How to find and share your public key

1. Locating your public key

Open GPG Keychain. Once you have created your key, you are in possession of both, public and secret key. Your key shows as bold sec/pub list-entry, while your friends public keys show as "pub".


Double click your sec/pub entry to open a window with detailed info about your key pair. You will find your Fingerprint and be able to adjust, add or remove an Expiry Date for example.

2. Sharing your public key

2.1 Key server

We recommend using the key servers for distribution of your key, so your friends can easily find it. Once they have downloaded the public key to their keychain, they then can create encrypted content which you'll be able to decrypt. This also allows verification of incoming signed content, for example the signed mails your friends receive from you.

Important note: Keys can not be deleted from the key servers, which is a pain in the ass, but that's how it is currently. They can be revoke but not removed. So keep that in mind when fiddling with key servers.

There is an option to upload your public key in the key creation dialogue for new keys. If you did not use that option and want to upload your public key at a later point in time

  1. open GPG Keychain
  2. select your sec/pub key
  3. in the top menu select Key > Send public key to Keyserver

2.2 Local sharing

2.2.1 Send your public key via Mail

  1. open GPG Keychain
  2. right-click your "sec/pub" key and select "Mail pub key..." will open and create a new mail with your public key as attachment. Subject and Mail are already filled with an explanatory text so the recipient knows what to do with your public key.

2.2.2 Public key in mail signature

In general it is a good idea, to put your key fingerprint into your mail signature. Also if you do not use the key servers to distribute your public key, consider uploading it as .asc file and link to that file in your mail signature. There are many ways to solve this - be creative, or use the key servers :)

To export your public key

  1. open GPG Keychain
  2. select your sec/pub key
  3. drag it on your desktop

This will create an .asc file. To see your public key, right click the exported .asc file and Open with > Text Edit.