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Creating an ASCII armored file using Encryption Desktop


Article ID: 180245


Updated On:


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By default, when you encrypt or sign a file using Encryption Desktop, a binary *.pgp file is created.

An ASCII armored file is simply a Base64 encoded binary file.

Encryption Desktop can create both types of file. Note that an ASCII armored file is about 30% larger than a binary file.


Symantec Encryption Desktop 10.5 and above.


To create a signed, encrypted or encrypted and signed ASCII armored file from the original file test.docx:

  1. Open Windows File Explorer and right click on the test.docx file.
  2. Choose Symantec Encryption Desktop / Add "test.docx" to new PGP Zip.
  3. The PGP Zip Assistant starts.
  4. Click on the PGP Zip advanced options button:
  5. Click on the Output Text option and, optionally, the Remember these settings next time option, then click the Next button:
  6. To only sign the file, choose the Sign Only option. To encrypt and optionally sign, choose the Recipient Keys option and click the Next button.
  7. If you are encrypting, on the Add User Keys page, select the key(s) with which to encrypt and click the Next button.
  8. On the Sign and Save page, select a key with which to sign the file. If you are only signing then you must select a key. If you are encrypting, then signing is optional.
  9. Also on the Sign and Save page is an option Save Detached Signature(s). If you are encrypting, this option cannot be enabled. If you are only signing and you enable this option, the signature file will be generated as test.docx.sig and it will just contain the signature. The recipient of the file will also need the original file to be sent to them. However, note that the *.sig file will be in binary format, not ASCII. If this option is disabled, a file called test.docx.pgp will be created which contains the original file with the signature appended to it in ASCII armored format. Therefore the recipient will only need to be sent the *.pgp file.
  10. Click Next and Finish.

If the recipient requires a detached ASCII armored signature file, the only way of creating this currently is as follows:

  1. Enable the Output Text option.
  2. Disable the Save Detached Signature(s) option.
  3. Enable the Sign Only option.
  4. Open the generated *.pgp file with a text editor and copy and paste the ASCII armored format signature text at the end of the file into a separate *.asc file.
  5. Provide the recipient with the original file and the *.asc file.

Additional Information