sq-key-subkey-add - Man Page

Adds a newly generated Subkey


sq key subkey add [Options] FILE


Adds a newly generated Subkey.

A subkey has one or more flags. `--can-sign` sets the signing flag, and means that the key may be used for signing. `--can-authenticate` sets the authentication flags, and means that the key may be used for authentication (e.g., as an SSH key). These two flags may be combined.

`--can-encrypt=storage` sets the storage encryption flag, and means that the key may be used for storage encryption. `--can-encrypt=transport` sets the transport encryption flag, and means that the key may be used for transport encryption. `--can-encrypt=universal` sets both the storage and the transport encryption flag, and means that the key may be used for both storage and transport encryption. Only one of the encryption flags may be used and it can not be combined with the signing or authentication flag.

At least one flag must be chosen.

When using `--with-password`, `sq` prompts the user for a password, that is used to encrypt the subkey. The password for the subkey may be different from that of the primary key.

Furthermore the subkey may use one of several available cipher suites, that can be selected using `--cipher-suite`.

By default a new subkey never expires. However, its validity period is limited by that of the primary key it is added for. 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 subkey add` respects the reference time set by the top-level `--time` argument. It sets the creation time of the subkey to the specified time.


Subcommand options

-B, --binary

Emits binary data

-c, --cipher-suite=CIPHER-SUITE

Selects the cryptographic algorithms for the subkey


Adds authentication capability to subkey


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


Adds signing capability to subkey


Defines EXPIRY for the subkey 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


Provides parameters for private key store


Protects the subkey with a password


Reads from FILE or stdin if omitted

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

Add a new Subkey for universal encryption which expires at the same time as the primary key

    sq key subkey add --output juliet-new.key.pgp \
    --can-encrypt universal juliet.key.pgp

Add a new Subkey for signing using the rsa3k cipher suite which expires in five days

    sq key subkey add --output juliet-new.key.pgp --can-sign \
    --expiry 5d --cipher-suite rsa3k juliet.key.pgp

See Also

sq(1), sq-key(1), sq-key-subkey(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