gpg-connect-agent Man page



gpg-connect-agent – Communicate with a running agent


gpg-connect-agent [options][commands]


The gpg-connect-agent is a utility to communicate with a running gpg-
agent. It is useful to check out the commands gpg-agent provides using
the Assuan interface. It might also be useful for scripting simple
applications. Input is expected at stdin and out put gets printed to

It is very similar to running gpg-agent in server mode; but here we
connect to a running instance.

The following options may be used:


Output additional information while running.


Try to be as quiet as possible.

–homedir dir
Set the name of the home directory to dir. If this option is not
used, the home directory defaults to ‘~/.gnupg’. It is only
recognized when given on the command line. It also overrides
any home directory stated through the environment variable
‘GNUPGHOME’ or (on Windows systems) by means of the Registry
entry HKCU\Software\GNU\GnuPG:HomeDir.

On Windows systems it is possible to install GnuPG as a portable
application. In this case only this command line option is con‐
sidered, all other ways to set a home directory are ignored.

To install GnuPG as a portable application under Windows, create
an empty file name ‘gpgconf.ctl’ in the same directory as the
tool ‘gpgconf.exe’. The root of the installation is than that
directory; or, if ‘gpgconf.exe’ has been installed directly
below a directory named ‘bin’, its parent directory. You also
need to make sure that the following directories exist and are
writable: ‘ROOT/home’ for the GnuPG home and
‘ROOT/var/cache/gnupg2’ for internal cache files.

–agent-program file
Specify the agent program to be started if none is running. The
default value is determined by running gpgconf with the option
–list-dirs. Note that the pipe symbol (|) is used for a
regression test suite hack and may thus not be used in the file

–dirmngr-program file
Specify the directory manager (keyserver client) program to be
started if none is running. This has only an effect if used
together with the option –dirmngr.

Connect to a running directory manager (keyserver client)
instead of to the gpg-agent. If a dirmngr is not running, start


–raw-socket name
Connect to socket name assuming this is an Assuan style server.
Do not run any special initializations or environment checks.
This may be used to directly connect to any Assuan style socket


–exec Take the rest of the command line as a program and it’s argu‐
ments and execute it as an assuan server. Here is how you would
run gpgsm:
gpg-connect-agent –exec gpgsm –server
Note that you may not use options on the command line in this case.

When using -S or –exec, gpg-connect-agent connects to the
assuan server in extended mode to allow descriptor passing.
This option makes it use the old mode.

Do not start the gpg-agent or the dirmngr if it has not yet been

-r file

–run file
Run the commands from file at startup and then continue with the
regular input method. Note, that commands given on the command
line are executed after this file.


Run the command /subst at startup.

–hex Print data lines in a hex format and the ASCII representation of
non-control characters.

Decode data lines. That is to remove percent escapes but make
sure that a new line always starts with a D and a space.

While reading Assuan commands, gpg-agent also allows a few special com‐
mands to control its operation. These control commands all start with
a slash (/).

/echo args
Just print args.

/let name value
Set the variable name to value. Variables are only substituted
on the input if the /subst has been used. Variables are refer‐
enced by prefixing the name with a dollar sign and optionally
include the name in curly braces. The rules for a valid name
are identically to those of the standard bourne shell. This is
not yet enforced but may be in the future. When used with curly
braces no leading or trailing white space is allowed.

If a variable is not found, it is searched in the environment
and if found copied to the table of variables.

Variable functions are available: The name of the function must
be followed by at least one space and the at least one argument.
The following functions are available:

get Return a value described by the argument. Available
arguments are:

cwd The current working directory.

The gnupg homedir.

GnuPG’s system configuration directory.

bindir GnuPG’s binary directory.

libdir GnuPG’s library directory.

GnuPG’s library directory for executable files.

GnuPG’s data directory.

The PID of the current server. Command /serverpid
must have been given to return a useful value.

unescape args
Remove C-style escapes from args. Note that \0 and \x00
terminate the returned string implicitly. The string to
be converted are the entire arguments right behind the
delimiting space of the function name.

unpercent args

unpercent+ args
Remove percent style escaping from args. Note that %00
terminates the string implicitly. The string to be con‐
verted are the entire arguments right behind the delimit‐
ing space of the function name. unpercent+ also maps plus
signs to a spaces.

percent args

percent+ args
Escape the args using percent style escaping. Tabs,
formfeeds, linefeeds, carriage returns and colons are
escaped. percent+ also maps spaces to plus signs.

errcode arg

errsource arg

errstring arg
Assume arg is an integer and evaluate it using strtol.
Return the gpg-error error code, error source or a for‐
matted string with the error code and error source.




% Evaluate all arguments as long integers using strtol and
apply this operator. A division by zero yields an empty



& Evaluate all arguments as long integers using strtol and
apply the logical operators NOT, OR or AND. The NOT
operator works on the last argument only.

/definq name var
Use content of the variable var for inquiries with name. name
may be an asterisk (*) to match any inquiry.

/definqfile name file
Use content of file for inquiries with name. name may be an
asterisk (*) to match any inquiry.

/definqprog name prog
Run prog for inquiries matching name and pass the entire line to
it as command line arguments.

/datafile name
Write all data lines from the server to the file name. The file
is opened for writing and created if it does not exists. An
existing file is first truncated to 0. The data written to the
file fully decoded. Using a single dash for name writes to std‐
out. The file is kept open until a new file is set using this
command or this command is used without an argument.

Print all definitions

Delete all definitions

/sendfd file mode
Open file in mode (which needs to be a valid fopen mode string)
and send the file descriptor to the server. This is usually
followed by a command like INPUT FD to set the input source for
other commands.

Not yet implemented.

/open var file [mode] Open file and assign the file descriptor to var. Warning: This
command is experimental and might change in future versions.

/close fd
Close the file descriptor fd. Warning: This command is experi‐
mental and might change in future versions.

Show a list of open files.

Send the Assuan command GETINFO pid to the server and store the
returned PID for internal purposes.

/sleep Sleep for a second.


/nohex Same as the command line option –hex.


Same as the command line option –decode.


Enable and disable variable substitution. It defaults to dis‐
abled unless the command line option –subst has been used. If
/subst as been enabled once, leading whitespace is removed from
input lines which makes scripts easier to read.

/while condition

/end These commands provide a way for executing loops. All lines
between the while and the corresponding end are executed as long
as the evaluation of condition yields a non-zero value or is the
string true or yes. The evaluation is done by passing condition
to the strtol function. Example:

/let i 3
/while $i
/echo loop couter is $i
/let i ${- $i 1}

/if condition

/end These commands provide a way for conditional execution. All
lines between the if and the corresponding end are executed only
if the evaluation of condition yields a non-zero value or is the
string true or yes. The evaluation is done by passing condition
to the strtol function.

/run file
Run commands from file.

/bye Terminate the connection and the program

/help Print a list of available control commands.


gpg-agent, scdaemon(1)

The full documentation for this tool is maintained as a Texinfo manual.
If GnuPG and the info program are properly installed at your site, the

info gnupg

should give you access to the complete manual including a menu struc‐
ture and an index.

GnuPG 2.1.11 2016-01-21 GPG-CONNECT-AGENT(1)