EncryptPad is an application for viewing and editing symmetrically encrypted text. Using a simple and convenient graphical and command line interface, EncryptPad provides a tool for encrypting and decrypting binary files on disk while offering effective measures for protecting information, and it uses the most widely chosen quality file format OpenPGP RFC 4880. Unlike other OpenPGP software which main purpose is asymmetric encryption, the primary focus of EncryptPad is symmetric encryption.

Table of Contents


  • Symmetric encryption
  • Passphrase protection
  • Key file protection
  • Combination of passphrase and key file
  • Random key file generator
  • Key repository in a hidden directory in the user’s home folder
  • Path to a key file can be stored in an encrypted file. If enabled, you do not need to specify the key file every time you open files.
  • Encryption of binary files (images, videos, archives etc.)
  • FakeVim mode to edit files with a Vim-like user interface
  • Read only mode to prevent accidental file modification
  • UTF8 text encoding
  • Windows/Unix configurable line endings
  • Customisable passphrase generator helps create strong random passphrases.
  • File format compatible with OpenPGP
  • Iterated and salted S2K
  • Passphrases are not kept in the memory for reuse, only S2K results (more …)
  • Cipher algorithms: TripleDES, CAST5, AES, AES192, AES256, Camellia128, Camellia192, Camellia256, Twofish
  • Hash algorithms: SHA-1, SHA-256, SHA-384, SHA-512, SHA-224
  • Integrity protection: SHA-1
  • Compression: ZLIB, ZIP, Bzip2
  • ASCII armor
  • Large multi-gigabyte files are supported

Supported platforms

  • Windows

  • Linux

  • Mac OS

Why use EncryptPad?

  • Multi-platform codebase: it has been compiled on three popular operating systems and can be adapted to more.

  • Portable: simply copy the executable to a memory stick or a network drive and use on all your computers.

  • Simple to use: EncryptPad is a text editor and an encryption tool for binary files but it saves encrypted, compressed and integrity protected files.

  • Open source with concise codebase: you can read the code or ask somebody you trust to read it for you to ensure that there are no back doors and your information is safe.

  • OpenPGP file format: you can encrypt a file with another tool (gpg for example) implementing the format and open it with EncryptPad and vice versa.

  • Double protection: randomly generated key files in addition to passphrases.

When do I need EncryptPad?

  • You have a file containing sensitive information such as account names, passphrases or IDs. It is stored on an unprotected media or you can’t control who accesses the file, whether it is located on a computer at work, a laptop while on the move, a memory stick or a cloud drive.

  • You need to send an encrypted file to somebody with whom you prearranged a shared secret (a passphrase or a key file). In this case, you need to exchange the secret personally (not via an accessible Internet protocol) for the protected file to be decrypted by the recipient.

  • You store or receive a file and need to ensure that it has not been tampered with or corrupted during transmission. EncryptPad uses SHA-1 hashing algorithm to verify the data’s integrity.

  • You need protection against a brute force attack in case your storage gets in somebody’s hands. EncryptPad allows to generate a key and store it separately from encrypted information. The unwanted person would need two secrets to open an encrypted file: the passphrase and the key. Consider this example: you store your encrypted file on a memory stick, and protect it with a passphrase. In addition to that, you protect the file with a file key and store the key on computers where you open the file. If the memory stick is lost, the passphrase is not enough to decrypt your information. The key file is also needed and it is not on the memory stick.

When can I not use EncryptPad?

  • You need to send a file to somebody with whom you have not prearranged a shared secret (a passphrase or a key file). In this case, you need asymmetric encryption with public and private keys. Fortunately, there are many convenient tools suitable for the task.

  • You are on public transport or a common area where somebody can see your screen.

  • EncryptPad is not effective on a computer infected with spyware or a virus. Do not use it on a public, shared or compromised computer if you do not trust its safety.

  • IMPORTANT: Before using EncryptPad ensure that it is legal in your country to use encryption ciphers that EncryptPad provides. You may find useful information at cryptolaw.org.

  • IMPORTANT: If you forgot your passphrase or lost a key file, there is nothing that can be done to open your encrypted information. There are no backdoors in the formats that EncryptPad supports. EncryptPad developers take no responsibility for corrupted or invalid files in accordance with the license.

File types

The format is determined by an extension of a file. Main extensions of encrypted files are GPG and EPD.


This file type conforms to OpenPGP format and it is compatible with other OpenPGP tools. Use it if you need to open a file where EncryptPad is not available. The format does not support double protection (key file + passphrase). So you need to choose between key file or passphrase and cannot use both. In addition, it cannot store file key path in the encrypted file. It means that every time you open a file encrypted with a key file, the application will ask you which key file to use.


EncryptPad specific format. Other OpenPGP software will not be able to open it unless the file was only protected with a passphrase. If passphrase only protection was used, the file is effectively a GPG file (see GPG section above). However, when a key file protection is involved, it is a GPG file in a WAD container. See the following chapter for details.

Feature support

Type Feature Supported Key file path* OpenPGP compatible File format
GPG Passphrase yes n/a yes OpenPGP file
GPG Key file yes no yes OpenPGP file
GPG Key file and passphrase no n/a n/a n/a
EPD Passphrase yes n/a yes OpenPGP file
EPD Key file yes yes no Nested: WAD/OpenPGP
EPD Key file and passphrase yes yes no Nested: OpenPGP/WAD/OpenPGP

* Key file location is persisted in the header of an encrypted file so the user does not need to specify it when decrypting.

What is an EncryptPad key file?

In symmetric encryption the same sequence is used to encrypt and decrypt data. The user or another application usually provides this sequence in the form of an entered passphrase or a file. In addition to entered passphrases, EncryptPad generates files with random sequences called “key files”.

When the user creates a key file, EncryptPad generates a random sequence of bytes, asks the user for a passphrase, encrypts the generated sequence and saves it to a file.

The format of the file is OpenPGP. Other OpenPGP implementations can also create and open EncryptPad key files as below shell commands demonstrate.

When EncryptPad generates a new key file, it is roughly equivalent to the following gpg2 command.

pwmake 1024 | gpg2 -c --armor --cipher-algo AES256 > ~/.encryptpad/foo.key

pwmake generates a random sequence, which gpg2 in-turn encrypts. It will ask for the passphrase to encrypt the sequence.

When you use this key to encrypt test3.txt, the equivalent gpg command is below:

gpg2 --decrypt ~/.encryptpad/foo.key \
| gpg2 --passphrase-fd 0 --batch -c --cipher-algo AES256 \
-o /tmp/test3.txt.gpg /tmp/test3.txt

The first gpg2 process decrypts foo.key and directs it to descriptor 0 of the second process through a pipe. gpg2 reads the sequence from the descriptor with --passphrase-fd 0.

When EncryptPad opens the encrypted file protected with foo.key, the equivalent gpg commands are:

gpg2 --decrypt ~/.encryptpad/foo.key \
| gpg2 --passphrase-fd 0 --batch --decrypt \
-o /tmp/test4.txt /tmp/test3.txt.gpg

As you see, other OpenPGP implementations can also use EncryptPad keys.

EPD file format when encrypting with a key

There are three different structures a saved file can have depending on protection mode:

  1. Passphrase only (passphrase is used to protect a file but no keys are specified). The file is an ordinary OpenPGP file.

  2. Key only (passphrase is not set but a key file is used for protection). The file is a WAD file. WAD is a simple format for combining multiple binary files in one. You can open a WAD file in Slade. It contains two files internally:

    • OpenPGP file encrypted with the key
    • __X2_KEY is a plain text file containing the path to the key if “Persistent key location in the encrypted file” is enabled. Otherwise, it has zero length.
  3. Protected with passphrase and key. The resulting file is an OpenPGP file containing a WAD file as explained in 2.

Use CURL to automatically download keys from a remote storage

If CURL URL is specified in Key File Path field in the Set Encryption Key dialogue, EncryptPad will attempt to start a curl process to download the key from a remote host. If you want to use this feature, you need to set the path to the CURL executable in the EncryptPad settings.

Consider this use case scenario: you travel with your laptop and open an encrypted file on the laptop. If you protect the file with a passphrase and a key and your laptop is lost or stolen, the perpetrator will be able to make a brute force attack on your file because the key is also stored on the laptop. To avoid this, EncryptPad takes the following steps:

  1. Encrypts the plain text file with the key
  2. Copies the encrypted file into a WAD file together with the unencrypted HTTPS or SFTP URL to the key file containing authentication parameters.
  3. Encrypts the WAD file from point 2 with the passphrase.

If this file gets into the hands of a wrongdoer, he or she will need to brute force the passphrase first to be able to obtain the key URL and the authentication parameters. Since a brute force attack takes a lot of time, the user will be able to remove the key or change the authentication so the previous parameters become obsolete.

Known weaknesses

  • EncryptPad stores unencrypted text in memory. If a memory dump is automatically taken after a system or application crash or some of the memory is saved to a swap file, the sensitive information will be present on the disk. Sometimes it is possible to configure an operating system not to use a dump and swap files. It is a good practice to close EncryptPad when not in use.

Command line interface


encryptcli is the executable to encrypt / decrypt files in command line. Run it without arguments to see available parameters. Below is an example of encrypting a file with a key:

# generate a new key and protect it with the passphrase "key".
# --key-pwd-fd 0 for reading the key passphrase from descriptor 0
echo -n "key" | encryptcli --generate-key --key-pwd-fd 0 my_key.key

# encrypt plain_text.txt with my_key.key created above.
# The key passphrase is sent through file descriptor 3
cat plain_text.txt | encryptcli -e --key-file my_key.key \
--key-only --key-pwd-fd 3 -o plain_text.txt.gpg 3< <(echo -n "key")


encryptpad is the GUI executable. It has the command line parameters below:

`--lang` - to enforce the language for the GUI

`--log-file` - specify the log file for diagnostics

`--log-severity` - log severity can be one of the following list: `none`, `fatal`, `error`, `warning`, `info`, `debug`, `verbose`

Installing EncryptPad

Portable executable

Portable binaries are available for Windows and macOS. They can be copied on a memory stick or placed on a network share.

Arch Linux

Use fingerprints to receive gpg keys for EncryptPad and Botan.

gpg --recv-key 621DAF6411E1851C4CF9A2E16211EBF1EFBADFBC
gpg --recv-key 634BFC0CCC426C74389D89310F1CFF71A2813E85

Install the AUR packages below:

pacaur installs botan-stable automatically as encryptpad dependency.

Ubuntu or Linux Mint via PPA

There are several PPAs on Launchpad built on Canonical servers from EncryptPad source files. Use the commands below to install the packages:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:evpo/main
sudo apt update
sudo apt install encryptpad encryptcli

For Ubuntu versions before Impish use Alin Andrei’s PPA below:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install encryptpad encryptcli

Compile EncryptPad on Windows


  1. Qt framework based on MingW 32 bit (the latest build has been tested with Qt 5.10.1).
  2. MSYS: you can use one bundled with Git For Windows. You probably use Git anyway.
  3. Python: any recent version will work.


  1. Modify the session PATH environment variable to include the Qt build toolset and Python. mingw32-make, g++, qmake, python.exe should be in the global search path in your Git Bash session. I personally modify bash.bashrc and add a line like PATH=/c/Python35-32:/c/Qt/5.10.1/mingw53_32/bin:/c/Qt/Tools/mingw530_32/bin:/c/MinGW/msys/1.0/bin:/bin not to pollute the system wide PATH variable.

  2. Extract the EncryptPad source files to a directory.

  3. Run configure.py –help script to see available options. To build everything:

    ./configure.py –cpu x86 –os mingw –static make

The configure.py command will always work if your console is running with administrative privileges. If you don’t want to run as administrator, add --link-method hardlink to the options. If the build is successful, you should see the executable ./bin/release/encryptpad.exe

Note that if you want EncryptPad to work as a single executable without dlls, you need to build Qt framework yourself statically. It takes a few hours. There are plenty of instructions on how to do this in the Internet. The most popular article recommends using a PowerShell script. While it is convenient and I did it once, sometimes you don’t want to upgrade your PowerShell and install heavy dependencies coming with it. So the next time I had to do that, I read the script and did everything manually. Luckily there are not too many steps in it.

Compile EncryptPad on macOS

You need to install Qt 5, Python and run:

export PATH=$HOME/Qt/5.12.11/clang_64/bin/:$PATH
./configure.py --ldflags "-mmacosx-version-min=11.0" --cxxflags "-mmacosx-version-min=11.0"

Change the Qt path and replace the minimal macOS versions as needed. The command will work without them, but the result will be limited to the current version.

Compile EncryptPad on Linux


Install dependencies and tools:

dnf install gcc make qt5-qtbase-devel qt5-qtsvg gcc-c++ python libstdc++-static glibc-static botan2-devel bzip2-devel zlib-devel

Open the EncryptPad directory:

sudo make install


Install dependencies and tools:

apt-get install qt5-default qtbase5-dev libqt5svg5-dev gcc g++ make python3 pkg-config zlib1g-dev libbotan-2-dev libbz2-dev

Open the EncryptPad source directory:

sudo make install


Install dependencies and tools:

apt-get install qtbase5-dev libqt5svg5-dev gcc g++ make python3 zlib1g-dev pkg-config libbotan-2-dev libbz2-dev

Open the EncryptPad source directory:

python3 ./configure.py
sudo make install


Install dependencies and tools:

zypper install gcc gcc-c++ make python3 pkg-config zlib-devel libqt5-qtbase-devel libqt5-qtsvg-devel libbotan-devel libbz2-devel

Open the EncryptPad source directory:

sudo make install


Install dependencies and tools:

pacman -S --needed base-devel
pacman -S qt5-base qt5-svg python3 botan zlib bzip2

Open the EncryptPad source directory:

sudo make install


Install dependencies and tools:

pkg install python3 pkgconf botan2 qt5 qt5-svg

Open the EncryptPad source directory:


Void Linux

Install dependencies and tools:

sudo xbps-install base-devel qt5-devel qt5-svg-devel python3 botan-devel bzip2-devel libzip-devel

Open the EncryptPad source directory:

sudo make install

Portable mode

EncryptPad checks the executable directory for a sub-directory called encryptpad_repository. If exists, it is used for key files and settings. The directory .encryptpad in the user’s profile is then ignored. The EncryptPad executable and encryptpad_repository can both be copied to a removable media and used on multiple computers. It should be noted that keeping encrypted material with the key files on the same removable media is less secure. Separate them if possible.

FakeVim mode

FakeVim mode lets edit files with Vim-like interface.

To enable the mode:

  1. open Settings… / Preferences …
  2. Set “Enable FakeVim”
  3. Restart EncryptPad

To configure FakeVim, create and edit the file at the location below:

Linux and macOS:


On Windows in the user profile directory:


You can find more information about the FakeVim interface on the FakeVim library web page

FakeVim: input and output commands

The ex mode supports commands to read and write files. The input and output commands are integrated with the following EncryptPad operations:

:r <file> - File > Open…

:w - File > Save

:w <file> - File > Save As…

:q - File > Exit

The combinations of the above commands are also supported:

:wq <file>

Vim’s + register integrates with the system clipboard. You can also add the below line to the vimrc file to integrate the unnamed register with the system clipboard:

set clipboard=unnamedplus

Does EncryptPad store passphrases in the memory to reopen files?

No, it does not. After being entered, a passphrase and random salt are hashed with an S2K algorithm. The result is used as the encryption key to encrypt or decrypt the file. A pool of these S2K results is generated every time the user enters a new passphrase. It allows to save and load files protected with this passphrase multiple times without having the passphrase. The size of the pool can be changed in the Preferences dialogue. The latest version at the moment of writing has this number set to 8 by default. It means that you can save a file 8 times before EncryptPad will ask you to enter the passphrase again. You can increase this number but it will have an impact on the performance because S2K algorithms with many iterations are slow by design.


EncryptPad uses the following frameworks and libraries:

  1. Qt Framework
  2. Botan
  3. STLplus
  4. Makefiles
  5. zlib
  6. gtest
  7. famfamfam Silk iconset 1.3
  8. plog
  9. FakeVim
  10. Breeze Icons
  11. tinyexpr

EncryptPad integrity verification

OpenPGP signing and certification authority

All EncryptPad related downloads are signed with the following OpenPGP key.

EncryptPad (Releases) 2048R/A2813E85


Key fingerprint = 634B FC0C CC42 6C74 389D 8931 0F1C FF71 A281 3E85

I also have a code signing certificate issued by a certification authority (CA). To establish a connection between my CA certificate and the above OpenPGP key, I created an executable signed with the CA certificate containing fingerprints and the OpenPGP key. You can find ca_signed_pgp_signing_instructions in downloads. Effectively I created a bridge of trust between my CA certificate and the OpenPGP key.

There is a few reasons why I did not simply use the CA certificate:

  1. EncryptPad is based on the OpenPGP standard and promotes it.
  2. OpenPGP signing is more flexible.
  3. There is no yearly CA certification running cost.

Step by step verification process

  1. Download packages and their detached OpenPGP signatures.
  2. Import the EncryptPad (Releases) key to your GPG keyring.
  3. Ensure that it is the valid EncryptPad (Releases) key by checking its fingerprint with ca_signed_pgp_signing_instructions.
  4. Verify signatures on the downloaded files with GPG.


EncryptPad is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

EncryptPad is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

Contact and feedback

If your question is related to EncryptPad, send it to the mailing list: encryptpad@googlegroups.com linked to the public discussion group.

Bug tracker and contributions: github.com/evpo/EncryptPad/issues

For other matters, please contact Evgeny Pokhilko software@evpo.net