Organizing groups of Keys

Ben McGinnes ben at
Wed Nov 24 14:53:32 CET 2010

On 24/11/10 10:35 PM, Aaron Berthold wrote:
> In the last few months, I've become comfortable enough with GnuPG (using
> TB+Enigmail) for personal, small scale use but there are a couple of use
> cases I've yet to find good solutions to. I figured the people here on
> the List would know. ^_^
> The basic issue is organizing the keys in my pubkey list, really. By
> default, all my key are there in one long list. I can search for them
> and I can order them by various criteria, but I wonder if there was a
> way to bunch keys together in groups, so that, for example, the keys of
> all my work buddies is in one group, all students keys in a second and
> so on.
> Is there a way to do this?

Yes, it is possible to specify groups in your gpg.conf file and there
is some documentation in that file:

# Group names may be defined like this:
#   group mynames = paige 0x12345678 joe patti
# Any time "mynames" is a recipient (-r or --recipient), it will be
# expanded to the names "paige", "joe", and "patti", and the key ID
# "0x12345678".  Note there is only one level of expansion - you
# cannot make an group that points to another group.  Note also that
# if there are spaces in the recipient name, this will appear as two
# recipients.  In these cases it is better to use the key ID.

Enigmail provides similar functionality via the Per-Recipient Rules.

> Alternatively, is there a way to work with multiple-but-distinct
> keyrings without manually renaming the files and restarting the software
> when you want to switch? So I could have a keyring for work, one for
> study, etc.

You can specify an additional keyring with the --keyring command, but
I believe that this is just an addition to the default keyring(s) and
not an override.


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