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#185 in Command line utilities

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MIT and LGPL-2.1

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gpg-tui is a Terminal User Interface for GnuPG.

It aims to ease the key management operations such as listing/exporting/signing by providing an interface along with the command-line fallback for more complex operations. It is not trying to be a full-fledged interface for all the features that gpg provides but it tries to bring a more interactive approach to key management.


gpg-tui --style colored --splash --homedir /etc/pacman.d/gnupg
Table of Contents


  • Rust: >=1.64.0
  • Core dependencies: gnupg, gpgme>=1.12.0, libgpg-error
  • Other dependencies: libxcb

Pleases note that the name of these dependencies (packages) might change depending on the distribution/platform.(*)

For installing these dependencies:

  • on Arch Linux, run pacman -S gpgme libx11
  • on Debian/Ubuntu, run apt-get install libgpgme-dev libx11-dev libxcb-shape0-dev libxcb-xfixes0-dev libxkbcommon-dev
  • on Fedora, run dnf install gpgme-devel libX11-devel
  • on Void Linux, run xbps-install -S gpgme-devel libxcb-devel libgpg-error-devel gnupg


Packaging status

Packaging status


gpg-tui is available on crates.io:

cargo install gpg-tui

Arch Linux


gpg-tui can be installed from the community repository using Pacman:

pacman -S gpg-tui


gpg-tui is also available on AUR and it can be installed with an AUR helper:

paru -S gpg-tui-git

Or if you prefer, you can clone the AUR packages and compile them with makepkg:

# clone the AUR repository
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/gpg-tui-git.git && cd gpg-tui-git/

# build the package
makepkg -si


Available in dm9pZCAq overlay

eselect repository enable dm9pZCAq
emerge --sync dm9pZCAq
emerge app-crypt/gpg-tui::dm9pZCAq


To install the Homebrew package, run:

brew install gpg-tui

To update, run:

brew upgrade gpg-tui


Docker Hub

See available tags.

docker pull orhunp/gpg-tui:[tag]

You can also use the following command for a quick launch:

docker run --rm -it -v "$HOME/.gnupg":/app/.gnupg --user 1000:1000 orhunp/gpg-tui --homedir /app/.gnupg

Using the Dockerfile

# clone the repository
git clone https://github.com/orhun/gpg-tui.git && cd gpg-tui/

# build the image
docker build -t gpg-tui .

# run the container
docker run -it gpg-tui


All required dependencies are automatically fetched and installed independently of the installation method chosen.

Building from source

# using a port
cd /usr/ports/security/gpg-tui
make install
# alternative method using portmaster
portmaster security/gpg-tui

Binary releases

# update repository catalogue (if outdated)
pkg update

# fetch and install the package
pkg install gpg-tui


gpg-tui is available from the main pkgsrc branch.

Install using the package manager

pkgin install gpg-tui

Building from source

cd /usr/pkgsrc/security/gpg-tui
make install


Building from source

# clone the repository
git clone https://github.com/orhun/gpg-tui.git && cd gpg-tui/

# build and install
cargo install --root "$HOME/.cargo" --path .

Binary releases

See available releases that are automated by Continuous Deployment workflow.


gpg-tui [OPTIONS]
    -a, --armor                  Enables ASCII armored output
        --splash                 Shows the splash screen on startup
        --config <path>          Sets the configuration file [env: GPG_TUI_CONFIG=]
        --homedir <dir>          Sets the GnuPG home directory [env: GNUPGHOME=]
    -o, --outdir <dir>           Sets the output directory [env: OUTDIR=]
        --outfile <path>         Sets the template for the output file name [env: OUTFILE=]
                                 [default: {type}_{query}.{ext}]
    -d, --default-key <key>      Sets the default key to sign with [env: DEFAULT_KEY=]
    -t, --tick-rate <ms>         Sets the tick rate of the terminal [env: TICK_RATE=] [default: 250]
    -c, --color <color>          Sets the accent color of the terminal [env: COLOR=] [default: gray]
    -s, --style <style>          Sets the style of the terminal [env: STYLE=] [default: plain]
                                 [possible values: plain, colored]
    -f, --file-explorer <app>    Sets the utility for file selection [env: FILE_EXPLORER=] [default: xplr]
        --detail-level <level>   Sets the detail level for the keys [env: DETAIL_LEVEL=] [default: minimum]
                                 [possible values: minimum, standard, full]
        --select <option>        Enables the selection mode [env: SELECT=]
                                 [possible values: key_id, key_fpr, user_id, row1, row2]
    -h, --help                   Print help information
    -V, --version                Print version information


It is possible to override the command line arguments with a configuration file.

See gpg-tui.toml for the default configuration values.

The configuration file can be specified via --config argument or GPG_TUI_CONFIG environment variable. Also, it can be placed to a location where gpg-tui looks for:

  • <config_dir> / gpg-tui.toml
  • <config_dir> / gpg-tui/gpg-tui.toml
  • <config_dir> / gpg-tui/config

<config_dir> depends on the platform as shown in the following table:

Platform Value Example
Linux $XDG_CONFIG_HOME or $HOME/.config /home/alice/.config
macOS $HOME/Library/Application Support /Users/Alice/Library/Application Support
Windows {FOLDERID_RoamingAppData} C:\Users\Alice\AppData\Roaming

Key Bindings

User Interface

Key Binding Action
? show help
o,space,enter show options
hjkl,arrows,pgkeys navigate
n switch to normal mode
v switch to visual mode
c switch to copy mode
p,C-v paste from clipboard
a toggle armored output
1,2,3 set detail level
t,tab toggle detail (all/selected)
` toggle table margin
m toggle table size
C-s toggle style
/ search
: run command
r,f5 refresh application
q,C-c/d,escape quit application

Key Management

Key Binding Action
x export key
s sign key
e edit key
i import key(s)
f receive key
u send key
g generate key
d,backspace delete key
C-r refresh keys


Key bindings can be overridden/customized via using general.key_bindings setting in the configuration file. For example,

key_bindings = [
  { keys = [ "?", "h", "f1" ], command = ":help" },
  { keys = [ "C-s", "s" ], command = ":style colored" },
  { keys = [ "C-d", "C-c", "q" ], command = ":quit" },

keys array contains the keycodes which is either a single key (e.g. a), a key combination (e.g. Control-C: C-c, Alt-C: A-c), or a special key (e.g. Backspace, Enter). Available key codes can be found in the crossterm documentation.

Also, see the list of commands.


Available keys in the keyring (which can be specified via --homedir argument) are showed on a table. This table consists of 2 columns which are key information and user information.

The level of detail that an individual table row shows is determined by detail levels.

Detail Levels

  1. Minimum: shows only the primary key and user ID.
[sc--] rsa3072/B14085A20355B74DE0CE0FA1E19F76D037BD65B6  │  [u] Example Key <example@key>
  1. Standard: shows all the subkeys and user IDs.
[sc--] rsa3072/B14085A20355B74DE0CE0FA1E19F76D037BD65B6  │  [u] Example Key <example@key>
|      └─(2021-05-14)                                    │   └─[u] Other User ID <example@key>
[--e-] rsa3072/E56CAC142AE5A979BEECB00FB4F68595CAD4E7E5  │
  1. Full: shows signatures and notations.
[sc--] rsa3072/B14085A20355B74DE0CE0FA1E19F76D037BD65B6  │  [u] Example Key <example@key>
|      └─(2021-05-14)                                    │   │  └─[13] selfsig (2021-05-16)
[--e-] rsa3072/E56CAC142AE5A979BEECB00FB4F68595CAD4E7E5  │   │     └─[h] test@notation=xyz
       └─(2021-05-14)                                    |   └─[u] Other User ID <example@key>
                                                                   ├─[13] selfsig (2021-05-16)
                                                                   └─[10] 84C39331F6F85326 Other Signer Key <example@signer> (2021-05-16)

Detail level can be set using --detail-level argument or detail_level entry in the configuration file.

Key Information

An example table entry for the detail level full (which includes subkeys) is explained via reference numbers below.

[sc--]  rsa3072¹/B14085A20355B74DE0CE0FA1E19F76D037BD65B6²
|³       └─(2021-05-14)
         └─(2021-05-14) -> (2021-05-16) [exp]

0: Key flags. Determines what the key can do.

  • s: sign
  • c: certify
  • e: encrypt
  • a: authenticate

1: Algorithm of the key.

2: Fingerprint of the key.

3: Indicates that the next key is a subkey.

4: Time information of the key:

  • creation time (Y-m-d)
  • expiration time (Y-m-d)

5: Is the key one of the following?

  • [exp]: expired
  • [rev]: revoked
  • [d]: disabled
  • [i]: invalid
  • [q]: qualified

6: Star symbol (*) is shown after key flags if the key is selected as the default signing key.

User Information

An example table entry for the detail level full (which includes other user IDs, signatures and notations) is explained via reference numbers below.

[u] Test Key <test@test>¹²  └─[13]³ selfsig (2021-05-16)
 │             └─[h] test@notation=xyz
 └─[u] Test Key2 <test2@test2>¹
        ├─[13]³ selfsig (2021-05-16)
        └─[10]³ 84C39331F6F85326 Test Key 2 <test2@example.com> (2021-05-16) [!x]

0: Validity of the user.

  • [q]: undefined
  • [n]: never
  • [m]: marginal
  • [f]: full
  • [u]: ultimate
  • [?]: unknown

1: User ID. (name + email)

2: Indicates the next user ID.

3: Certification level of the signature.

  • [10]: no indication
  • [11]: personal belief but no verification
  • [12]: casual verification
  • [13]: extensive verification

4: Indicates that this is a self signature, whereby the users' own private key was used to sign their public key.

5: Key and user ID of the signer. (key + name + email)

6: Time information of the signature.

  • creation time (Y-m-d)
  • expiration time (Y-m-d)

7: Is the signature one of the following?

  • [exp]: expired
  • [rev]: revoked
  • [i]: invalid
  • [!x]: non-exportable

8: Notation data.

9: Flags associated with the notation data.

  • [h]: the notation data is in human readable form
  • [!]: the notation data is critical


Press ? while running the terminal interface to see information about key bindings and GnuPG configuration.

User Interface


Use arrow or hjkl keys to scroll and navigate through lists/menus/tabs. Additionally, you can use Ctrl-Up/Down combinations or PageUp/PageDown keys to scroll to the top/bottom.

If rows are not fitting on the terminal interface, use Alt + arrow/hjkl keys to individually scroll them.

Options Menu

Most of the actions can be performed using the options menu. Simply press Enter and select what you want to do.

Copy / Paste

There's a copy mode for making it easier to copy particular values to the clipboard. To use this mode, press c followed by one of the key bindings:

  • x: Copy the exported key
  • i: Copy the key id
  • f: Copy the key fingerprint
  • u: Copy the user id
  • 1,2: Copy the content of the row

Then the value will be copied to the clipboard and the application mode will be reverted to normal.

Press ESC or n to cancel and switch to normal mode during this operation.

Instead of copying values with copy mode, you can use the visual mode which disables the mouse capture. It means that you can select/highlight the text on the interface and copy as you do normally.

visual mode can be used for other purposes such as scrolling via mouse.

Selection Mode

In the selection mode, key bindings that are responsible for showing the options menu (e.g. enter) are used for exiting the user interface and printing out the selection to the standard output. This is useful when you want to use gpg-tui in conjunction with shell commands/other tools.

For switching to the selection mode, use the --select argument as follows:

gpg-tui --select <option>

<option> might be one of the following:

  • key_id: Key ID
  • key_fpr: Key fingerprint
  • user_id: User ID
  • row<n>: Contents of the nth row

For example, you can use the following shell function to encrypt a file for the selected recipient (key ID):

function encrypt() { gpg -e -r $(gpg-tui --select key_id) "$@"; }

Detailed View

Press Tab to toggle the detail level for the selected entry in the list. Number keys (e.g. 1, 2, 3) can be also used to set a specific level.

Press t to toggle the detail level for all entries in the list.

There are couple a of different modes for the size of the tables which changes the details that each entry shows. You can use the m key for switching to different modes.

Press / to search for a value from the currently shown table.

File explorer

Some of the key management operations such as importing keys optionally use a file explorer utility. As default, gpg-tui uses xplr if the xplr binary is installed on the system. To change which utility is going to be used, --file-explorer argument can be used or it can be specified in the configuration file.

gpg-tui --file-explorer "fzf --color dark"

Running commands

Every operation on the terminal interface is handled implicitly by the application-specific commands. So it's possible to do certain things by switching to command mode with pressing : and running commands. (similar to Vim)

For example,

  • :list pub -> list public keys
  • :set armor true -> enable armored output

A full list of commands can be found here.

Also you can switch between command mode and search by pressing Tab.

Key Management


Available keys in the keyring are listed on a table as default. They can be scrolled or the listing type (public/secret keys) can be changed by changing the tab via arrow keys.

See the approach section for more information about the meaning of the table rows.


Press x to export the selected key to a file. The default output directory is $GNUPGHOME/out and can be changed by either using --homedir or --outdir argument.

Additionally, you can enable/disable armored output by pressing a.

Also, you can export the secret subkeys by using the options menu:


Press s to sign the selected key with the default secret key. This key can be specified with --default-key argument or using the options menu.

This feature uses gpg fallback and runs gpg --sign-key command.


Press e to edit the selected key.

This feature uses gpg fallback and runs gpg --edit-key command. It presents a menu that provides a list of options to change the key details. See the edit-key documentation for more information.


Import operation uses a file explorer for selecting the key(s) to import. Press i to launch the file explorer (defaults to xplr), and select the key file(s) to import:

If a file explorer is not specified or installed, import operation is done by using the :import command. So press i to switch to command mode (which will automatically add the import command) and then give it your file(s) to import.

You can also import keys from clipboard using :import-clipboard command or the options menu.

Similar to import, receive operation is also done by using a command which is :receive. So press f (for fetching keys from a keyserver) and give it your key ID(s).

This feature uses gpg fallback and runs gpg --receive-keys command.


Press u (for uploading to the keyserver) followed by y (for confirmation) to send the selected key to the default keyserver.


Press g to generate a new key pair.

This feature uses gpg fallback and runs gpg --full-generate-key command. It presents dialogs for all of the generation options.


Press Backspace followed by y (for confirmation) to delete the selected key from the keyring.


Press Ctrl-y for refreshing the keyring.

This feature uses gpg fallback and runs gpg --refresh-keys command.


You can customize the look of gpg-tui to get rid of its boring and minimalistic vibe. (!)


To enable colors, you can specify a style with --style argument or press Ctrl-S while running for toggling the style. Currently, only one style is supported which is colored.

gpg-tui --style colored

If the default accent color of the interface causes problems with your theme or if you just want to change it to something more vivid, you can use --color argument to specify another color in HEX format.

gpg-tui --style colored --color 507030

Splash screen

There is a splash screen that shows the project's logo for a couple of seconds if --splash flag is present. It's purely cosmetical.

gpg-tui --splash

To enable colors for the splash screen, use the colored style.

gpg-tui --splash --style colored



gpg-tui is tested on Linux systems during the development phase. It should be tested on other platforms such as Microsoft Windows and macOS and found issues should be reported for future compatibility with these platforms.


Packaging status

gpg-tui should be more and easily accessible for other platforms/distributions. Thus, it should be packaged for package managers such as Homebrew and APT. If you're a packager and want to contribute, feel free to submit an issue or start a discussion!

Command-Line Fallback

Some of the features of gpg-tui require the execution of the CLI program gpg in order to operate. This is due to the fact that designing a TUI for the menus that gpg already provides is redundant and time-consuming. Also, in case these menus will change in the future, it is better to rely on the gpg rather than implementing these options using GPGME. On the other hand, gpg has some commands that GPGME doesn't directly provide. (e.g --refresh-keys) So it is more convenient to utilize gpg for these cases.

The plan for the future of gpg-tui is utilizing gpg when it is necessary, depending on whether if it is more convenient for the user.

Key Management Only

gpg-tui only aims to do key management for now, although it can do much more utilizing GPGME and/or gpg. It's due to the design choice and also for setting the boundaries of the project.


About the project

In the media


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    • Follow @orhun
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The MIT License

Copyright © 2021-2023, Orhun Parmaksız


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