GnuPG cheat sheetEdit

Export a public key

$ gpg --export -a

Sample output here.

List info about keys in the keyring

Public keys

$ gpg --list-public-keys

Private keys

$ gpg --list-secret-keys

List fingerprint info about keys in keyring

$ gpg --fingerprint

Deleting keys from a keyring

Deleting a private key

Note: This is generally something you’d want to do with extreme caution.

$ gpg --delete-secret-key "John Tester <>"

Deleting a public key

$ gpg --delete-key "John Tester <>"

Uploading a public key to a key server

Uploading to a specific server

Here the "key ID" is the one you can find in the output of gpg --list-keys, prefixed with 0x:

$ gpg --keyserver --send-keys 0x134D9429
gpg: sending key 134D9429 to hkp server

Letting gpg choose a default server

$ gpg --send-keys 0x134D9429
gpg: sending key 134D9429 to hkp server

Further reading on key servers

Importing a key from a key server

$ gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 0x134D9429
gpg: requesting key 134D9429 from hkp server
gpg: key 134D9429: "Wincent Colaiuta <>" not changed
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:              unchanged: 1

Setting preferences on an existing key in the key ring

(As described here.)

$ gpg --edit-key 134D9429
gpg> showpref
gpg> setpref SHA512 SHA384 SHA256 SHA224 AES256 AES192 AES CAST5 ZLIB BZIP2 ZIP
gpg> save
$ gpg --send-keys 134D9429 # upload new public key to keyserver

Generate revocation certificates

$ gpg --output revoke-37BAF280.asc --armor --gen-revoke 37BAF280
$ gpg --output revoke-134D9429.asc --armor --gen-revoke 134D9429
$ gpg -c revoke-134D9429.asc # encrypt revocation cert
$ gpg -c revoke-37BAF280.asc # encrypt revocation cert
$ rm revoke-*.asc            # destroy plaintext (use `srm` if you have it)
$ chmod 400 revoke-*         # ideally, should move certs "offsite" to secure location

Transitioning from an older key to a newer key

For example, to change key length, or because a key’s expiry is approaching. See this page for great detail on the subject.

We’ll generate a new key, set its trust to "ultimate", set it as our default, and sign the new key with the old.

$ gpg --gen-key                                  # generate new key
$ gpg --edit-key 37BAF280                        # trust, showprefs
$ vim ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf                          # set default-key to 37BAF280
$ gpg --default-key 1BD985E7 --sign-key 37BAF280 # sign new with old
$ gpg --list-sigs 134D9429 37BAF280              # confirm sigs
$ gpg --send-keys 134D9429 37BAF280              # send both keys to server

Changing the password on an existing private key

$ gpg --edit-key # at prompt: `passwd`, then `quit`

See also