HOW TO: Encrypt/Decrypt Text Using the Current Window feature with PGP Encryption Desktop for Windows
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HOW TO: Encrypt/Decrypt Text Using the Current Window feature with PGP Encryption Desktop for Windows


Article ID: 180267


Updated On:


Symantec Products


This article will go over the functionality to encrypt/decrypt text using the "Current Window" or "Clipboard" features. 

PGP Encryption Desktop has another feature called "PGP Viewer" that will allow you to decrypt content using an application.   For more information on PGP Viewer, see the following article:

153463 - Using PGP Viewer to decrypt email messages encrypted with PGP content


This article describes how to encrypt or decrypt text with PGP Encryption Desktop for Windows.


PGP Encryption Desktop includes two features that can encrypt text (Current Window and Clipboard) to manually encrypt and decrypt text.  

Manually encrypting or decrypting text can be useful if you are working with a mail client that is web based and may not allow the  PGP Encryption Desktop's Messaging service to plug in. 

Part 1 of 4: Encrypt/Decrypt Text with the "Current Window" Feature


PGP's "Current Window" encryption feature allows you to encrypt/decrypt the text of whatever window is the "current window" on your screen.

This feature is accessible by clicking your PGP Tray icon (gray padlock in system tray on the bottom right-hand corner of the computer screen).


To use the "Current Window" feature to encrypt text, do the following: 

Step 1: Make sure the window--whose body of text you wish to encrypt--is the foremost window on your screen.
For example, if you are using Notepad, you can make sure the cursor is within the notepad so current window will see the focus:

Step 2: Click the PGP Tray icon in your Windows System tray, then click the padlock, and select "Current Window" 


Step 3: When you hover over Current Window, you'll see the following options:

Step 4: If you want to encrypt the text, you will click "Encrypt".  You can also sign if this is needed.

Step 5: You will double-click the key you want to encrypt to.  In this case, the key is "[email protected]":

Step 6: When you click OK, you will see the current window (text) is encrypted.  In this example, the contents of the notepad:

Step 7: If you are going to email the text, you can copy the entire contents of this notepad to your email and click Send, or you can save the notepad, and if your recipient has current window, they can use it to decrypt.

If you need to also send files encrypted, you first encrypt the files and then attach the encrypted contents.




Part 2 of 4: Using the "Current Window" feature to decrypt text



Step 1: Click in the field where the encrypted cipher text is located.  In this case, it's in the notepad:


Step 2: Then click on the Current Window feature again:

This time , you will select "Decrypt and Verify":


Step 3: You will then be prompted to enter your passphrase (password) to decrypt the contents:

Step 4: Once the passphrase has been entered correctly, click OK, and the Current Window will be displayed on the screen with the decrypted contents:

Notice there is a "Copy to Clipboard" option, which you can use to then copy and paste to wherever you need.





Part 3 of 4: Encrypt Text with the "Clipboard" Feature


Another method to encrypt or decrypt text is with PGP's "Clipboard" feature.  When you press "ctrl+c", this copies whatever you have highlighted to the Windows Clipboard.

Whatever you copy, you can then use Clipboard to encrypt.

Step 1: Highlight the text you wish to encrypt.  In this case, it's the text in the notepad:


Step 2: Now copy to clipboard (Ctrl + c).

Step 3: Now click the padlock and select "Clipboard" from the menu. Notice the following options exist.  In this scenario, we want to click on "Encrypt":

Step 4: Select the key you want to encrypt to:


Step 5. Now click "OK".  You'll notice that nothing seemed to happen, but what happened behind the scenes is the PGP Desktop application just encrypted the contents of clipboard.

Step 6. Now if you paste the contents elsewhere, you will see the cipher block.  As an example, we encrypted the text from the Notepad, and we will now paste it into the email:




Part 4 of 4: Decrypt Text with the "Clipboard" Feature


Step 1: To decrypt text, first highlight the text you wish to decrypt, and copy to clipboard (ctrl + c):


Step 2: Now click on the gray padlock, and select Clipboard, and click on "Decrypt & Verify":


Step 3: You will then be prompted to enter the passphrase:


Step 4: Once you enter the passphrase, the clipboard contents will then be decrypted and shown in the "Text Viewer" window:

You can then Copy to Clipboard if needed. 

Additional Information

155681 - How to use Email Encryption with PGP Desktop and Outlook

153463 - Using PGP Viewer to decrypt email messages encrypted with PGP content

191087 - How to configure Symantec Encryption Desktop to automatically encrypt Gmail in Outlook

153934 - Encryption Desktop does not automatically decrypt messages in Outlook