I installed the Enigmail mail encryption plugin for Thunderbird and created a key-pair as the installation wizard instructed me. I can send and encrypt/decrypt mail with this key.

However, when I want to list my keys in the terminal using gpg --list-keys I get no output what so ever. Why?

1 Answer 1


Enigmail's plugin separates itself from the standard gpg keyring.

That's why you don't see any output.

If you for any reason want to have your public (and private) key stored also in the gpg keyring, just do the following, supposing you have your public and possibly even private key stored in one file named MyNewKey.asc:

gpg --import MyNewKey.asc

Example output of adding the private key to the gpg keyring:

gpg: key E46008C3: secret key imported
gpg: key E46008C3: "Vlastimil Burián <[email protected]>" not changed
gpg: key E46008C3: "Vlastimil Burián <[email protected]>" not changed
gpg: Total number processed: 2
gpg:              unchanged: 2
gpg:       secret keys read: 1
gpg:   secret keys imported: 1

If you don't know how to get the keys from inside Enigmail to a file:

Thunderbird menu (F10) -> Enigmail -> Key Management -> select your key -> right click -> Export Keys to File -> Export Secret Keys.

secret key

  • Thanks for writing this informative answer! So where (in folder structure) does Enigmail store it's keys? Jan 22, 2018 at 13:03

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