sq-key-generate - Man Page

Generates a new key


sq key generate [Options]  


Generates a new key.

Generating a key is the prerequisite to receiving encrypted messages and creating signatures.  There are a few parameters to this process, but we provide reasonable defaults for most users.

When generating a key, we also generate a revocation certificate. This can be used in case the key is superseded, lost, or compromised. It is a good idea to keep a copy of this in a safe place.

After generating a key, use `sq key extract-cert` to get the certificate corresponding to the key.  The key must be kept secure, while the certificate should be handed out to correspondents, e.g. by uploading it to a key server.

By default a key expires after 3 years. Using the `--expiry=` argument specific validity periods may be defined. It allows for providing a point in time for validity to end or a validity duration.

`sq key generate` respects the reference time set by the top-level `--time` argument.  It sets the creation time of the key, any subkeys, and the binding signatures to the reference time.


Subcommand options

-c,  --cipher-suite=CIPHER-SUITE

Selects the cryptographic algorithms for the key


Adds an authentication-capable subkey (default)


Adds an encryption-capable subkey. Encryption-capable subkeys can be marked as suitable for transport encryption, storage encryption, or both, i.e., universal. [default: universal]


Adds a signing-capable subkey (default)


Adds no authentication-capable subkey


Adds no encryption-capable subkey


Adds no signing-capable subkey


Defines EXPIRY for the key as ISO 8601 formatted string or custom duration. If an ISO 8601 formatted string is provided, the validity period reaches from the reference time (may be set using `--time`) to the provided time. Custom durations starting from the reference time may be set using `N[ymwds]`, for N years, months, weeks, days, or seconds. The special keyword `never` sets an unlimited expiry.

-o,  --output=FILE

Writes to FILE or stdout if omitted

--rev-cert=FILE or -

Writes the revocation certificate to FILE. mandatory if OUTFILE is `-`. [default: <OUTFILE>.rev]

-u,  --userid=EMAIL

Adds a userid to the key


Protects the key with a password

Global options


Specifies the location of the certificate store.  By default, sq uses the OpenPGP certificate directory at `$HOME/.local/share/pgp.cert.d`, and creates it if it does not exist.

-f,  --force

Overwrites existing files

-h,  --help

Print help (see a summary with '-h')


Specifies the location of a keyring to use.  Keyrings are used in addition to any certificate store.  The content of the keyring is not imported into the certificate store.  When a certificate is looked up, it is looked up in all keyrings and any certificate store, and the results are merged together.


Adds NOTATION to the list of known notations. This is used when validating signatures. Signatures that have unknown notations with the critical bit set are considered invalid.


Disables the use of a certificate store.  Normally sq uses the user's standard cert-d, which is located in `$HOME/.local/share/pgp.cert.d`.


Produces output in FORMAT, if possible


Produces output variant Version, such as 0.0.0. The default is the newest version. The output version is separate from the version of the sq program. To see the current supported versions, use output-versions subcommand.


Specifies the location of a pEp certificate store.  sq does not use a pEp certificate store by default; it must be explicitly enabled using this argument or the corresponding environment variable, PEP_CERT_STORE.  The pEp Engine's default certificate store is at `$HOME/.pEp/keys.db`.


Sets the reference time as an ISO 8601 formatted timestamp.  Normally, commands use the current time as the reference time.  This argument allows the user to use a difference reference time.  For instance, when creating a key using `sq key generate`, the creation time is normally set to the current time, but can be overridden using this option.  Similarly, when verifying a message, the message is verified with respect to the current time.  This option allows the user to use a different time.

TIME is interpreted as an ISO 8601 timestamp.  To set the certification time to July 21, 2013 at midnight UTC, you can do:

$ sq --time 20130721 verify msg.pgp

To include a time, say 5:50 AM, add a T, the time and optionally the timezone (the default timezone is UTC):

$ sq --time 20130721T0550+0200 verify msg.pgp


Considers the specified certificate to be a trust root. Trust roots are used by trust models, e.g., the Web of Trust, to authenticate certificates and User IDs.

-v,  --verbose

Be more verbose.


First, generate a key

    sq key generate --userid '<juliet@example.org>' \
    --output juliet.key.pgp

Then, extract the certificate for distribution

    sq key extract-cert --output juliet.cert.pgp juliet.key.pgp

Generate a key protecting it with a password

    sq key generate --userid '<juliet@example.org>' --with-password

Generate a key with multiple userids

    sq key generate --userid '<juliet@example.org>' \
    --userid 'Juliet Capulet'

Generate a key whose creation time is June 9, 2011 at midnight UTC

    sq key generate --time 20110609 --userid Noam \
    --output noam.pgp

See Also

sq(1), sq-key(1).

For the full documentation see <https://book.sequoia-pgp.org>.


0.33.0 (sequoia-openpgp 1.17.0)

Referenced By


0.33.0 Sequoia-PGP