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rnp - Man Page

OpenPGP-compatible signatures and encryption.


rnp [--homedir dir] [Options] COMMAND [INPUT_FILE, ...] ...


The rnp command-line utility is part of the RNP suite and provides OpenPGP signing and encryption functionality compliant with IETF RFC 4880.

rnp does not allow manipulation of keys or keyrings — please use rnpkeys(1) for that purpose.


By default, rnp will apply a COMMAND, additionally configured with Options, to all INPUT_FILE(s) or stdin if no INPUT_FILE is given. There are some special cases for INPUT_FILE :

  • - (dash) substitutes to stdin
  • env:VARIABLE_NAME substitutes to the contents of environment variable VARIABLE_NAME

Depending on the input, output may be written:

  • if --output option is given output is written to the path specified (or to the stdout if - is used)
  • to the INPUT_FILE with a removed or added file extension (.pgp, .gpg, .asc, .sig), depending on operation.
  • to the stdout if input was read from the stdin.

If output file already exists, it will not be overwritten, unless --overwrite option is given.

Without the --armor option, output will be in binary.

If COMMAND requires public or private keys, rnp will look for the keyrings in ~/.rnp. The options --homedir and --keyfile override this (see below).

If COMMAND needs a password, rnp will ask for it via stdin or tty, unless the --password or --pass-fd option was specified.



-h,  --help

Displays a short help message. No options are expected.

-V,  --version

Displays version information. No options are expected.

Encryption and Signing

-e,  --encrypt

Encrypt data with public key(s), and optionally sign, if the --sign command is added.

You would likely want to specify one or more --recipient(s) or pick a --cipher (instead of the default).

Additional options:


Specify one or more recipients.


Select a specific cipher.

-z 0..9, --zlib,  --zip,  --bzip

Select a compression algorithm and level.


Output ASCII data instead of binary via the --armor option. If the input file is file.ext, and --output is not specified, then the data will be written (depending on --armor option) to file.ext.pgp or file.ext.asc.


Do not wrap the output in literal data packet. This could be used to encrypt a file which is already signed or encrypted. By default this would also disable compression, use option -z to override.


If the destination file already exists, and the --overwrite option is not given, the caller will be asked for the permission to overwrite or to provide a new file name. Please see the Options section for more information.

-c,  --symmetric

Encrypt data with password(s).

Can be combined with the commands --encrypt and --sign.

Options that apply to the --encrypt command also apply here.

Additional options:


Encryption to multiple passwords is possible with --passwords option. Each password would be asked via stdin/tty unless --password or --pass-fd is specified.

-s,  --sign

Digitally sign data, using one or more secret keys you own.

Public-key or password-based encryption may be added via the --encrypt and --symmetric commands.

Additional options:

-u,  --userid

By default, the first secret key you own will be selected for signing. Apply this option to select a different key or to use multiple keys.


By default, the signature is stored together with signed data. This option detaches the data signature to a separate file (file.ext.sig).


You may want to use --hash option to override default hash algorithm settings. As with encryption, output may be converted to ascii via the --armor option.

Compression options also apply here. Since the secret key is usually stored encrypted, you will be asked for the password to decrypt it via stdin/tty unless --password or --pass-fd is specified.


Digitally sign text data, producing human-readable output with the signature attached.

In this mode, data cannot be additionally encrypted or compressed.

Other signing options, --hash, -u, --password, can still be used here.

Decryption and Verification

-d,  --decrypt

Decrypt and verify data from the INPUT_FILE or stdin.

If the data is signed, signature verification information will be printed to stdout/tty.

Additional options:


Override the default output selection with a file name or stdout specifier (-). For the default output path selection see the Basics section.

--password,  --pass-fd

Depending on encryption options, you may be asked for the password of one of your secret keys, or for the encryption password. These options override that behavior such that you can input the password through automated means.

-v,  --verify

Verify signature(s) without writing embedded data out, if any (unless option --output is specified).

To verify the detached signature of a file file.ext, the detached signature file in the file name pattern of file.ext.sig or file.ext.asc must exist.

Also you may use option --source to specify the exact source for the signed data.

If data is encrypted, you may be asked for password as in the --decrypt command.

Other Commands


Show detailed information about the OpenPGP data in INPUT_FILE or stdin. Useful for curiosity, troubleshooting or debugging.

Additional options can be used:


output JSON data instead of human-readable information


print out key fingerprints and grips


print out all MPI values


print raw, hex-encoded packets too


Convert binary data to the ASCII-armored as per OpenPGP standard. This includes the -----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE----- header and footer, and Base64-encoded data.

Output for file.ext will be written to file.ext.asc (if it does not exist) or to stdout.

The following OpenPGP headers may be specified:

msg (default)








Additional options:

Forcefully overwrite existing destination file if it exists.


Specify destination file path.


Attempts to convert data from an armored format to the binary format.

The file.ext.asc output file would be written to file.ext. If the destination file already exists, it will prompt the user for a new filename.

Additional options:


Forcefully overwrite existing destination file if it exists.


Specify destination file path.


--home, --homedir DIR

Change homedir (where RNP looks for keyrings) to the specified value.

The default homedir is ~/.rnp .

-f, --keyfile PATH

Instead of loading keyrings, use key(s) from the file specified.

-u, --userid KEY

Specify one or more signing keys, searching for it via the given value KEY. See rnpkeys(1) on how to find valid values.

-r, --recipient KEY

Add the message recipient, i.e. the public key to which message will be encrypted to. See rnpkeys(1) on how to find valid values.

--armor, --ascii

Apply ASCII armoring to the output, so that the resulting output can be transferred as plain text.

See IETF RFC 4880 for more details.

--detach, --detached

Create a detached signature.

--output PATH

Write data processing related output to the file specified.

If not specified, the output filename will be guessed from the input filename/extension or the command will prompt the user via stdin/tty.


Overwrite already existing files without prompt.


Specify signed data for the detached signature verification (- and env: substitutions may be used here).


Set hash algorithm which to be used for signing and derivation of the encryption key from a password.

The default value is SHA256.

--cipher ALGORITHM

Set the symmetric algorithm used during encryption.

The default value is AES256.

--aead [EAX, OCB]

Enable AEAD encryption and select algorithm to be used.

--aead-chunk-bits BITS

Change AEAD chunk size bits, from 0 to 16 (actual chunk size would be 1 << (6 + bits)). See OpenPGP documentation for the details.

--zip, --zlib, --bzip2

Select corresponding algorithm to compress data with. Please refer to IETF RFC 4880 for details.

-z 0..9

Set compression level for the compression algorithms.

9 is the highest compression level, where 0 disables compression.

The default value is 6.

--pass-fd FD

Specify a file descriptor to read passwords from instead of from stdin/tty.

Useful for automated or non-interactive sessions.

--password PASSWORD

Use the specified password when it is needed.


Not recommended for production use due to potential security issues. Use --pass-fd for batch operations instead.

--passwords COUNT

Set the number of passwords for --symmetric encryption.

While not commonly used, you may encrypt a message to any reasonable number of passwords.

--creation TIME

Override signature creation time.

By default, creation time is set to the current local computer time.

TIME could be specified in the ISO 8601-1:2019 date format (yyyy-mm-dd), or in the UNIX timestamp format.

--expiration TIME

Set signature expiration time, counting from the creation time.

By default, signatures do not expire.

A specific expiration time can be specified as:

  • expiration date in the ISO 8601:2019 date format (yyyy-mm-dd); or
  • hours/days/months/years since creation time with the syntax of 20h/30d/1m/1y;
  • number of seconds.
--keystore-format GPG|KBX|G10|G21

Set keystore format.

RNP automatically detects the keystore format.

This option allows the auto-detection behavior to be overridden.


Disable use of tty.

By default RNP would detect whether TTY is attached and use it for user prompts.

This option overrides default behaviour so user input may be passed in batch mode.

--current-time TIME

Override system’s time with a specified value.

By default RNP uses system’s time in all signature/key checks, however in some scenarios it could be needed to override this.

TIME may be specified in the same way as --creation.

--set-filename FNAME

Override or set a file name, stored inside of OpenPGP message.

By default RNP will store input filename (or empty string for stdin/env input) in the resulting OpenPGP message during encryption or embedded signing. This option allows to override this. Special value _CONSOLE may be used for "for your eyes only"-message. Refer OpenPGP documentation for the details.


Allow hidden recipient support.

Sender of an encrypted message may wish to hide recipient’s key by setting a Key ID field to all zeroes. In this case receiver has to try every available secret key, checking for a valid decrypted session key. This option is disabled by default.

Exit Status






The following examples demonstrate method of usage of the rnp command.

Example 1

rnp --homedir .rnp --encrypt -r 0x6E69636B6F6C6179 --output document.txt.encrypted document.txt

Load keyrings from the .rnp folder, encrypt the document.txt file using the key with keyid 0x6E69636B6F6C6179.

Example 2

rnp --keyfile john-sec.asc -s --detach --hash SHA512 document.txt

Generate a detached signature over the file document.txt, using the secret key stored in the file. Additionally override the hash algorithm to SHA512.

Example 3

rnp --keyfile john-pub.asc --verify document.txt.sig

Verify detached signature, using the key stored in the john-pub.asc file. The signed data is assumed to be available from the file document.txt.

Example 4

rnp -e -c -s --passwords 3 -r 0x526F6E616C642054 -r "john@doe.com" -u 0x44616E69656C2057 document.txt

Encrypt document.txt with 2 keys (specified via keyid 0x526F6E616C642054 and userid john@doe.com), and 3 passwords, so any of these may be used to decrypt the resulting file.

Additionally, the message will be signed with key 0x44616E69656C2057.

Example 5

printf "Message" | rnp --keyfile env:PGP_ENCRYPTION_KEY -e - --armor

Encrypt message, passed via stdin, using the key, stored in environment variable PGP_ENCRYPTION_KEY, add ascii armoring, and print result to the stdout.


Please report issues via the RNP public issue tracker at: https://github.com/rnpgp/rnp/issues.

Security reports or security-sensitive feedback should be reported according to the instructions at: https://www.rnpgp.org/feedback.


RNP is an open source project led by Ribose and has received contributions from numerous individuals and organizations.


Web site: https://www.rnpgp.org

Source repository: https://github.com/rnpgp/rnp


Copyright (C) 2017-2021 Ribose. The RNP software suite is freely licensed: please refer to the LICENSE file for details.

See Also

rnpkeys(1), librnp(3)



Referenced By

librnp(3), rnpkeys(1).

2024-05-03 RNP 0.17.1 RNP Manual