Getting information from an armored gpg public key file


When given a file with an armored public GnuPG key, i.e. a file (pubkey.gpg) that was created with:

gpg -r 0xDEADBEEF --export --armored > pubkey.gpg

What is the best way to get information such as the finger print in that file, without importing it into my keyring?

The best way I found so far (and I am not happy with) is:

gpg --dry-run --import pubkey.gpg

Naturally, I grepped the gpg man page, but didn't find an obvious solution.

asked on Super User Aug 8, 2010 by Chen Levy • edited Mar 3, 2014 by Chen Levy

3 Answers


To print the fingerprint of an on-disk armored key without importing it, just use --with-fingerprint:

> gpg --with-fingerprint jm3.asc

pub  1024R/9112BC51 1996-02-05 john manoogian <jm3@*>
Key fingerprint = C9 DC 27 29 0E 1A DB 50  21 C8 64 08 15 29 41 86

uid                            john manoogian <jm3@foo...
uid                            john manoogian <jm3@bar...
uid                            john manoogian <jm3@baz...
uid                            john manoogian <jm3@qux...

VoilĂ !

answered on Super User Nov 17, 2013 by jm3

I don't know that gpg has an option for this, but here's a more flexible workaround for extracting information from the key file:

mkdir temp-gnupg-dir
export GNUPGHOME=temp-gnupg-dir
gpg --import pubkey.gpg
gpg --list-keys
rm -r temp-gnupg-dir

Instead of the GNUPGHOME environment variable, you can pass --homedir=temp-gnupg-dir to every gpg invocation.


You can checkout Kazu Yamamoto's PGP packet visualizer which displays the packet format of OpenPGP (RFC 4880) and PGP version 2 (RFC 1991).

To fetch and compile:

git clone
cd pgpdump
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/ && make && sudo make install

Using it is even simpler:

pgpdump pubkey.gpg

There is also a cgi-bin interface available on this site:

answered on Super User Feb 15, 2012 by Claudio Floreani

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