add_key - Linux


add_key is a command that adds or modifies SSH, PGP, or X.509 certificates to an existing keyring. It allows users to manage cryptographic keys and trust relationships for secure communication and authentication.


add_key [options/flags] <key-id> <key-data>


  • -k, –keyring: Specify the keyring to which the key should be added.
  • -t, –type: Specify the type of key to add (ssh, pgp, or x509). Defaults to "ssh".
  • -v, –verbose: Enable verbose output for additional information and progress messages.
  • -h, –help: Display usage instructions.


Adding an SSH key to the default keyring

add_key my_ssh_key ~/.ssh/

Adding a PGP key to a custom keyring

add_key --keyring my_pgp_keys --type pgp my_pgp_key my.key

Modifying an existing X.509 certificate

add_key --type x509 --keyring my_x509_certs my_certificate my.crt

Common Issues

  • Key already exists: If the specified key-id already exists in the keyring, an error will occur. Use a different key-id or re-add the key with the --replace option.
  • Incorrect key type: The key-id must match the specified key type. If the key is of a different type, an error will occur.
  • Key format not recognized: The key-data must be in a valid format for the specified key type. Check the key file or data for errors.


add_key can be integrated with other commands to manage and manipulate cryptographic keys:

  • ssh-add: Add keys to the SSH agent for use with SSH connections.
  • gpg: Manage and sign PGP keys.
  • ssh-keygen: Generate new SSH key pairs.

Related Commands

  • ssh-keygen
  • ssh-add
  • gpg