gpg2 man page

gpg2 — OpenPGP encryption and signing tool

Synopsis

gpg2 [--homedir dir] [--options file] [options] command [args]

Description

gpg2 is the OpenPGP part of the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG). It is a tool to provide digital encryption and signing services using the OpenPGP standard. gpg2 features complete key management and all bells and whistles you can expect from a decent OpenPGP implementation.

In contrast to the standalone command gpg from GnuPG 1.x, which might be better suited for server and embedded platforms, the 2.x version is commonly installed under the name gpg2 and targeted to the desktop as it requires several other modules to be installed.

Return Value

The program returns 0 if everything was fine, 1 if at least a signature was bad, and other error codes for fatal errors.

Warnings

Use a *good* password for your user account and a *good* passphrase to protect your secret key. This passphrase is the weakest part of the whole system. Programs to do dictionary attacks on your secret keyring are very easy to write and so you should protect your "~/.gnupg/" directory very well.

Keep in mind that, if this program is used over a network (telnet), it is *very* easy to spy out your passphrase!

If you are going to verify detached signatures, make sure that the program knows about it; either give both filenames on the command line or use '-' to specify STDIN.

Interoperability

GnuPG tries to be a very flexible implementation of the OpenPGP standard. In particular, GnuPG implements many of the optional parts of the standard, such as the SHA-512 hash, and the ZLIB and BZIP2 compression algorithms. It is important to be aware that not all OpenPGP programs implement these optional algorithms and that by forcing their use via the --cipher-algo, --digest-algo, --cert-digest-algo, or --compress-algo options in GnuPG, it is possible to create a perfectly valid OpenPGP message, but one that cannot be read by the intended recipient.

There are dozens of variations of OpenPGP programs available, and each supports a slightly different subset of these optional algorithms. For example, until recently, no (unhacked) version of PGP supported the BLOWFISH cipher algorithm. A message using BLOWFISH simply could not be read by a PGP user. By default, GnuPG uses the standard OpenPGP preferences system that will always do the right thing and create messages that are usable by all recipients, regardless of which OpenPGP program they use. Only override this safe default if you really know what you are doing.

If you absolutely must override the safe default, or if the preferences on a given key are invalid for some reason, you are far better off using the --pgp6, --pgp7, or --pgp8 options. These options are safe as they do not force any particular algorithms in violation of OpenPGP, but rather reduce the available algorithms to a "PGP-safe" list.

Commands

Commands are not distinguished from options except for the fact that only one command is allowed.

gpg2 may be run with no commands, in which case it will perform a reasonable action depending on the type of file it is given as input (an encrypted message is decrypted, a signature is verified, a file containing keys is listed).

Please remember that option as well as command parsing stops as soon as a non-option is encountered, you can explicitly stop parsing by using the special option --.

Commands not specific to the function

--version
Print the program version and licensing information. Note that you cannot abbreviate this command.
--help
-h
Print a usage message summarizing the most useful command line options. Note that you cannot abbreviate this command.
--warranty
Print warranty information.
--dump-options
Print a list of all available options and commands. Note that you cannot abbreviate this command.

Commands to select the type of operation

--sign
-s
Make a signature. This command may be combined with --encrypt (for a signed and encrypted message), --symmetric (for a signed and symmetrically encrypted message), or --encrypt and --symmetric together (for a signed message that may be decrypted via a secret key or a passphrase). The key to be used for signing is chosen by default or can be set with the --local-user and --default-key options.
--clearsign
Make a clear text signature. The content in a clear text signature is readable without any special software. OpenPGP software is only needed to verify the signature. Clear text signatures may modify end-of-line whitespace for platform independence and are not intended to be reversible. The key to be used for signing is chosen by default or can be set with the --local-user and --default-key options.
--detach-sign
-b
Make a detached signature.
--encrypt
-e
Encrypt data. This command may be combined with --sign (for a signed and encrypted message), --symmetric (for a message that may be decrypted via a secret key or a passphrase), or --sign and --symmetric together (for a signed message that may be decrypted via a secret key or a passphrase).
--symmetric
-c
Encrypt with a symmetric cipher using a passphrase. The default symmetric cipher used is AES-128, but may be chosen with the --cipher-algo option. This command may be combined with --sign (for a signed and symmetrically encrypted message), --encrypt (for a message that may be decrypted via a secret key or a passphrase), or --sign and --encrypt together (for a signed message that may be decrypted via a secret key or a passphrase).
--store
Store only (make a simple literal data packet).
--decrypt
-d
Decrypt the file given on the command line (or STDIN if no file is specified) and write it to STDOUT (or the file specified with --output). If the decrypted file is signed, the signature is also verified. This command differs from the default operation, as it never writes to the filename which is included in the file and it rejects files which don't begin with an encrypted message.
--verify

Assume that the first argument is a signed file and verify it without generating any output. With no arguments, the signature packet is read from STDIN. If only a one argument is given, it is expected to be a complete signature.

With more than 1 argument, the first should be a detached signature and the remaining files make up the the signed data. To read the signed data from STDIN, use '-' as the second filename. For security reasons a detached signature cannot read the signed material from STDIN without denoting it in the above way.

Note: If the option --batch is not used, gpg2 may assume that a single argument is a file with a detached signature and it will try to find a matching data file by stripping certain suffixes. Using this historical feature to verify a detached signature is strongly discouraged; always specify the data file too.

Note: When verifying a cleartext signature, gpg verifies only what makes up the cleartext signed data and not any extra data outside of the cleartext signature or header lines following directly the dash marker line. The option --output may be used to write out the actual signed data; but there are other pitfalls with this format as well. It is suggested to avoid cleartext signatures in favor of detached signatures.

--multifile
This modifies certain other commands to accept multiple files for processing on the command line or read from STDIN with each filename on a separate line. This allows for many files to be processed at once. --multifile may currently be used along with --verify, --encrypt, and --decrypt. Note that --multifile --verify may not be used with detached signatures.
--verify-files
Identical to --multifile --verify.
--encrypt-files
Identical to --multifile --encrypt.
--decrypt-files
Identical to --multifile --decrypt.
--list-keys
-k
--list-public-keys

List all keys from the public keyrings, or just the keys given on the command line.

Avoid using the output of this command in scripts or other programs as it is likely to change as GnuPG changes. See --with-colons for a machine-parseable key listing command that is appropriate for use in scripts and other programs. Never use the regular output for scripts --- it is only for human consumption.

--list-secret-keys
-K
List all keys from the secret keyrings, or just the ones given on the command line. A # after the letters sec means that the secret key is not usable (for example, if it was created via --export-secret-subkeys). See also --list-keys.
--list-sigs

Same as --list-keys, but the signatures are listed too. This command has the same effect as using --list-keys with --with-sig-list.

For each signature listed, there are several flags in between the "sig" tag and keyid. These flags give additional information about each signature. From left to right, they are the numbers 1-3 for certificate check level (see --ask-cert-level), "L" for a local or non-exportable signature (see --lsign-key), "R" for a nonRevocable signature (see the --edit-key command "nrsign"), "P" for a signature that contains a policy URL (see --cert-policy-url), "N" for a signature that contains a notation (see --cert-notation), "X" for an eXpired signature (see --ask-cert-expire), and the numbers 1-9 or "T" for 10 and above to indicate trust signature levels (see the --edit-key command "tsign").

--check-sigs

Same as --list-sigs, but the signatures are verified. Note that for performance reasons the revocation status of a signing key is not shown. This command has the same effect as using --list-keys with --with-sig-check.

The status of the verification is indicated by a flag directly following the "sig" tag (and thus before the flags described above for --list-sigs). A "!" indicates that the signature has been successfully verified, a "-" denotes a bad signature and a "%" is used if an error occurred while checking the signature (e.g. a non supported algorithm).

--locate-keys
Locate the keys given as arguments. This command basically uses the same algorithm as used when locating keys for encryption or signing and may thus be used to see what keys gpg2 might use. In particular external methods as defined by --auto-key-locate may be used to locate a key. Only public keys are listed.
--fingerprint
List all keys (or the specified ones) along with their fingerprints. This is the same output as --list-keys but with the additional output of a line with the fingerprint. May also be combined with --list-sigs or --check-sigs. If this command is given twice, the fingerprints of all secondary keys are listed too. This command also forces pretty printing of fingerprints if the keyid format has been set to "none".
--list-packets
List only the sequence of packets. This command is only useful for debugging. When used with option --verbose the actual MPI values are dumped and not only their lengths. Note that the output of this command may change with new releases.
--card-edit
Present a menu to work with a smartcard. The subcommand "help" provides an overview on available commands. For a detailed description, please see the Card HOWTO at https://gnupg.org/documentation/howtos.… .
--card-status
Show the content of the smart card.
--change-pin
Present a menu to allow changing the PIN of a smartcard. This functionality is also available as the subcommand "passwd" with the --card-edit command.
--delete-keys name
--delete-keys name
Remove key from the public keyring. In batch mode either --yes is required or the key must be specified by fingerprint. This is a safeguard against accidental deletion of multiple keys.
--delete-secret-keys name
Remove key from the secret keyring. In batch mode the key must be specified by fingerprint. The option --yes can be used to advice gpg-agent not to request a confirmation. This extra pre-caution is done because gpg can't be sure that the secret key (as controlled by gpg-agent) is only used for the given OpenPGP public key.
--delete-secret-and-public-key name
Same as --delete-key, but if a secret key exists, it will be removed first. In batch mode the key must be specified by fingerprint. The option --yes can be used to advice gpg-agent not to request a confirmation.
--export
Either export all keys from all keyrings (default keyrings and those registered via option --keyring), or if at least one name is given, those of the given name. The exported keys are written to STDOUT or to the file given with option --output. Use together with --armor to mail those keys.
--send-keys key IDs
Similar to --export but sends the keys to a keyserver. Fingerprints may be used instead of key IDs. Option --keyserver must be used to give the name of this keyserver. Don't send your complete keyring to a keyserver --- select only those keys which are new or changed by you. If no key IDs are given, gpg does nothing.
--export-secret-keys
--export-secret-subkeys

Same as --export, but exports the secret keys instead. The exported keys are written to STDOUT or to the file given with option --output. This command is often used along with the option --armor to allow easy printing of the key for paper backup; however the external tool paperkey does a better job for creating backups on paper. Note that exporting a secret key can be a security risk if the exported keys are sent over an insecure channel.

The second form of the command has the special property to render the secret part of the primary key useless; this is a GNU extension to OpenPGP and other implementations can not be expected to successfully import such a key. Its intended use is to generated a full key with an additional signing subkey on a dedicated machine and then using this command to export the key without the primary key to the main machine.

GnuPG may ask you to enter the passphrase for the key. This is required because the internal protection method of the secret key is different from the one specified by the OpenPGP protocol.

--export-ssh-key

This command is used to export a key in the OpenSSH public key format. It requires the specification of one key by the usual means and exports the latest valid subkey which has an authentication capability to STDOUT or to the file given with option --output. That output can directly be added to ssh's ‘authorized_key’ file.

By specifying the key to export using a key ID or a fingerprint suffixed with an exclamation mark (!), a specific subkey or the primary key can be exported. This does not even require that the key has the authentication capability flag set.

--import
--fast-import

Import/merge keys. This adds the given keys to the keyring. The fast version is currently just a synonym.

There are a few other options which control how this command works. Most notable here is the --import-options merge-only option which does not insert new keys but does only the merging of new signatures, user-IDs and subkeys.

--recv-keys key IDs
Import the keys with the given key IDs from a keyserver. Option --keyserver must be used to give the name of this keyserver.
--refresh-keys
Request updates from a keyserver for keys that already exist on the local keyring. This is useful for updating a key with the latest signatures, user IDs, etc. Calling this with no arguments will refresh the entire keyring. Option --keyserver must be used to give the name of the keyserver for all keys that do not have preferred keyservers set (see --keyserver-options honor-keyserver-url).
--search-keys names
Search the keyserver for the given names. Multiple names given here will be joined together to create the search string for the keyserver. Option --keyserver must be used to give the name of this keyserver. Keyservers that support different search methods allow using the syntax specified in "How to specify a user ID" below. Note that different keyserver types support different search methods. Currently only LDAP supports them all.
--fetch-keys URIs
Retrieve keys located at the specified URIs. Note that different installations of GnuPG may support different protocols (HTTP, FTP, LDAP, etc.). When using HTTPS the system provided root certificates are used by this command.
--update-trustdb
Do trust database maintenance. This command iterates over all keys and builds the Web of Trust. This is an interactive command because it may have to ask for the "ownertrust" values for keys. The user has to give an estimation of how far she trusts the owner of the displayed key to correctly certify (sign) other keys. GnuPG only asks for the ownertrust value if it has not yet been assigned to a key. Using the --edit-key menu, the assigned value can be changed at any time.
--check-trustdb

Do trust database maintenance without user interaction. From time to time the trust database must be updated so that expired keys or signatures and the resulting changes in the Web of Trust can be tracked. Normally, GnuPG will calculate when this is required and do it automatically unless --no-auto-check-trustdb is set. This command can be used to force a trust database check at any time. The processing is identical to that of --update-trustdb but it skips keys with a not yet defined "ownertrust".

For use with cron jobs, this command can be used together with --batch in which case the trust database check is done only if a check is needed. To force a run even in batch mode add the option --yes.

--export-ownertrust

Send the ownertrust values to STDOUT. This is useful for backup purposes as these values are the only ones which can't be re-created from a corrupted trustdb. Example:

gpg2 --export-ownertrust > otrust.txt
--import-ownertrust

Update the trustdb with the ownertrust values stored in files (or STDIN if not given); existing values will be overwritten. In case of a severely damaged trustdb and if you have a recent backup of the ownertrust values (e.g. in the file ‘otrust.txt’), you may re-create the trustdb using these commands:

cd ~/.gnupg
rm trustdb.gpg
gpg2 --import-ownertrust < otrust.txt
--rebuild-keydb-caches
When updating from version 1.0.6 to 1.0.7 this command should be used to create signature caches in the keyring. It might be handy in other situations too.
--print-md algo
--print-mds
Print message digest of algorithm ALGO for all given files or STDIN. With the second form (or a deprecated "*" as algo) digests for all available algorithms are printed.
--gen-random 0|1|2 count
Emit count random bytes of the given quality level 0, 1 or 2. If count is not given or zero, an endless sequence of random bytes will be emitted. If used with --armor the output will be base64 encoded. PLEASE, don't use this command unless you know what you are doing; it may remove precious entropy from the system!
--gen-prime mode bits
Use the source, Luke :-). The output format is still subject to change.
--enarmor
--dearmor
Pack or unpack an arbitrary input into/from an OpenPGP ASCII armor. This is a GnuPG extension to OpenPGP and in general not very useful.
--tofu-policy auto|good|unknown|bad|ask key...
Set the TOFU policy for all the bindings associated with the specified keys. For more information about the meaning of the policies, see: [trust-model-tofu]. The keys may be specified either by their fingerprint (preferred) or their keyid.

How to manage your keys

This section explains the main commands for key management.

--quick-gen-key user-id [algo [usage [expire]]]

This is a simple command to generate a standard key with one user id. In contrast to --gen-key the key is generated directly without the need to answer a bunch of prompts. Unless the option --yes is given, the key creation will be canceled if the given user id already exists in the keyring.

If invoked directly on the console without any special options an answer to a “Continue?” style confirmation prompt is required. In case the user id already exists in the keyring a second prompt to force the creation of the key will show up.

If algo or usage are given, only the primary key is created and no prompts are shown. To specify an expiration date but still create a primary and subkey use “default” or “future-default” for algo and “default” for usage. For a description of these optional arguments see the command --quick-addkey. The usage accepts also the value “cert” which can be used to create a certification only primary key; the default is to a create certification and signing key.

If this command is used with --batch, --pinentry-mode has been set to loopback, and one of the passphrase options (--passphrase, --passphrase-fd, or passphrase-file) is used, the supplied passphrase is used for the new key and the agent does not ask for it. To create a key without any protection --passphrase '' may be used.

--quick-addkey fpr [algo [usage [expire]]]

Directly add a subkey to the key identified by the fingerprint fpr. Without the optional arguments an encryption subkey is added. If any of the arguments are given a more specific subkey is added.

algo may be any of the supported algorithms or curve names given in the format as used by key listings. To use the default algorithm the string “default” or “-” can be used. Supported algorithms are “rsa”, “dsa”, “elg”, “ed25519”, “cv25519”, and other ECC curves. For example the string “rsa” adds an RSA key with the default key length; a string “rsa4096” requests that the key length is 4096 bits. The string “future-default” is an alias for the algorithm which will likely be used as default algorithm in future versions of gpg.

Depending on the given algo the subkey may either be an encryption subkey or a signing subkey. If an algorithm is capable of signing and encryption and such a subkey is desired, a usage string must be given. This string is either “default” or “-” to keep the default or a comma delimited list of keywords: “sign” for a signing subkey, “auth” for an authentication subkey, and “encr” for an encryption subkey (“encrypt” can be used as alias for “encr”). The valid combinations depend on the algorithm.

The expire argument can be used to specify an expiration date for the subkey. Several formats are supported; commonly the ISO YYYY-MM-DD format is used. The values “never”, “none”, or “-” can be used for no expiration date.

--gen-key
Generate a new key pair using the current default parameters. This is the standard command to create a new key. In addition to the key a revocation certificate is created and stored in the ‘openpgp-revocs.d’ directory below the GnuPG home directory.
--full-gen-key

Generate a new key pair with dialogs for all options. This is an extended version of --gen-key.

There is also a feature which allows you to create keys in batch mode. See the manual section “Unattended key generation” on how to use this.

--gen-revoke name

Generate a revocation certificate for the complete key. To only revoke a subkey or a key signature, use the --edit command.

This command merely creates the revocation certificate so that it can be used to revoke the key if that is ever needed. To actually revoke a key the created revocation certificate needs to be merged with the key to revoke. This is done by importing the revocation certificate using the --import command. Then the revoked key needs to be published, which is best done by sending the key to a keyserver (command --send-key) and by exporting (--export) it to a file which is then send to frequent communication partners.

--desig-revoke name
Generate a designated revocation certificate for a key. This allows a user (with the permission of the keyholder) to revoke someone else's key.
--edit-key

Present a menu which enables you to do most of the key management related tasks. It expects the specification of a key on the command line.

uid n
Toggle selection of user ID or photographic user ID with index n. Use * to select all and 0 to deselect all.
key n
Toggle selection of subkey with index n or key ID n. Use * to select all and 0 to deselect all.
sign
Make a signature on key of user name. If the key is not yet signed by the default user (or the users given with -u), the program displays the information of the key again, together with its fingerprint and asks whether it should be signed. This question is repeated for all users specified with -u.
lsign
Same as "sign" but the signature is marked as non-exportable and will therefore never be used by others. This may be used to make keys valid only in the local environment.
nrsign
Same as "sign" but the signature is marked as non-revocable and can therefore never be revoked.
tsign
Make a trust signature. This is a signature that combines the notions of certification (like a regular signature), and trust (like the "trust" command). It is generally only useful in distinct communities or groups. For more information please read the sections “Trust Signature” and “Regular Expression” in RFC-4880.

Note that "l" (for local / non-exportable), "nr" (for non-revocable, and "t" (for trust) may be freely mixed and prefixed to "sign" to create a signature of any type desired.

If the option --only-sign-text-ids is specified, then any non-text based user ids (e.g., photo IDs) will not be selected for signing.

delsig
Delete a signature. Note that it is not possible to retract a signature, once it has been send to the public (i.e. to a keyserver). In that case you better use revsig.
revsig
Revoke a signature. For every signature which has been generated by one of the secret keys, GnuPG asks whether a revocation certificate should be generated.
check
Check the signatures on all selected user IDs. With the extra option selfsig only self-signatures are shown.
adduid
Create an additional user ID.
addphoto
Create a photographic user ID. This will prompt for a JPEG file that will be embedded into the user ID. Note that a very large JPEG will make for a very large key. Also note that some programs will display your JPEG unchanged (GnuPG), and some programs will scale it to fit in a dialog box (PGP).
showphoto
Display the selected photographic user ID.
deluid
Delete a user ID or photographic user ID. Note that it is not possible to retract a user id, once it has been send to the public (i.e. to a keyserver). In that case you better use revuid.
revuid
Revoke a user ID or photographic user ID.
primary
Flag the current user id as the primary one, removes the primary user id flag from all other user ids and sets the timestamp of all affected self-signatures one second ahead. Note that setting a photo user ID as primary makes it primary over other photo user IDs, and setting a regular user ID as primary makes it primary over other regular user IDs.
keyserver
Set a preferred keyserver for the specified user ID(s). This allows other users to know where you prefer they get your key from. See --keyserver-options honor-keyserver-url for more on how this works. Setting a value of "none" removes an existing preferred keyserver.
notation
Set a name=value notation for the specified user ID(s). See --cert-notation for more on how this works. Setting a value of "none" removes all notations, setting a notation prefixed with a minus sign (-) removes that notation, and setting a notation name (without the =value) prefixed with a minus sign removes all notations with that name.
pref
List preferences from the selected user ID. This shows the actual preferences, without including any implied preferences.
showpref
More verbose preferences listing for the selected user ID. This shows the preferences in effect by including the implied preferences of 3DES (cipher), SHA-1 (digest), and Uncompressed (compression) if they are not already included in the preference list. In addition, the preferred keyserver and signature notations (if any) are shown.
setpref string

Set the list of user ID preferences to string for all (or just the selected) user IDs. Calling setpref with no arguments sets the preference list to the default (either built-in or set via --default-preference-list), and calling setpref with "none" as the argument sets an empty preference list. Use gpg2 --version to get a list of available algorithms. Note that while you can change the preferences on an attribute user ID (aka "photo ID"), GnuPG does not select keys via attribute user IDs so these preferences will not be used by GnuPG.

When setting preferences, you should list the algorithms in the order which you'd like to see them used by someone else when encrypting a message to your key. If you don't include 3DES, it will be automatically added at the end. Note that there are many factors that go into choosing an algorithm (for example, your key may not be the only recipient), and so the remote OpenPGP application being used to send to you may or may not follow your exact chosen order for a given message. It will, however, only choose an algorithm that is present on the preference list of every recipient key. See also the Interoperability WITH OTHER OPENPGP PROGRAMS section below.

addkey
Add a subkey to this key.
addcardkey
Generate a subkey on a card and add it to this key.
keytocard
Transfer the selected secret subkey (or the primary key if no subkey has been selected) to a smartcard. The secret key in the keyring will be replaced by a stub if the key could be stored successfully on the card and you use the save command later. Only certain key types may be transferred to the card. A sub menu allows you to select on what card to store the key. Note that it is not possible to get that key back from the card - if the card gets broken your secret key will be lost unless you have a backup somewhere.
bkuptocard file
Restore the given file to a card. This command may be used to restore a backup key (as generated during card initialization) to a new card. In almost all cases this will be the encryption key. You should use this command only with the corresponding public key and make sure that the file given as argument is indeed the backup to restore. You should then select 2 to restore as encryption key. You will first be asked to enter the passphrase of the backup key and then for the Admin PIN of the card.
delkey
Remove a subkey (secondary key). Note that it is not possible to retract a subkey, once it has been send to the public (i.e. to a keyserver). In that case you better use revkey.
revkey
Revoke a subkey.
expire
Change the key or subkey expiration time. If a subkey is selected, the expiration time of this subkey will be changed. With no selection, the key expiration of the primary key is changed.
trust
Change the owner trust value for the key. This updates the trust-db immediately and no save is required.
disable
enable
Disable or enable an entire key. A disabled key can not normally be used for encryption.
addrevoker
Add a designated revoker to the key. This takes one optional argument: "sensitive". If a designated revoker is marked as sensitive, it will not be exported by default (see export-options).
passwd
Change the passphrase of the secret key.
toggle
This is dummy command which exists only for backward compatibility.
clean
Compact (by removing all signatures except the selfsig) any user ID that is no longer usable (e.g. revoked, or expired). Then, remove any signatures that are not usable by the trust calculations. Specifically, this removes any signature that does not validate, any signature that is superseded by a later signature, revoked signatures, and signatures issued by keys that are not present on the keyring.
minimize
Make the key as small as possible. This removes all signatures from each user ID except for the most recent self-signature.
cross-certify
Add cross-certification signatures to signing subkeys that may not currently have them. Cross-certification signatures protect against a subtle attack against signing subkeys. See --require-cross-certification. All new keys generated have this signature by default, so this command is only useful to bring older keys up to date.
save
Save all changes to the keyrings and quit.
quit
Quit the program without updating the keyrings.

The listing shows you the key with its secondary keys and all user ids. The primary user id is indicated by a dot, and selected keys or user ids are indicated by an asterisk. The trust value is displayed with the primary key: the first is the assigned owner trust and the second is the calculated trust value. Letters are used for the values:

-
No ownertrust assigned / not yet calculated.
e
Trust calculation has failed; probably due to an expired key.
q
Not enough information for calculation.
n
Never trust this key.
m
Marginally trusted.
f
Fully trusted.
u
Ultimately trusted.
--sign-key name
Signs a public key with your secret key. This is a shortcut version of the subcommand "sign" from --edit.
--lsign-key name
Signs a public key with your secret key but marks it as non-exportable. This is a shortcut version of the subcommand "lsign" from --edit-key.
--quick-sign-key fpr [names]
--quick-lsign-key fpr [names]

Directly sign a key from the passphrase without any further user interaction. The fpr must be the verified primary fingerprint of a key in the local keyring. If no names are given, all useful user ids are signed; with given [names] only useful user ids matching one of theses names are signed. By default, or if a name is prefixed with a '*', a case insensitive substring match is used. If a name is prefixed with a '=' a case sensitive exact match is done.

The command --quick-lsign-key marks the signatures as non-exportable. If such a non-exportable signature already exists the --quick-sign-key turns it into a exportable signature.

This command uses reasonable defaults and thus does not provide the full flexibility of the "sign" subcommand from --edit-key. Its intended use is to help unattended key signing by utilizing a list of verified fingerprints.

--quick-adduid user-id new-user-id
This command adds a new user id to an existing key. In contrast to the interactive sub-command adduid of --edit-key the new-user-id is added verbatim with only leading and trailing white space removed, it is expected to be UTF-8 encoded, and no checks on its form are applied.
--quick-revuid user-id user-id-to-revoke
This command revokes a User ID on an existing key. It cannot be used to revoke the last User ID on key (some non-revoked User ID must remain), with revocation reason “User ID is no longer valid”. If you want to specify a different revocation reason, or to supply supplementary revocation text, you should use the interactive sub-command revuid of --edit-key.
--passwd user_id
Change the passphrase of the secret key belonging to the certificate specified as user_id. This is a shortcut for the sub-command passwd of the edit key menu.

Options

gpg2 features a bunch of options to control the exact behaviour and to change the default configuration.

Long options can be put in an options file (default "~/.gnupg/gpg.conf"). Short option names will not work - for example, "armor" is a valid option for the options file, while "a" is not. Do not write the 2 dashes, but simply the name of the option and any required arguments. Lines with a hash ('#') as the first non-white-space character are ignored. Commands may be put in this file too, but that is not generally useful as the command will execute automatically with every execution of gpg.

Please remember that option parsing stops as soon as a non-option is encountered, you can explicitly stop parsing by using the special option --.

How to change the configuration

These options are used to change the configuration and are usually found in the option file.

--default-key name
Use name as the default key to sign with. If this option is not used, the default key is the first key found in the secret keyring. Note that -u or --local-user overrides this option. This option may be given multiple times. In this case, the last key for which a secret key is available is used. If there is no secret key available for any of the specified values, GnuPG will not emit an error message but continue as if this option wasn't given.
--default-recipient name
Use name as default recipient if option --recipient is not used and don't ask if this is a valid one. name must be non-empty.
--default-recipient-self
Use the default key as default recipient if option --recipient is not used and don't ask if this is a valid one. The default key is the first one from the secret keyring or the one set with --default-key.
--no-default-recipient
Reset --default-recipient and --default-recipient-self.
-v, --verbose
Give more information during processing. If used twice, the input data is listed in detail.
--no-verbose
Reset verbose level to 0.
-q, --quiet
Try to be as quiet as possible.
--batch
--no-batch
Use batch mode. Never ask, do not allow interactive commands. --no-batch disables this option. Note that even with a filename given on the command line, gpg might still need to read from STDIN (in particular if gpg figures that the input is a detached signature and no data file has been specified). Thus if you do not want to feed data via STDIN, you should connect STDIN to ‘/dev/null’.
--no-tty
Make sure that the TTY (terminal) is never used for any output. This option is needed in some cases because GnuPG sometimes prints warnings to the TTY even if --batch is used.
--yes
Assume "yes" on most questions.
--no
Assume "no" on most questions.
--list-options parameters

This is a space or comma delimited string that gives options used when listing keys and signatures (that is, --list-keys, --list-sigs, --list-public-keys, --list-secret-keys, and the --edit-key functions). Options can be prepended with a no- (after the two dashes) to give the opposite meaning. The options are:

show-photos
Causes --list-keys, --list-sigs, --list-public-keys, and --list-secret-keys to display any photo IDs attached to the key. Defaults to no. See also --photo-viewer. Does not work with --with-colons: see --attribute-fd for the appropriate way to get photo data for scripts and other frontends.
show-usage
Show usage information for keys and subkeys in the standard key listing. This is a list of letters indicating the allowed usage for a key (E=encryption, S=signing, C=certification, A=authentication). Defaults to yes.
show-policy-urls
Show policy URLs in the --list-sigs or --check-sigs listings. Defaults to no.
show-notations
show-std-notations
show-user-notations
Show all, IETF standard, or user-defined signature notations in the --list-sigs or --check-sigs listings. Defaults to no.
show-keyserver-urls
Show any preferred keyserver URL in the --list-sigs or --check-sigs listings. Defaults to no.
show-uid-validity
Display the calculated validity of user IDs during key listings. Defaults to yes.
show-unusable-uids
Show revoked and expired user IDs in key listings. Defaults to no.
show-unusable-subkeys
Show revoked and expired subkeys in key listings. Defaults to no.
show-keyring
Display the keyring name at the head of key listings to show which keyring a given key resides on. Defaults to no.
show-sig-expire
Show signature expiration dates (if any) during --list-sigs or --check-sigs listings. Defaults to no.
show-sig-subpackets
Include signature subpackets in the key listing. This option can take an optional argument list of the subpackets to list. If no argument is passed, list all subpackets. Defaults to no. This option is only meaningful when using --with-colons along with --list-sigs or --check-sigs.
--verify-options parameters

This is a space or comma delimited string that gives options used when verifying signatures. Options can be prepended with a `no-' to give the opposite meaning. The options are:

show-photos
Display any photo IDs present on the key that issued the signature. Defaults to no. See also --photo-viewer.
show-policy-urls
Show policy URLs in the signature being verified. Defaults to yes.
show-notations
show-std-notations
show-user-notations
Show all, IETF standard, or user-defined signature notations in the signature being verified. Defaults to IETF standard.
show-keyserver-urls
Show any preferred keyserver URL in the signature being verified. Defaults to yes.
show-uid-validity
Display the calculated validity of the user IDs on the key that issued the signature. Defaults to yes.
show-unusable-uids
Show revoked and expired user IDs during signature verification. Defaults to no.
show-primary-uid-only
Show only the primary user ID during signature verification. That is all the AKA lines as well as photo Ids are not shown with the signature verification status.
pka-lookups
Enable PKA lookups to verify sender addresses. Note that PKA is based on DNS, and so enabling this option may disclose information on when and what signatures are verified or to whom data is encrypted. This is similar to the "web bug" described for the --auto-key-retrieve option.
pka-trust-increase
Raise the trust in a signature to full if the signature passes PKA validation. This option is only meaningful if pka-lookups is set.
--enable-large-rsa
--disable-large-rsa
With --gen-key and --batch, enable the creation of RSA secret keys as large as 8192 bit. Note: 8192 bit is more than is generally recommended. These large keys don't significantly improve security, but they are more expensive to use, and their signatures and certifications are larger. This option is only available if the binary was build with large-secmem support.
--enable-dsa2
--disable-dsa2
Enable hash truncation for all DSA keys even for old DSA Keys up to 1024 bit. This is also the default with --openpgp. Note that older versions of GnuPG also required this flag to allow the generation of DSA larger than 1024 bit.
--photo-viewer string

This is the command line that should be run to view a photo ID. "%i" will be expanded to a filename containing the photo. "%I" does the same, except the file will not be deleted once the viewer exits. Other flags are "%k" for the key ID, "%K" for the long key ID, "%f" for the key fingerprint, "%t" for the extension of the image type (e.g. "jpg"), "%T" for the MIME type of the image (e.g. "image/jpeg"), "%v" for the single-character calculated validity of the image being viewed (e.g. "f"), "%V" for the calculated validity as a string (e.g. "full"), "%U" for a base32 encoded hash of the user ID, and "%%" for an actual percent sign. If neither %i or %I are present, then the photo will be supplied to the viewer on standard input.

The default viewer is "xloadimage -fork -quiet -title 'KeyID 0x%k' STDIN". Note that if your image viewer program is not secure, then executing it from GnuPG does not make it secure.

--exec-path string
Sets a list of directories to search for photo viewers and keyserver helpers. If not provided, keyserver helpers use the compiled-in default directory, and photo viewers use the PATH environment variable. Note, that on W32 system this value is ignored when searching for keyserver helpers.
--keyring file

Add file to the current list of keyrings. If file begins with a tilde and a slash, these are replaced by the $HOME directory. If the filename does not contain a slash, it is assumed to be in the GnuPG home directory ("~/.gnupg" if --homedir or $GNUPGHOME is not used).

Note that this adds a keyring to the current list. If the intent is to use the specified keyring alone, use --keyring along with --no-default-keyring.

If the the option --no-keyring has been used no keyrings will be used at all.

--secret-keyring file
This is an obsolete option and ignored. All secret keys are stored in the ‘private-keys-v1.d’ directory below the GnuPG home directory.
--primary-keyring file
Designate file as the primary public keyring. This means that newly imported keys (via --import or keyserver --recv-from) will go to this keyring.
--trustdb-name file
Use file instead of the default trustdb. If file begins with a tilde and a slash, these are replaced by the $HOME directory. If the filename does not contain a slash, it is assumed to be in the GnuPG home directory (‘~/.gnupg’ if --homedir or $GNUPGHOME is not used).
--homedir dir

Set the name of the home directory to dir. If this option is not used, the home directory defaults to ‘~/.gnupg’. It is only recognized when given on the command line. It also overrides any home directory stated through the environment variable ‘GNUPGHOME’ or (on Windows systems) by means of the Registry entry HKCU\Software\GNU\GnuPG:HomeDir.

On Windows systems it is possible to install GnuPG as a portable application. In this case only this command line option is considered, all other ways to set a home directory are ignored.

To install GnuPG as a portable application under Windows, create an empty file named ‘gpgconf.ctl’ in the same directory as the tool ‘gpgconf.exe’. The root of the installation is then that directory; or, if ‘gpgconf.exe’ has been installed directly below a directory named ‘bin’, its parent directory. You also need to make sure that the following directories exist and are writable: ‘ROOT/home’ for the GnuPG home and ‘ROOT/var/cache/gnupg’ for internal cache files.

--display-charset name

Set the name of the native character set. This is used to convert some informational strings like user IDs to the proper UTF-8 encoding. Note that this has nothing to do with the character set of data to be encrypted or signed; GnuPG does not recode user-supplied data. If this option is not used, the default character set is determined from the current locale. A verbosity level of 3 shows the chosen set. Valid values for name are:

iso-8859-1
This is the Latin 1 set.
iso-8859-2
The Latin 2 set.
iso-8859-15
This is currently an alias for the Latin 1 set.
koi8-r
The usual Russian set (RFC-1489).
utf-8
Bypass all translations and assume that the OS uses native UTF-8 encoding.
--utf8-strings
--no-utf8-strings
Assume that command line arguments are given as UTF-8 strings. The default (--no-utf8-strings) is to assume that arguments are encoded in the character set as specified by --display-charset. These options affect all following arguments. Both options may be used multiple times.
--options file
Read options from file and do not try to read them from the default options file in the homedir (see --homedir). This option is ignored if used in an options file.
--no-options
Shortcut for --options /dev/null. This option is detected before an attempt to open an option file. Using this option will also prevent the creation of a ‘~/.gnupg’ homedir.
-z n
--compress-level n
--bzip2-compress-level n
Set compression level to n for the ZIP and ZLIB compression algorithms. The default is to use the default compression level of zlib (normally 6). --bzip2-compress-level sets the compression level for the BZIP2 compression algorithm (defaulting to 6 as well). This is a different option from --compress-level since BZIP2 uses a significant amount of memory for each additional compression level. -z sets both. A value of 0 for n disables compression.
--bzip2-decompress-lowmem
Use a different decompression method for BZIP2 compressed files. This alternate method uses a bit more than half the memory, but also runs at half the speed. This is useful under extreme low memory circumstances when the file was originally compressed at a high --bzip2-compress-level.
--mangle-dos-filenames
--no-mangle-dos-filenames
Older version of Windows cannot handle filenames with more than one dot. --mangle-dos-filenames causes GnuPG to replace (rather than add to) the extension of an output filename to avoid this problem. This option is off by default and has no effect on non-Windows platforms.
--ask-cert-level
--no-ask-cert-level
When making a key signature, prompt for a certification level. If this option is not specified, the certification level used is set via --default-cert-level. See --default-cert-level for information on the specific levels and how they are used. --no-ask-cert-level disables this option. This option defaults to no.
--default-cert-level n

The default to use for the check level when signing a key.

0 means you make no particular claim as to how carefully you verified the key.

1 means you believe the key is owned by the person who claims to own it but you could not, or did not verify the key at all. This is useful for a "persona" verification, where you sign the key of a pseudonymous user.

2 means you did casual verification of the key. For example, this could mean that you verified the key fingerprint and checked the user ID on the key against a photo ID.

3 means you did extensive verification of the key. For example, this could mean that you verified the key fingerprint with the owner of the key in person, and that you checked, by means of a hard to forge document with a photo ID (such as a passport) that the name of the key owner matches the name in the user ID on the key, and finally that you verified (by exchange of email) that the email address on the key belongs to the key owner.

Note that the examples given above for levels 2 and 3 are just that: examples. In the end, it is up to you to decide just what "casual" and "extensive" mean to you.

This option defaults to 0 (no particular claim).

--min-cert-level
When building the trust database, treat any signatures with a certification level below this as invalid. Defaults to 2, which disregards level 1 signatures. Note that level 0 "no particular claim" signatures are always accepted.
--trusted-key long key ID
Assume that the specified key (which must be given as a full 8 byte key ID) is as trustworthy as one of your own secret keys. This option is useful if you don't want to keep your secret keys (or one of them) online but still want to be able to check the validity of a given recipient's or signator's key.
--trust-model pgp|classic|tofu|tofu+pgp|direct|always|auto

Set what trust model GnuPG should follow. The models are:

pgp
This is the Web of Trust combined with trust signatures as used in PGP 5.x and later. This is the default trust model when creating a new trust database.
classic
This is the standard Web of Trust as introduced by PGP 2.
tofu

TOFU stands for Trust On First Use. In this trust model, the first time a key is seen, it is memorized. If later another key is seen with a user id with the same email address, a warning is displayed indicating that there is a conflict and that the key might be a forgery and an attempt at a man-in-the-middle attack.

Because a potential attacker is able to control the email address and thereby circumvent the conflict detection algorithm by using an email address that is similar in appearance to a trusted email address, whenever a message is verified, statistics about the number of messages signed with the key are shown. In this way, a user can easily identify attacks using fake keys for regular correspondents.

When compared with the Web of Trust, TOFU offers significantly weaker security guarantees. In particular, TOFU only helps ensure consistency (that is, that the binding between a key and email address doesn't change). A major advantage of TOFU is that it requires little maintenance to use correctly. To use the web of trust properly, you need to actively sign keys and mark users as trusted introducers. This is a time-consuming process and anecdotal evidence suggests that even security-conscious users rarely take the time to do this thoroughly and instead rely on an ad-hoc TOFU process.

In the TOFU model, policies are associated with bindings between keys and email addresses (which are extracted from user ids and normalized). There are five policies, which can be set manually using the --tofu-policy option. The default policy can be set using the --tofu-default-policy option.

The TOFU policies are: auto, good, unknown, bad and ask. The auto policy is used by default (unless overridden by --tofu-default-policy) and marks a binding as marginally trusted. The good, unknown and bad policies mark a binding as fully trusted, as having unknown trust or as having trust never, respectively. The unknown policy is useful for just using TOFU to detect conflicts, but to never assign positive trust to a binding. The final policy, ask prompts the user to indicate the binding's trust. If batch mode is enabled (or input is inappropriate in the context), then the user is not prompted and the undefined trust level is returned.

tofu+pgp

This trust model combines TOFU with the Web of Trust. This is done by computing the trust level for each model and then taking the maximum trust level where the trust levels are ordered as follows: unknown < undefined < marginal < fully < ultimate < expired < never.

By setting --tofu-default-policy=unknown, this model can be used to implement the web of trust with TOFU's conflict detection algorithm, but without its assignment of positive trust values, which some security-conscious users don't like.

direct
Key validity is set directly by the user and not calculated via the Web of Trust.
always
Skip key validation and assume that used keys are always fully valid. You generally won't use this unless you are using some external validation scheme. This option also suppresses the "[uncertain]" tag printed with signature checks when there is no evidence that the user ID is bound to the key. Note that this trust model still does not allow the use of expired, revoked, or disabled keys.
auto
Select the trust model depending on whatever the internal trust database says. This is the default model if such a database already exists.
--auto-key-locate parameters
--no-auto-key-locate

GnuPG can automatically locate and retrieve keys as needed using this option. This happens when encrypting to an email address (in the "user@example.com" form), and there are no user@example.com keys on the local keyring. This option takes any number of the following mechanisms, in the order they are to be tried:

cert
Locate a key using DNS CERT, as specified in RFC-4398.
pka
Locate a key using DNS PKA.
dane
Locate a key using DANE, as specified in draft-ietf-dane-openpgpkey-05.txt.
wkd
Locate a key using the Web Key Directory protocol. This is an experimental method and semantics may change.
ldap
Using DNS Service Discovery, check the domain in question for any LDAP keyservers to use. If this fails, attempt to locate the key using the PGP Universal method of checking 'ldap://keys.(thedomain)'.
keyserver
Locate a key using whatever keyserver is defined using the --keyserver option.
keyserver-URL
In addition, a keyserver URL as used in the --keyserver option may be used here to query that particular keyserver.
local
Locate the key using the local keyrings. This mechanism allows the user to select the order a local key lookup is done. Thus using '--auto-key-locate local' is identical to --no-auto-key-locate.
nodefault
This flag disables the standard local key lookup, done before any of the mechanisms defined by the --auto-key-locate are tried. The position of this mechanism in the list does not matter. It is not required if local is also used.
clear
Clear all defined mechanisms. This is useful to override mechanisms given in a config file.
--auto-key-retrieve
--no-auto-key-retrieve

This option enables the automatic retrieving of keys from a keyserver when verifying signatures made by keys that are not on the local keyring.

If the method "wkd" is included in the list of methods given to auto-key-locate, the Signer's User ID is part of the signature, and the option --disable-signer-uid is not used, the "wkd" method may also be used to retrieve a key.

Note that this option makes a "web bug" like behavior possible. Keyserver or Web Key Directory operators can see which keys you request, so by sending you a message signed by a brand new key (which you naturally will not have on your local keyring), the operator can tell both your IP address and the time when you verified the signature.

--keyid-format none|short|0xshort|long|0xlong
Select how to display key IDs. "none" does not show the key ID at all but shows the fingerprint in a separate line. "short" is the traditional 8-character key ID. "long" is the more accurate (but less convenient) 16-character key ID. Add an "0x" to either to include an "0x" at the beginning of the key ID, as in 0x99242560. Note that this option is ignored if the option --with-colons is used.
--keyserver name

This option is deprecated - please use the --keyserver in ‘dirmngr.conf’ instead.

Use name as your keyserver. This is the server that --recv-keys, --send-keys, and --search-keys will communicate with to receive keys from, send keys to, and search for keys on. The format of the name is a URI: `scheme:[//]keyservername[:port]' The scheme is the type of keyserver: "hkp" for the HTTP (or compatible) keyservers, "ldap" for the LDAP keyservers, or "mailto" for the Graff email keyserver. Note that your particular installation of GnuPG may have other keyserver types available as well. Keyserver schemes are case-insensitive. After the keyserver name, optional keyserver configuration options may be provided. These are the same as the global --keyserver-options from below, but apply only to this particular keyserver.

Most keyservers synchronize with each other, so there is generally no need to send keys to more than one server. The keyserver hkp://keys.gnupg.net uses round robin DNS to give a different keyserver each time you use it.

--keyserver-options name=value

This is a space or comma delimited string that gives options for the keyserver. Options can be prefixed with a `no-' to give the opposite meaning. Valid import-options or export-options may be used here as well to apply to importing (--recv-key) or exporting (--send-key) a key from a keyserver. While not all options are available for all keyserver types, some common options are:

include-revoked
When searching for a key with --search-keys, include keys that are marked on the keyserver as revoked. Note that not all keyservers differentiate between revoked and unrevoked keys, and for such keyservers this option is meaningless. Note also that most keyservers do not have cryptographic verification of key revocations, and so turning this option off may result in skipping keys that are incorrectly marked as revoked.
include-disabled
When searching for a key with --search-keys, include keys that are marked on the keyserver as disabled. Note that this option is not used with HKP keyservers.
auto-key-retrieve
This is the same as the option auto-key-retrieve.
honor-keyserver-url
When using --refresh-keys, if the key in question has a preferred keyserver URL, then use that preferred keyserver to refresh the key from. In addition, if auto-key-retrieve is set, and the signature being verified has a preferred keyserver URL, then use that preferred keyserver to fetch the key from. Note that this option introduces a "web bug": The creator of the key can see when the keys is refreshed. Thus this option is not enabled by default.
honor-pka-record
If --auto-key-retrieve is used, and the signature being verified has a PKA record, then use the PKA information to fetch the key. Defaults to "yes".
include-subkeys
When receiving a key, include subkeys as potential targets. Note that this option is not used with HKP keyservers, as they do not support retrieving keys by subkey id.
timeout
Tell the keyserver helper program how long (in seconds) to try and perform a keyserver action before giving up. Note that performing multiple actions at the same time uses this timeout value per action. For example, when retrieving multiple keys via --recv-keys, the timeout applies separately to each key retrieval, and not to the --recv-keys command as a whole. Defaults to 30 seconds.
http-proxy=value
This option is deprecated. Set the proxy to use for HTTP and HKP keyservers. This overrides any proxy defined in ‘dirmngr.conf’.
verbose
This option has no more function since GnuPG 2.1. Use the dirmngr configuration options instead.
debug
This option has no more function since GnuPG 2.1. Use the dirmngr configuration options instead.
check-cert
This option has no more function since GnuPG 2.1. Use the dirmngr configuration options instead.
ca-cert-file
This option has no more function since GnuPG 2.1. Use the dirmngr configuration options instead.
--completes-needed n
Number of completely trusted users to introduce a new key signer (defaults to 1).
--marginals-needed n
Number of marginally trusted users to introduce a new key signer (defaults to 3)
--tofu-default-policy auto|good|unknown|bad|ask
The default TOFU policy (defaults to auto). For more information about the meaning of this option, see: [trust-model-tofu].
--max-cert-depth n
Maximum depth of a certification chain (default is 5).
--no-sig-cache
Do not cache the verification status of key signatures. Caching gives a much better performance in key listings. However, if you suspect that your public keyring is not safe against write modifications, you can use this option to disable the caching. It probably does not make sense to disable it because all kind of damage can be done if someone else has write access to your public keyring.
--auto-check-trustdb
--no-auto-check-trustdb
If GnuPG feels that its information about the Web of Trust has to be updated, it automatically runs the --check-trustdb command internally. This may be a time consuming process. --no-auto-check-trustdb disables this option.
--use-agent
--no-use-agent
This is dummy option. gpg2 always requires the agent.
--gpg-agent-info
This is dummy option. It has no effect when used with gpg2.
--agent-program file
Specify an agent program to be used for secret key operations. The default value is determined by running gpgconf with the option --list-dirs. Note that the pipe symbol (|) is used for a regression test suite hack and may thus not be used in the file name.
--dirmngr-program file
Specify a dirmngr program to be used for keyserver access. The default value is ‘/usr/bin/dirmngr’.
--no-autostart
Do not start the gpg-agent or the dirmngr if it has not yet been started and its service is required. This option is mostly useful on machines where the connection to gpg-agent has been redirected to another machines. If dirmngr is required on the remote machine, it may be started manually using gpgconf --launch dirmngr.
--lock-once
Lock the databases the first time a lock is requested and do not release the lock until the process terminates.
--lock-multiple
Release the locks every time a lock is no longer needed. Use this to override a previous --lock-once from a config file.
--lock-never
Disable locking entirely. This option should be used only in very special environments, where it can be assured that only one process is accessing those files. A bootable floppy with a stand-alone encryption system will probably use this. Improper usage of this option may lead to data and key corruption.
--exit-on-status-write-error
This option will cause write errors on the status FD to immediately terminate the process. That should in fact be the default but it never worked this way and thus we need an option to enable this, so that the change won't break applications which close their end of a status fd connected pipe too early. Using this option along with --enable-progress-filter may be used to cleanly cancel long running gpg operations.
--limit-card-insert-tries n
With n greater than 0 the number of prompts asking to insert a smartcard gets limited to N-1. Thus with a value of 1 gpg won't at all ask to insert a card if none has been inserted at startup. This option is useful in the configuration file in case an application does not know about the smartcard support and waits ad infinitum for an inserted card.
--no-random-seed-file
GnuPG uses a file to store its internal random pool over invocations. This makes random generation faster; however sometimes write operations are not desired. This option can be used to achieve that with the cost of slower random generation.
--no-greeting
Suppress the initial copyright message.
--no-secmem-warning
Suppress the warning about "using insecure memory".
--no-permission-warning

Suppress the warning about unsafe file and home directory (--homedir) permissions. Note that the permission checks that GnuPG performs are not intended to be authoritative, but rather they simply warn about certain common permission problems. Do not assume that the lack of a warning means that your system is secure.

Note that the warning for unsafe --homedir permissions cannot be suppressed in the gpg.conf file, as this would allow an attacker to place an unsafe gpg.conf file in place, and use this file to suppress warnings about itself. The --homedir permissions warning may only be suppressed on the command line.

--no-mdc-warning
Suppress the warning about missing MDC integrity protection.
--require-secmem
--no-require-secmem
Refuse to run if GnuPG cannot get secure memory. Defaults to no (i.e. run, but give a warning).
--require-cross-certification
--no-require-cross-certification
When verifying a signature made from a subkey, ensure that the cross certification "back signature" on the subkey is present and valid. This protects against a subtle attack against subkeys that can sign. Defaults to --require-cross-certification for gpg2.
--expert
--no-expert
Allow the user to do certain nonsensical or "silly" things like signing an expired or revoked key, or certain potentially incompatible things like generating unusual key types. This also disables certain warning messages about potentially incompatible actions. As the name implies, this option is for experts only. If you don't fully understand the implications of what it allows you to do, leave this off. --no-expert disables this option.

Input and Output

--armor
-a
Create ASCII armored output. The default is to create the binary OpenPGP format.
--no-armor
Assume the input data is not in ASCII armored format.
--output file
-o file
Write output to file. To write to stdout use - as the filename.
--max-output n
This option sets a limit on the number of bytes that will be generated when processing a file. Since OpenPGP supports various levels of compression, it is possible that the plaintext of a given message may be significantly larger than the original OpenPGP message. While GnuPG works properly with such messages, there is often a desire to set a maximum file size that will be generated before processing is forced to stop by the OS limits. Defaults to 0, which means "no limit".
--input-size-hint n
This option can be used to tell GPG the size of the input data in bytes. n must be a positive base-10 number. This option is only useful if the input is not taken from a file. GPG may use this hint to optimize its buffer allocation strategy. It is also used by the --status-fd line “PROGRESS” to provide a value for “total” if that is not available by other means.
--import-options parameters

This is a space or comma delimited string that gives options for importing keys. Options can be prepended with a `no-' to give the opposite meaning. The options are:

import-local-sigs
Allow importing key signatures marked as "local". This is not generally useful unless a shared keyring scheme is being used. Defaults to no.
keep-ownertrust
Normally possible still existing ownertrust values of a key are cleared if a key is imported. This is in general desirable so that a formerly deleted key does not automatically gain an ownertrust values merely due to import. On the other hand it is sometimes necessary to re-import a trusted set of keys again but keeping already assigned ownertrust values. This can be achieved by using this option.
repair-pks-subkey-bug
During import, attempt to repair the damage caused by the PKS keyserver bug (pre version 0.9.6) that mangles keys with multiple subkeys. Note that this cannot completely repair the damaged key as some crucial data is removed by the keyserver, but it does at least give you back one subkey. Defaults to no for regular --import and to yes for keyserver --recv-keys.
import-show
Show a listing of the key as imported right before it is stored. This can be combined with the option --dry-run to only look at keys.
import-export
Run the entire import code but instead of storing the key to the local keyring write it to the output. The export options export-pka and export-dane affect the output. This option can be used to remove all invalid parts from a key without the need to store it.
merge-only
During import, allow key updates to existing keys, but do not allow any new keys to be imported. Defaults to no.
import-clean
After import, compact (remove all signatures except the self-signature) any user IDs from the new key that are not usable. Then, remove any signatures from the new key that are not usable. This includes signatures that were issued by keys that are not present on the keyring. This option is the same as running the --edit-key command "clean" after import. Defaults to no.
import-minimal
Import the smallest key possible. This removes all signatures except the most recent self-signature on each user ID. This option is the same as running the --edit-key command "minimize" after import. Defaults to no.
--import-filter name=expr
--export-filter name=expr

These options define an import/export filter which are applied to the imported/exported keyblock right before it will be stored/written. name defines the type of filter to use, expr the expression to evaluate. The option can be used several times which then appends more expression to the same name.

The available filter types are:

keep-uid
This filter will keep a user id packet and its dependent packets in the keyblock if the expression evaluates to true.
drop-subkey
This filter drops the selected subkeys. Currently only implemented for --export-filter.
drop-sig
This filter drops the selected key signatures on user ids. Self-signatures are not considered. Currently only implemented for --import-filter.

For the syntax of the expression see the chapter "Filter Expressions". The property names for the expressions depend on the actual filter type and are indicated in the following table.

The available properties are:

uid
A string with the user id. (keep-uid)
mbox
The addr-spec part of a user id with mailbox or the empty string. (keep-uid)
key_algo
A number with the public key algorithm of a key or subkey packet. (drop-subkey)
key_created
key_created_d
The first is the timestamp a public key or subkey packet was created. The second is the same but given as an ISO string, e.g. "2016-08-17". (drop-subkey)
primary
Boolean indicating whether the user id is the primary one. (keep-uid)
secret
Boolean indicating whether a key or subkey is a secret one. drop-subkey)
sig_created
sig_created_d
The first is the timestamp a signature packet was created. The second is the same but given as an ISO string, e.g. "2016-08-17". (drop-sig)
sig_algo
A number with the public key algorithm of a signature packet. (drop-sig)
sig_digest_algo
A number with the digest algorithm of a signature packet. (drop-sig)
--export-options parameters

This is a space or comma delimited string that gives options for exporting keys. Options can be prepended with a `no-' to give the opposite meaning. The options are:

export-local-sigs
Allow exporting key signatures marked as "local". This is not generally useful unless a shared keyring scheme is being used. Defaults to no.
export-attributes
Include attribute user IDs (photo IDs) while exporting. This is useful to export keys if they are going to be used by an OpenPGP program that does not accept attribute user IDs. Defaults to yes.
export-sensitive-revkeys
Include designated revoker information that was marked as "sensitive". Defaults to no.
export-clean
Compact (remove all signatures from) user IDs on the key being exported if the user IDs are not usable. Also, do not export any signatures that are not usable. This includes signatures that were issued by keys that are not present on the keyring. This option is the same as running the --edit-key command "clean" before export except that the local copy of the key is not modified. Defaults to no.
export-minimal
Export the smallest key possible. This removes all signatures except the most recent self-signature on each user ID. This option is the same as running the --edit-key command "minimize" before export except that the local copy of the key is not modified. Defaults to no.
export-pka
Instead of outputting the key material output PKA records suitable to put into DNS zone files. An ORIGIN line is printed before each record to allow diverting the records to the corresponding zone file.
export-dane
Instead of outputting the key material output OpenPGP DANE records suitable to put into DNS zone files. An ORIGIN line is printed before each record to allow diverting the records to the corresponding zone file.
--with-colons
Print key listings delimited by colons. Note that the output will be encoded in UTF-8 regardless of any --display-charset setting. This format is useful when GnuPG is called from scripts and other programs as it is easily machine parsed. The details of this format are documented in the file ‘doc/DETAILS’, which is included in the GnuPG source distribution.
--fixed-list-mode
Do not merge primary user ID and primary key in --with-colon listing mode and print all timestamps as seconds since 1970-01-01. Since GnuPG 2.0.10, this mode is always used and thus this option is obsolete; it does not harm to use it though.
--legacy-list-mode
Revert to the pre-2.1 public key list mode. This only affects the human readable output and not the machine interface (i.e. --with-colons). Note that the legacy format does not convey suitable information for elliptic curves.
--with-fingerprint
Same as the command --fingerprint but changes only the format of the output and may be used together with another command.
--with-subkey-fingerprint
If a fingerprint is printed for the primary key, this option forces printing of the fingerprint for all subkeys. This could also be achieved by using the --with-fingerprint twice but by using this option along with keyid-format "none" a compact fingerprint is printed.
--with-icao-spelling
Print the ICAO spelling of the fingerprint in addition to the hex digits.
--with-keygrip
Include the keygrip in the key listings. In --with-colons mode this is implicitly enable for secret keys.
--with-wkd-hash
Print a Web Key Directory identifier along with each user ID in key listings. This is an experimental feature and semantics may change.
--with-secret
Include info about the presence of a secret key in public key listings done with --with-colons.

OpenPGP protocol specific options

-t, --textmode
--no-textmode
Treat input files as text and store them in the OpenPGP canonical text form with standard "CRLF" line endings. This also sets the necessary flags to inform the recipient that the encrypted or signed data is text and may need its line endings converted back to whatever the local system uses. This option is useful when communicating between two platforms that have different line ending conventions (UNIX-like to Mac, Mac to Windows, etc). --no-textmode disables this option, and is the default.
--force-v3-sigs
--no-force-v3-sigs
--force-v4-certs
--no-force-v4-certs
These options are obsolete and have no effect since GnuPG 2.1.
--force-mdc
Force the use of encryption with a modification detection code. This is always used with the newer ciphers (those with a blocksize greater than 64 bits), or if all of the recipient keys indicate MDC support in their feature flags.
--disable-mdc
Disable the use of the modification detection code. Note that by using this option, the encrypted message becomes vulnerable to a message modification attack.
--disable-signer-uid
By default the user ID of the signing key is embedded in the data signature. As of now this is only done if the signing key has been specified with local-user using a mail address. This information can be helpful for verifier to locate the key; see option --auto-key-retrieve.
--personal-cipher-preferences string
Set the list of personal cipher preferences to string. Use gpg2 --version to get a list of available algorithms, and use none to set no preference at all. This allows the user to safely override the algorithm chosen by the recipient key preferences, as GPG will only select an algorithm that is usable by all recipients. The most highly ranked cipher in this list is also used for the --symmetric encryption command.
--personal-digest-preferences string
Set the list of personal digest preferences to string. Use gpg2 --version to get a list of available algorithms, and use none to set no preference at all. This allows the user to safely override the algorithm chosen by the recipient key preferences, as GPG will only select an algorithm that is usable by all recipients. The most highly ranked digest algorithm in this list is also used when signing without encryption (e.g. --clearsign or --sign).
--personal-compress-preferences string
Set the list of personal compression preferences to string. Use gpg2 --version to get a list of available algorithms, and use none to set no preference at all. This allows the user to safely override the algorithm chosen by the recipient key preferences, as GPG will only select an algorithm that is usable by all recipients. The most highly ranked compression algorithm in this list is also used when there are no recipient keys to consider (e.g. --symmetric).
--s2k-cipher-algo name
Use name as the cipher algorithm for symmetric encryption with a passphrase if --personal-cipher-preferences and --cipher-algo are not given. The default is AES-128.
--s2k-digest-algo name
Use name as the digest algorithm used to mangle the passphrases for symmetric encryption. The default is SHA-1.
--s2k-mode n
Selects how passphrases for symmetric encryption are mangled. If n is 0 a plain passphrase (which is in general not recommended) will be used, a 1 adds a salt (which should not be used) to the passphrase and a 3 (the default) iterates the whole process a number of times (see --s2k-count).
--s2k-count n
Specify how many times the passphrases mangling for symmetric encryption is repeated. This value may range between 1024 and 65011712 inclusive. The default is inquired from gpg-agent. Note that not all values in the 1024-65011712 range are legal and if an illegal value is selected, GnuPG will round up to the nearest legal value. This option is only meaningful if --s2k-mode is set to the default of 3.

Compliance options

These options control what GnuPG is compliant to. Only one of these options may be active at a time. Note that the default setting of this is nearly always the correct one. See the Interoperability WITH OTHER OPENPGP PROGRAMS section below before using one of these options.

--gnupg
Use standard GnuPG behavior. This is essentially OpenPGP behavior (see --openpgp), but with some additional workarounds for common compatibility problems in different versions of PGP. This is the default option, so it is not generally needed, but it may be useful to override a different compliance option in the gpg.conf file.
--openpgp
Reset all packet, cipher and digest options to strict OpenPGP behavior. Use this option to reset all previous options like --s2k-*, --cipher-algo, --digest-algo and --compress-algo to OpenPGP compliant values. All PGP workarounds are disabled.
--rfc4880
Reset all packet, cipher and digest options to strict RFC-4880 behavior. Note that this is currently the same thing as --openpgp.
--rfc4880bis
Enable experimental features from proposed updates to RFC-4880. This option can be used in addition to the other compliance options. Warning: The behavior may change with any GnuPG release and created keys or data may not be usable with future GnuPG versions.
--rfc2440
Reset all packet, cipher and digest options to strict RFC-2440 behavior.
--pgp6

Set up all options to be as PGP 6 compliant as possible. This restricts you to the ciphers IDEA (if the IDEA plugin is installed), 3DES, and CAST5, the hashes MD5, SHA1 and RIPEMD160, and the compression algorithms none and ZIP. This also disables --throw-keyids, and making signatures with signing subkeys as PGP 6 does not understand signatures made by signing subkeys.

This option implies --disable-mdc --escape-from-lines.

--pgp7
Set up all options to be as PGP 7 compliant as possible. This is identical to --pgp6 except that MDCs are not disabled, and the list of allowable ciphers is expanded to add AES128, AES192, AES256, and TWOFISH.
--pgp8
Set up all options to be as PGP 8 compliant as possible. PGP 8 is a lot closer to the OpenPGP standard than previous versions of PGP, so all this does is disable --throw-keyids and set --escape-from-lines. All algorithms are allowed except for the SHA224, SHA384, and SHA512 digests.
--compliance string
This option can be used instead of one of the options above. Valid values for string are the above option names (without the double dash) and possibly others as shown when using "help" for value.

Doing things one usually doesn't want to do

-n
--dry-run
Don't make any changes (this is not completely implemented).
--list-only
Changes the behaviour of some commands. This is like --dry-run but different in some cases. The semantic of this option may be extended in the future. Currently it only skips the actual decryption pass and therefore enables a fast listing of the encryption keys.
-i
--interactive
Prompt before overwriting any files.
--debug-level level

Select the debug level for investigating problems. level may be a numeric value or by a keyword:

none
No debugging at all. A value of less than 1 may be used instead of the keyword.
basic
Some basic debug messages. A value between 1 and 2 may be used instead of the keyword.
advanced
More verbose debug messages. A value between 3 and 5 may be used instead of the keyword.
expert
Even more detailed messages. A value between 6 and 8 may be used instead of the keyword.
guru
All of the debug messages you can get. A value greater than 8 may be used instead of the keyword. The creation of hash tracing files is only enabled if the keyword is used.

How these messages are mapped to the actual debugging flags is not specified and may change with newer releases of this program. They are however carefully selected to best aid in debugging.

--debug flags
Set debugging flags. All flags are or-ed and flags may be given in C syntax (e.g. 0x0042) or as a comma separated list of flag names. To get a list of all supported flags the single word "help" can be used.
--debug-all
Set all useful debugging flags.
--debug-iolbf
Set stdout into line buffered mode. This option is only honored when given on the command line.
--faked-system-time epoch
This option is only useful for testing; it sets the system time back or forth to epoch which is the number of seconds elapsed since the year 1970. Alternatively epoch may be given as a full ISO time string (e.g. "20070924T154812").
--enable-progress-filter
Enable certain PROGRESS status outputs. This option allows frontends to display a progress indicator while gpg is processing larger files. There is a slight performance overhead using it.
--status-fd n
Write special status strings to the file descriptor n. See the file DETAILS in the documentation for a listing of them.
--status-file file
Same as --status-fd, except the status data is written to file file.
--logger-fd n
Write log output to file descriptor n and not to STDERR.
--log-file file
--logger-file file
Same as --logger-fd, except the logger data is written to file file. Use ‘socket://’ to log to socket.
--attribute-fd n
Write attribute subpackets to the file descriptor n. This is most useful for use with --status-fd, since the status messages are needed to separate out the various subpackets from the stream delivered to the file descriptor.
--attribute-file file
Same as --attribute-fd, except the attribute data is written to file file.
--comment string
--no-comments
Use string as a comment string in clear text signatures and ASCII armored messages or keys (see --armor). The default behavior is not to use a comment string. --comment may be repeated multiple times to get multiple comment strings. --no-comments removes all comments. It is a good idea to keep the length of a single comment below 60 characters to avoid problems with mail programs wrapping such lines. Note that comment lines, like all other header lines, are not protected by the signature.
--emit-version
--no-emit-version
Force inclusion of the version string in ASCII armored output. If given once only the name of the program and the major number is emitted, given twice the minor is also emitted, given thrice the micro is added, and given four times an operating system identification is also emitted. --no-emit-version (default) disables the version line.
--sig-notation name=value
--cert-notation name=value
-N, --set-notation name=value

Put the name value pair into the signature as notation data. name must consist only of printable characters or spaces, and must contain a '@' character in the form keyname@domain.example.com (substituting the appropriate keyname and domain name, of course). This is to help prevent pollution of the IETF reserved notation namespace. The --expert flag overrides the '@' check. value may be any printable string; it will be encoded in UTF-8, so you should check that your --display-charset is set correctly. If you prefix name with an exclamation mark (!), the notation data will be flagged as critical (rfc4880:5.2.3.16). --sig-notation sets a notation for data signatures. --cert-notation sets a notation for key signatures (certifications). --set-notation sets both.

There are special codes that may be used in notation names. "%k" will be expanded into the key ID of the key being signed, "%K" into the long key ID of the key being signed, "%f" into the fingerprint of the key being signed, "%s" into the key ID of the key making the signature, "%S" into the long key ID of the key making the signature, "%g" into the fingerprint of the key making the signature (which might be a subkey), "%p" into the fingerprint of the primary key of the key making the signature, "%c" into the signature count from the OpenPGP smartcard, and "%%" results in a single "%". %k, %K, and %f are only meaningful when making a key signature (certification), and %c is only meaningful when using the OpenPGP smartcard.

--sig-policy-url string
--cert-policy-url string
--set-policy-url string

Use string as a Policy URL for signatures (rfc4880:5.2.3.20). If you prefix it with an exclamation mark (!), the policy URL packet will be flagged as critical. --sig-policy-url sets a policy url for data signatures. --cert-policy-url sets a policy url for key signatures (certifications). --set-policy-url sets both.

The same %-expandos used for notation data are available here as well.

--sig-keyserver-url string

Use string as a preferred keyserver URL for data signatures. If you prefix it with an exclamation mark (!), the keyserver URL packet will be flagged as critical.

The same %-expandos used for notation data are available here as well.

--set-filename string
Use string as the filename which is stored inside messages. This overrides the default, which is to use the actual filename of the file being encrypted. Using the empty string for string effectively removes the filename from the output.
--for-your-eyes-only
--no-for-your-eyes-only
Set the `for your eyes only' flag in the message. This causes GnuPG to refuse to save the file unless the --output option is given, and PGP to use a "secure viewer" with a claimed Tempest-resistant font to display the message. This option overrides --set-filename. --no-for-your-eyes-only disables this option.
--use-embedded-filename
--no-use-embedded-filename
Try to create a file with a name as embedded in the data. This can be a dangerous option as it enables overwriting files. Defaults to no.
--cipher-algo name
Use name as cipher algorithm. Running the program with the command --version yields a list of supported algorithms. If this is not used the cipher algorithm is selected from the preferences stored with the key. In general, you do not want to use this option as it allows you to violate the OpenPGP standard. --personal-cipher-preferences is the safe way to accomplish the same thing.
--digest-algo name
Use name as the message digest algorithm. Running the program with the command --version yields a list of supported algorithms. In general, you do not want to use this option as it allows you to violate the OpenPGP standard. --personal-digest-preferences is the safe way to accomplish the same thing.
--compress-algo name

Use compression algorithm name. "zlib" is RFC-1950 ZLIB compression. "zip" is RFC-1951 ZIP compression which is used by PGP. "bzip2" is a more modern compression scheme that can compress some things better than zip or zlib, but at the cost of more memory used during compression and decompression. "uncompressed" or "none" disables compression. If this option is not used, the default behavior is to examine the recipient key preferences to see which algorithms the recipient supports. If all else fails, ZIP is used for maximum compatibility.

ZLIB may give better compression results than ZIP, as the compression window size is not limited to 8k. BZIP2 may give even better compression results than that, but will use a significantly larger amount of memory while compressing and decompressing. This may be significant in low memory situations. Note, however, that PGP (all versions) only supports ZIP compression. Using any algorithm other than ZIP or "none" will make the message unreadable with PGP. In general, you do not want to use this option as it allows you to violate the OpenPGP standard. --personal-compress-preferences is the safe way to accomplish the same thing.

--cert-digest-algo name
Use name as the message digest algorithm used when signing a key. Running the program with the command --version yields a list of supported algorithms. Be aware that if you choose an algorithm that GnuPG supports but other OpenPGP implementations do not, then some users will not be able to use the key signatures you make, or quite possibly your entire key.
--disable-cipher-algo name
Never allow the use of name as cipher algorithm. The given name will not be checked so that a later loaded algorithm will still get disabled.
--disable-pubkey-algo name
Never allow the use of name as public key algorithm. The given name will not be checked so that a later loaded algorithm will still get disabled.
--throw-keyids
--no-throw-keyids
Do not put the recipient key IDs into encrypted messages. This helps to hide the receivers of the message and is a limited countermeasure against traffic analysis. ([Using a little social engineering anyone who is able to decrypt the message can check whether one of the other recipients is the one he suspects.]) On the receiving side, it may slow down the decryption process because all available secret keys must be tried. --no-throw-keyids disables this option. This option is essentially the same as using --hidden-recipient for all recipients.
--not-dash-escaped
This option changes the behavior of cleartext signatures so that they can be used for patch files. You should not send such an armored file via email because all spaces and line endings are hashed too. You can not use this option for data which has 5 dashes at the beginning of a line, patch files don't have this. A special armor header line tells GnuPG about this cleartext signature option.
--escape-from-lines
--no-escape-from-lines
Because some mailers change lines starting with "From " to ">From " it is good to handle such lines in a special way when creating cleartext signatures to prevent the mail system from breaking the signature. Note that all other PGP versions do it this way too. Enabled by default. --no-escape-from-lines disables this option.
--passphrase-repeat n
Specify how many times gpg2 will request a new passphrase be repeated. This is useful for helping memorize a passphrase. Defaults to 1 repetition.
--passphrase-fd n

Read the passphrase from file descriptor n. Only the first line will be read from file descriptor n. If you use 0 for n, the passphrase will be read from STDIN. This can only be used if only one passphrase is supplied.

Note that this passphrase is only used if the option --batch has also been given. This is different from GnuPG version 1.x.

--passphrase-file file
Read the passphrase from file file. Only the first line will be read from file file. This can only be used if only one passphrase is supplied. Obviously, a passphrase stored in a file is of questionable security if other users can read this file. Don't use this option if you can avoid it. Note that this passphrase is only used if the option --batch has also been given. This is different from GnuPG version 1.x.
--passphrase string
Use string as the passphrase. This can only be used if only one passphrase is supplied. Obviously, this is of very questionable security on a multi-user system. Don't use this option if you can avoid it. Note that this passphrase is only used if the option --batch has also been given. This is different from GnuPG version 1.x.
--pinentry-mode mode

Set the pinentry mode to mode. Allowed values for mode are:

default
Use the default of the agent, which is ask.
ask
Force the use of the Pinentry.
cancel
Emulate use of Pinentry's cancel button.
error
Return a Pinentry error (“No Pinentry”).
loopback
Redirect Pinentry queries to the caller. Note that in contrast to Pinentry the user is not prompted again if he enters a bad password.
--command-fd n
This is a replacement for the deprecated shared-memory IPC mode. If this option is enabled, user input on questions is not expected from the TTY but from the given file descriptor. It should be used together with --status-fd. See the file doc/DETAILS in the source distribution for details on how to use it.
--command-file file
Same as --command-fd, except the commands are read out of file file
--allow-non-selfsigned-uid
--no-allow-non-selfsigned-uid
Allow the import and use of keys with user IDs which are not self-signed. This is not recommended, as a non self-signed user ID is trivial to forge. --no-allow-non-selfsigned-uid disables.
--allow-freeform-uid
Disable all checks on the form of the user ID while generating a new one. This option should only be used in very special environments as it does not ensure the de-facto standard format of user IDs.
--ignore-time-conflict
GnuPG normally checks that the timestamps associated with keys and signatures have plausible values. However, sometimes a signature seems to be older than the key due to clock problems. This option makes these checks just a warning. See also --ignore-valid-from for timestamp issues on subkeys.
--ignore-valid-from
GnuPG normally does not select and use subkeys created in the future. This option allows the use of such keys and thus exhibits the pre-1.0.7 behaviour. You should not use this option unless there is some clock problem. See also --ignore-time-conflict for timestamp issues with signatures.
--ignore-crc-error
The ASCII armor used by OpenPGP is protected by a CRC checksum against transmission errors. Occasionally the CRC gets mangled somewhere on the transmission channel but the actual content (which is protected by the OpenPGP protocol anyway) is still okay. This option allows GnuPG to ignore CRC errors.
--ignore-mdc-error
This option changes a MDC integrity protection failure into a warning. This can be useful if a message is partially corrupt, but it is necessary to get as much data as possible out of the corrupt message. However, be aware that a MDC protection failure may also mean that the message was tampered with intentionally by an attacker.
--allow-weak-digest-algos
Signatures made with known-weak digest algorithms are normally rejected with an “invalid digest algorithm” message. This option allows the verification of signatures made with such weak algorithms. MD5 is the only digest algorithm considered weak by default. See also --weak-digest to reject other digest algorithms.
--weak-digest name
Treat the specified digest algorithm as weak. Signatures made over weak digests algorithms are normally rejected. This option can be supplied multiple times if multiple algorithms should be considered weak. See also --allow-weak-digest-algos to disable rejection of weak digests. MD5 is always considered weak, and does not need to be listed explicitly.
--no-default-keyring
Do not add the default keyrings to the list of keyrings. Note that GnuPG will not operate without any keyrings, so if you use this option and do not provide alternate keyrings via --keyring or --secret-keyring, then GnuPG will still use the default public or secret keyrings.
--no-keyring
Do not add use any keyrings even if specified as options.
--skip-verify
Skip the signature verification step. This may be used to make the decryption faster if the signature verification is not needed.
--with-key-data
Print key listings delimited by colons (like --with-colons) and print the public key data.
--fast-list-mode
Changes the output of the list commands to work faster; this is achieved by leaving some parts empty. Some applications don't need the user ID and the trust information given in the listings. By using this options they can get a faster listing. The exact behaviour of this option may change in future versions. If you are missing some information, don't use this option.
--no-literal
This is not for normal use. Use the source to see for what it might be useful.
--set-filesize
This is not for normal use. Use the source to see for what it might be useful.
--show-session-key

Display the session key used for one message. See --override-session-key for the counterpart of this option.

We think that Key Escrow is a Bad Thing; however the user should have the freedom to decide whether to go to prison or to reveal the content of one specific message without compromising all messages ever encrypted for one secret key.

You can also use this option if you receive an encrypted message which is abusive or offensive, to prove to the administrators of the messaging system that the ciphertext transmitted corresponds to an inappropriate plaintext so they can take action against the offending user.

--override-session-key string
--override-session-key-fd fd
Don't use the public key but the session key string respective the session key taken from the first line read from file descriptor fd. The format of this string is the same as the one printed by --show-session-key. This option is normally not used but comes handy in case someone forces you to reveal the content of an encrypted message; using this option you can do this without handing out the secret key. Note that using --override-session-key may reveal the session key to all local users via the global process table.
--ask-sig-expire
--no-ask-sig-expire
When making a data signature, prompt for an expiration time. If this option is not specified, the expiration time set via --default-sig-expire is used. --no-ask-sig-expire disables this option.
--default-sig-expire
The default expiration time to use for signature expiration. Valid values are "0" for no expiration, a number followed by the letter d (for days), w (for weeks), m (for months), or y (for years) (for example "2m" for two months, or "5y" for five years), or an absolute date in the form YYYY-MM-DD. Defaults to "0".
--ask-cert-expire
--no-ask-cert-expire
When making a key signature, prompt for an expiration time. If this option is not specified, the expiration time set via --default-cert-expire is used. --no-ask-cert-expire disables this option.
--default-cert-expire
The default expiration time to use for key signature expiration. Valid values are "0" for no expiration, a number followed by the letter d (for days), w (for weeks), m (for months), or y (for years) (for example "2m" for two months, or "5y" for five years), or an absolute date in the form YYYY-MM-DD. Defaults to "0".
--allow-secret-key-import
This is an obsolete option and is not used anywhere.
--allow-multiple-messages
--no-allow-multiple-messages

Allow processing of multiple OpenPGP messages contained in a single file or stream. Some programs that call GPG are not prepared to deal with multiple messages being processed together, so this option defaults to no. Note that versions of GPG prior to 1.4.7 always allowed multiple messages.

Warning: Do not use this option unless you need it as a temporary workaround!

--enable-special-filenames
This option enables a mode in which filenames of the form ‘-&n’, where n is a non-negative decimal number, refer to the file descriptor n and not to a file with that name.
--no-expensive-trust-checks
Experimental use only.
--preserve-permissions
Don't change the permissions of a secret keyring back to user read/write only. Use this option only if you really know what you are doing.
--default-preference-list string
Set the list of default preferences to string. This preference list is used for new keys and becomes the default for "setpref" in the edit menu.
--default-keyserver-url name
Set the default keyserver URL to name. This keyserver will be used as the keyserver URL when writing a new self-signature on a key, which includes key generation and changing preferences.
--list-config
Display various internal configuration parameters of GnuPG. This option is intended for external programs that call GnuPG to perform tasks, and is thus not generally useful. See the file ‘doc/DETAILS’ in the source distribution for the details of which configuration items may be listed. --list-config is only usable with --with-colons set.
--list-gcrypt-config
Display various internal configuration parameters of Libgcrypt.
--gpgconf-list
This command is similar to --list-config but in general only internally used by the gpgconf tool.
--gpgconf-test
This is more or less dummy action. However it parses the configuration file and returns with failure if the configuration file would prevent gpg from startup. Thus it may be used to run a syntax check on the configuration file.

Deprecated options

--show-photos
--no-show-photos
Causes --list-keys, --list-sigs, --list-public-keys, --list-secret-keys, and verifying a signature to also display the photo ID attached to the key, if any. See also --photo-viewer. These options are deprecated. Use --list-options [no-]show-photos and/or --verify-options [no-]show-photos instead.
--show-keyring
Display the keyring name at the head of key listings to show which keyring a given key resides on. This option is deprecated: use --list-options [no-]show-keyring instead.
--always-trust
Identical to --trust-model always. This option is deprecated.
--show-notation
--no-show-notation
Show signature notations in the --list-sigs or --check-sigs listings as well as when verifying a signature with a notation in it. These options are deprecated. Use --list-options [no-]show-notation and/or --verify-options [no-]show-notation instead.
--show-policy-url
--no-show-policy-url
Show policy URLs in the --list-sigs or --check-sigs listings as well as when verifying a signature with a policy URL in it. These options are deprecated. Use --list-options [no-]show-policy-url and/or --verify-options [no-]show-policy-url instead.

Examples

gpg -se -r Bob file
sign and encrypt for user Bob
gpg --clearsign file
make a clear text signature
gpg -sb file
make a detached signature
gpg -u 0x12345678 -sb file
make a detached signature with the key 0x12345678
gpg --list-keys user_ID
show keys
gpg --fingerprint user_ID
show fingerprint
gpg --verify pgpfile
gpg --verify sigfile [datafile]
Verify the signature of the file but do not output the data unless requested. The second form is used for detached signatures, where sigfile is the detached signature (either ASCII armored or binary) and datafile are the signed data; if this is not given, the name of the file holding the signed data is constructed by cutting off the extension (".asc" or ".sig") of sigfile or by asking the user for the filename. If the option --output is also used the signed data is written to the file specified by that option; use - to write the signed data to stdout.

How to Specify a User Id

There are different ways to specify a user ID to GnuPG. Some of them are only valid for gpg others are only good for gpgsm. Here is the entire list of ways to specify a key:

By key Id.

This format is deduced from the length of the string and its content or 0x prefix. The key Id of an X.509 certificate are the low 64 bits of its SHA-1 fingerprint. The use of key Ids is just a shortcut, for all automated processing the fingerprint should be used.

When using gpg an exclamation mark (!) may be appended to force using the specified primary or secondary key and not to try and calculate which primary or secondary key to use.

The last four lines of the example give the key ID in their long form as internally used by the OpenPGP protocol. You can see the long key ID using the option --with-colons.

234567C4
0F34E556E
01347A56A
0xAB123456

234AABBCC34567C4
0F323456784E56EAB
01AB3FED1347A5612
0x234AABBCC34567C4
By fingerprint.

This format is deduced from the length of the string and its content or the 0x prefix. Note, that only the 20 byte version fingerprint is available with gpgsm (i.e. the SHA-1 hash of the certificate).

When using gpg an exclamation mark (!) may be appended to force using the specified primary or secondary key and not to try and calculate which primary or secondary key to use.

The best way to specify a key Id is by using the fingerprint. This avoids any ambiguities in case that there are duplicated key IDs.

1234343434343434C434343434343434
123434343434343C3434343434343734349A3434
0E12343434343434343434EAB3484343434343434
0xE12343434343434343434EAB3484343434343434

gpgsm also accepts colons between each pair of hexadecimal digits because this is the de-facto standard on how to present X.509 fingerprints. gpg also allows the use of the space separated SHA-1 fingerprint as printed by the key listing commands.

By exact match on OpenPGP user ID.

This is denoted by a leading equal sign. It does not make sense for X.509 certificates.

=Heinrich Heine <heinrichh@uni-duesseldorf.de>
By exact match on an email address.

This is indicated by enclosing the email address in the usual way with left and right angles.

<heinrichh@uni-duesseldorf.de>
By partial match on an email address.

This is indicated by prefixing the search string with an @. This uses a substring search but considers only the mail address (i.e. inside the angle brackets).

@heinrichh
By exact match on the subject's DN.

This is indicated by a leading slash, directly followed by the RFC-2253 encoded DN of the subject. Note that you can't use the string printed by gpgsm --list-keys because that one has been reordered and modified for better readability; use --with-colons to print the raw (but standard escaped) RFC-2253 string.

/CN=Heinrich Heine,O=Poets,L=Paris,C=FR
By exact match on the issuer's DN.

This is indicated by a leading hash mark, directly followed by a slash and then directly followed by the RFC-2253 encoded DN of the issuer. This should return the Root cert of the issuer. See note above.

#/CN=Root Cert,O=Poets,L=Paris,C=FR
By exact match on serial number and issuer's DN.

This is indicated by a hash mark, followed by the hexadecimal representation of the serial number, then followed by a slash and the RFC-2253 encoded DN of the issuer. See note above.

#4F03/CN=Root Cert,O=Poets,L=Paris,C=FR
By keygrip.

This is indicated by an ampersand followed by the 40 hex digits of a keygrip. gpgsm prints the keygrip when using the command --dump-cert. It does not yet work for OpenPGP keys.

&D75F22C3F86E355877348498CDC92BD21010A480
By substring match.

This is the default mode but applications may want to explicitly indicate this by putting the asterisk in front. Match is not case sensitive.

Heine
*Heine
. and + prefixes

These prefixes are reserved for looking up mails anchored at the end and for a word search mode. They are not yet implemented and using them is undefined.

Please note that we have reused the hash mark identifier which was used in old GnuPG versions to indicate the so called local-id. It is not anymore used and there should be no conflict when used with X.509 stuff.

Using the RFC-2253 format of DNs has the drawback that it is not possible to map them back to the original encoding, however we don't have to do this because our key database stores this encoding as meta data.

Filter Expressions

The options --import-filter and --export-filter use expressions with this syntax (square brackets indicate an optional part and curly braces a repetition, white space between the elements are allowed):

[lc] {[{flag}] PROPNAME op VALUE [lc]}

The name of a property (PROPNAME) may only consist of letters, digits and underscores. The description for the filter type describes which properties are defined. If an undefined property is used it evaluates to the empty string. Unless otherwise noted, the VALUE must always be given and may not be the empty string. No quoting is defined for the value, thus the value may not contain the strings && or ||, which are used as logical connection operators. The flag -- can be used to remove this restriction.

Numerical values are computed as long int; standard C notation applies. lc is the logical connection operator; either && for a conjunction or || for a disjunction. A conjunction is assumed at the begin of an expression. Conjunctions have higher precedence than disjunctions. If VALUE starts with one of the characters used in any op a space after the op is required.

The supported operators (op) are:

=~
Substring must match.
!~
Substring must not match.
=
The full string must match.
<>
The full string must not match.
==
The numerical value must match.
!=
The numerical value must not match.
<=
The numerical value of the field must be LE than the value.
<
The numerical value of the field must be LT than the value.
>
The numerical value of the field must be GT than the value.
>=
The numerical value of the field must be GE than the value.
-le
The string value of the field must be less or equal than the value.
-lt
The string value of the field must be less than the value.
-gt
The string value of the field must be greater than the value.
-ge
The string value of the field must be greater or equal than the value.
-n
True if value is not empty (no value allowed).
-z
True if value is empty (no value allowed).
-t
Alias for "PROPNAME != 0" (no value allowed).
-f
Alias for "PROPNAME == 0" (no value allowed).

Values for flag must be space separated. The supported flags are:

--
VALUE spans to the end of the expression.
-c
The string match in this part is done case-sensitive.

The filter options concatenate several specifications for a filter of the same type. For example the four options in this example:

--import-option keep-uid="uid =~ Alfa"
--import-option keep-uid="&& uid !~ Test"
--import-option keep-uid="|| uid =~ Alpha"
--import-option keep-uid="uid !~ Test"

which is equivalent to

--import-option \
 keep-uid="uid =~ Alfa" && uid !~ Test" || uid =~ Alpha" && "uid !~ Test"

imports only the user ids of a key containing the strings "Alfa" or "Alpha" but not the string "test".

Files

There are a few configuration files to control certain aspects of gpg2's operation. Unless noted, they are expected in the current home directory (see: [option --homedir]).

gpg.conf
This is the standard configuration file read by gpg2 on startup. It may contain any valid long option; the leading two dashes may not be entered and the option may not be abbreviated. This default name may be changed on the command line (see: [gpg-option --options]). You should backup this file.

Note that on larger installations, it is useful to put predefined files into the directory ‘/etc/skel/.gnupg’ so that newly created users start up with a working configuration. For existing users a small helper script is provided to create these files (see: [addgnupghome]).

For internal purposes gpg2 creates and maintains a few other files; They all live in in the current home directory (see: [option --homedir]). Only the gpg2 program may modify these files.

~/.gnupg
This is the default home directory which is used if neither the environment variable GNUPGHOME nor the option --homedir is given.
~/.gnupg/pubring.gpg
The public keyring. You should backup this file.
~/.gnupg/pubring.gpg.lock
The lock file for the public keyring.
~/.gnupg/pubring.kbx
The public keyring using a different format. This file is shared with gpgsm. You should backup this file.
~/.gnupg/pubring.kbx.lock
The lock file for ‘pubring.kbx’.
~/.gnupg/secring.gpg
A secret keyring as used by GnuPG versions before 2.1. It is not used by GnuPG 2.1 and later.
~/.gnupg/secring.gpg.lock
The lock file for the secret keyring.
~/.gnupg/.gpg-v21-migrated
File indicating that a migration to GnuPG 2.1 has been done.
~/.gnupg/trustdb.gpg
The trust database. There is no need to backup this file; it is better to backup the ownertrust values (see: [option --export-ownertrust]).
~/.gnupg/trustdb.gpg.lock
The lock file for the trust database.
~/.gnupg/random_seed
A file used to preserve the state of the internal random pool.
~/.gnupg/openpgp-revocs.d/
This is the directory where gpg stores pre-generated revocation certificates. The file name corresponds to the OpenPGP fingerprint of the respective key. It is suggested to backup those certificates and if the primary private key is not stored on the disk to move them to an external storage device. Anyone who can access theses files is able to revoke the corresponding key. You may want to print them out. You should backup all files in this directory and take care to keep this backup closed away.
/usr/share/gnupg/options.skel
The skeleton options file.

Operation is further controlled by a few environment variables:

HOME
Used to locate the default home directory.
GNUPGHOME
If set directory used instead of "~/.gnupg".
GPG_AGENT_INFO
This variable is obsolete; it was used by GnuPG versions before 2.1.
PINENTRY_USER_DATA
This value is passed via gpg-agent to pinentry. It is useful to convey extra information to a custom pinentry.
COLUMNS
LINES
Used to size some displays to the full size of the screen.
LANGUAGE
Apart from its use by GNU, it is used in the W32 version to override the language selection done through the Registry. If used and set to a valid and available language name (langid), the file with the translation is loaded from gpgdir/gnupg.nls/langid.mo. Here gpgdir is the directory out of which the gpg binary has been loaded. If it can't be loaded the Registry is tried and as last resort the native Windows locale system is used.

Bugs

On older systems this program should be installed as setuid(root). This is necessary to lock memory pages. Locking memory pages prevents the operating system from writing memory pages (which may contain passphrases or other sensitive material) to disk. If you get no warning message about insecure memory your operating system supports locking without being root. The program drops root privileges as soon as locked memory is allocated.

Note also that some systems (especially laptops) have the ability to “suspend to disk” (also known as “safe sleep” or “hibernate”). This writes all memory to disk before going into a low power or even powered off mode. Unless measures are taken in the operating system to protect the saved memory, passphrases or other sensitive material may be recoverable from it later.

Before you report a bug you should first search the mailing list archives for similar problems and second check whether such a bug has already been reported to our bug tracker at http://bugs.gnupg.org .

See Also

gpgv(1), gpgsm(1), gpg-agent(1)

The full documentation for this tool is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If GnuPG and the info program are properly installed at your site, the command

info gnupg

should give you access to the complete manual including a menu structure and an index.

Referenced By

debsign(1), dpkg-buildpackage(1), dscverify(1), gnupg2(7), gpg-agent(1), gpgsm(1), gpgv(1), gpgv2(1), keyart(1), lpass(1), pass(1), pwmd(1), scdaemon(1), who-permits-upload(1), who-uploads(1).

2016-11-17 GnuPG 2.1.16 GNU Privacy Guard 2.1