.
The start date in dateformat.
The start date in longdateformat.
The start time in timeformat.
The end datetime in datetimeformat.
The end datetime in longdatetimeformat.
The end date in dateformat.
The end date in longdateformat.
The end time in timeformat.
A repeating symbol (loop arrow) if the event is repeating.
The event description.
A separator: ” :: ” that appears when there is a description.
The event location.
The calendar name.
Changes the output color to the calendar’s color.
The start time in timeformat OR an appropriate symbol.
A hyphen “-” or nothing such that it appropriately fits between start-style and end-style.
The end time in timeformat OR an appropriate symbol.
A concatenation of start-style, to-style, and end-style OR an appropriate symbol.
For an allday event this is an empty string unless the end date and start date are different. For a non-allday event this will show the time or the datetime if the event start and end date are different.
Same as end-necessary but uses datelong and datetimelong.
The status of the event (if this event has one), something like CONFIRMED or CANCELLED.
The string CANCELLED (plus one blank) if the event’s status is cancelled, otherwise nothing.

By default all-day events have no times. To see a start and end time anyway simply add -full to the end of any template with start/end, for instance start-time becomes start-time-full and will always show start and end times (instead of being empty for all-day events).

In addition there are colors: black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white (and their bold versions: red-bold, etc.). There is also reset, which clears the styling, and bold, which is the normal bold.

For example the below command with print the title and description of all events today.

khal list --format "{title} {description}"
--day-format DAYFORMAT

works similar to --format, but for day headings. It only has a small number of options (in addition to all of the color options):

The date in dateformat.
The date in longdateformat.
The date’s name (Monday, Tuesday,…) or today or tomorrow.

If the –day-format is passed an empty string then it will not print the day headers (for an empty line pass in a whitespace character).


Almost everywhere khal accepts dates, khal should recognize relative date names like today, tomorrow and the names of the days of the week (also in three letters abbreviated form). Week day names get interpreted as the date of the next occurrence of a day with that name. The name of the current day gets interpreted as that date next week (i.e. seven days from now).



shows all events scheduled for a given date (or datetime) range, with custom formatting:

khal list [-a CALENDAR ... | -d CALENDAR ...] [--format FORMAT]
[--day-format DAYFORMAT] [--once] [--notstarted] [START [END | DELTA] ]

START and END can both be given as dates, datetimes or times (it is assumed today is meant in the case of only a given time) in the formats configured in the configuration file. If END is not given, midnight of the start date is assumed. Today is used for START if it is not explicitly given. If DELTA, a (date)time range in the format I{m,h,d}, where I is an integer and m means minutes, h means hours, and d means days, is given, END is assumed to be START + DELTA. A value of eod is also accepted as DELTA and means the end of day of the start date. In addition the DELTA week may be used to specify that the daterange should actually be the week containing the START.

The –once option only allows events to appear once even if they are on multiple days. With the –notstarted option only events are shown that start after START.


shows all events scheduled for a given datetime. khal at should be supplied with a date and time, a time (the date is then assumed to be today) or the string now. at defaults to now. The at command works just like the list command, except it has an implicit end time of zero minutes after the start.

khal at [-a CALENDAR ... | -d CALENDAR ...] [--format FORMAT]
[--notstarted] [[START DATE] TIME | now]


shows a calendar (similar to cal(1)) and list. khal calendar should understand the following syntax:

khal calendar [-a CALENDAR ... | -d CALENDAR ...] [START DATETIME]

Date selection works exactly as for khal list. The displayed calendar contains three consecutive months, where the first month is the month containing the first given date. If today is included, it is highlighted. Have a look at khal list for a description of the options.


will help users creating an initial configuration file. configure will refuse to run if there already is a configuration file.


lets the user import .ics files with the following syntax:

khal import [-a CALENDAR] [--batch] [--random-uid|-r] ICSFILE

If an event with the same UID is already present in the (implicitly) selected calendar khal import will ask before updating (i.e. overwriting) that old event with the imported one, unless –batch is given, than it will always update. If this behaviour is not desired, use the –random-uid flag to generate a new, random UID. If no calendar is specified (and not –batch), you will be asked to choose a calendar. You can either enter the number printed behind each calendar’s name or any unique prefix of a calendar’s name.


invokes the interactive version of khal, can also be invoked by calling ikhal. While ikhal can be used entirely with the keyboard, some elements respond if clicked on with a mouse (mostly by being selected).

When the calendar on the left is in focus, you can

  • move through the calendar (default keybindings are the arrow keys, space and backspace, those keybindings are configurable in the config file)
  • focus on the right column by pressing tab or enter
  • re-focus on the current date, default keybinding t as in today
  • marking a date range, default keybinding v, as in visual, think visual mode in Vim, pressing esc escape this visual mode
  • if in visual mode, you can select the other end of the currently marked range, default keybinding o as in other (again as in Vim)
  • create a new event on the currently focused day (or date range if a range is selected), default keybinding n as in new
  • search for events, default keybinding /, a pop-up will ask for your search term

When an event list is in focus, you can

  • view an event’s details with pressing enter (or tab) and edit it with pressing enter (or tab) again (if [default] event_view_always_visible is set to True, the event in focus will always be shown in detail)
  • toggle an event’s deletion status, default keybinding d as in delete, events marked for deletion will appear with a D in front and will be deleted when khal exits.
  • duplicate the selected event, default keybinding p as in duplicate (d was already taken)
  • export the selected event, default keybinding e

In the event editor, you can

  • jump to the next (previous) selectable element with pressing tab (shift+tab)
  • quick save, default keybinding meta+enter (meta will probably be alt)
  • use some common editing short cuts in most text fields (ctrl+w deletes word before cursor, ctrl+u (ctrl+k) deletes till the beginning (end) of the line, ctrl+a (ctrl+e) will jump to the beginning (end) of the line
  • in the date and time field you can increment and decrement the number under the cursor with ctrl+a and ctrl+x (time in 15 minute steps)
  • activate actions by pressing enter on text enclosed by angled brackets, e.g. < Save > (sometimes this might open a pop up)

Pressing esc will cancel the current action and/or take you back to the previously shown pane (i.e. what you see when you open ikhal), if you are at the start pane, ikhal will quit on pressing esc again.


allows for adding new events. khal new should understand the following syntax:


where start- and enddatetime are either datetimes, times, or keywords and times in the formats defined in the config file. If no calendar is given via -a, the default calendar is used. new does not support -d and also -a may only be used once.

new accepts these combinations for start and endtimes (specifying the end is always optional):

  • datetime [datetime|time] [timezone]
  • time [time] [timezone]
  • date [date]

where the formats for datetime and time are as follows:

  • datetime = (longdatetimeformat|datetimeformat|keyword-date timeformat)
  • time = timeformat
  • date = (longdateformat|dateformat)

and timezone, which describes the timezone the events start and end time are in, should be a valid Olson DB identifier (like Europe/Berlin or America/New_York. If no timezone is given, the defaulttimezone as configured in the configuration file is used instead.

The exact format of longdatetimeformat, datetimeformat, timeformat, longdateformat and dateformat can be configured in the configuration file. Valid keywords for dates are today, tomorrow, the English name of all seven weekdays and their three letter abbreviations (their next occurrence is used).

If no end is given, the default length of one hour or one day (for all-day events) is used. If only a start time is given the new event is assumed to be starting today. If only a time is given for the event to end on, the event ends on the same day it starts on, unless that would make the event end before it has started, then the next day is used as end date

If a 24:00 time is configured (timeformat = %H:%M) an end time of 24:00 is accepted as the end of a given date.

If the summary contains the string ::, everything after :: is taken as the description of the new event, i.e., the “body” of the event (and :: will be removed).

Passing the option --interactive (-i) makes all arguments optional and interactively prompts for required fields, then the event may be edited, the same way as in the edit command.


  • -l, –location=LOCATION specify where this event will be held.
  • -g, –categories=CATEGORIES specify which categories this event belongs to. Comma separated list of categories. Beware: some servers (e.g. SOGo) do not support multiple categories.
  • -r, –repeat=RRULE specify if and how this event should be recurring. Valid values for RRULE are daily, weekly, monthly and yearly
  • -u, –until=UNTIL specify until when a recurring event should run
  • –alarm DURATION will add an alarm DURATION before the start of the event, DURATION should look like 1day 10minutes or 1d3H10m, negative DURATIONs will set alarm after the start of the event.


khal new 18:00 Awesome Event

adds a new event starting today at 18:00 with summary ‘awesome event’ (lasting for the default time of one hour) to the default calendar

khal new tomorrow 16:30 Coffee Break

adds a new event tomorrow at 16:30

khal new 25.10. 18:00 24:00 Another Event :: with Alice and Bob

adds a new event on 25th of October lasting from 18:00 to 24:00 with an additional description

khal new -a work 26.07. Great Event -g meeting -r weekly

adds a new all day event on 26th of July to the calendar work which recurs every week.


an interactive command for editing and deleting events using a search string

khal edit [--show-past] event_search_string

the command will loop through all events that match the search string, prompting the user to delete, or change attributes.


prints a list of all configured calendars.


prints a fixed date (2013-12-21 10:09) in all configured date(time) formats. This is supposed to help check if those formats are configured as intended.