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Search Address Book from Terminal UNIX
I have a need (like for Mutt's query_command) to search for email addresses from OS X's Address, but from the command line. After trying various hints, code, etc., and getting frustrated, I found that it's just stored in sqlite3. Everything is already built into OS X, you just have to figure out the SQL structure. I've only tested this on 10.6, but I imagine it will either work as is, or be easily adapted to work, on 10.5.

I created a shell script called in /usr/local/bin with these contents:
sqlite3 -separator '    ' ~/Library/Application\ Support/AddressBook/AddressBook-v22.abcddb "select e.ZADDRESSNORMALIZED,p.ZFIRSTNAME,p.ZLASTNAME,p.ZORGANIZATION from ZABCDRECORD as p,ZABCDEMAILADDRESS as e WHERE e.ZOWNER = p.Z_PK;" | grep $1
Note: The -separator ' ' bit is a Tab character (use Control-V, Control-I) to insert one in bash. You can make it a few spaces or whatever you want, but if you are using this as Mutt's query_command, then it must be a Tab character.

The above code dumps more than one email address per contact (if there is more than one), and one email address per line -- so this isn't useful for importing into anything else. To mess about with the SQL, use sqlite3 and try the .dump command to get a feel for what the schema is like. That's it! I hope this helps someone out there in the world.

[robg adds: If you create the above shell script, remember to make it executable (chmod a+x scriptname), and call it with the name you'd like to find: Smith. We covered some other sqlite tricks for Address Book in this previous hint.]
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Search Address Book from Terminal
Authored by: mankoff on Feb 01, '10 08:37:08AM

The "contacts" program (available via fink) would also probably meet your needs.


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contacts URL
Authored by: jecwobble on Feb 01, '10 09:49:25AM
If you don't have/use fink, you can go to

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Search Address Book from Terminal
Authored by: kenahoo on Feb 01, '10 07:44:20PM

I can't be the first to wonder: what bizarre person put 'Z's all over the place in the table & column names in this schema? And what's with "ABCD" all over the place?

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Search Address Book from Terminal
Authored by: wallybear on Feb 02, '10 02:10:20AM

That's the convention used by Address Book (AB) for its fields.

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Search Address Book from Terminal
Authored by: Anonymous on Feb 02, '10 03:55:04PM

I have to wonder if the tab character can be abstracted with something like "\t". That way you don't need a warning about making sure it's a tab character...

Not at a Mac, so I can't test.

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