Create PGP Zip Archives (Mac OS X)


Article ID: 181374


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Symantec Products




Use PGP Zip to create, open, and edit encrypted and compressed packages, called PGP Zip archives. This section describes how to use the PGP Zip feature of PGP Desktop.

A PGP Zip Archive package is a single file that is encrypted and compressed for convenient transport or backup. These archive files can hold any combination of files and/or folders, and are especially convenient for secure transport or backup.

For a video on how to install PGP Desktop, see the following article.

Create PGP Zip archives that are:

  • Encrypted to a public key. If you are sending the PGP Zip archive to one or more persons whose public keys you have, you should encrypt the archive to their public keys; thus, only the intended recipients can open the archive. The recipients must have PGP Desktop installed.
  • Encrypted to a passphrase. If you prefer to encrypt to a passphrase or you’re sending the archive to multiple recipients, some of whom you don’t have their public key, you can specify conventional encryption and encrypt the archive using a passphrase. In this case, you will need to communicate the passphrase to the recipients so they can open the archive. The recipients must have PGP Desktop installed.


To create a new PGP Zip archive


  1. Open PGP Desktop and select the PGP Zip item. The PGP Zip screen is displayed.
  2. Click Create new PGP Zip. The Untitled PGP Zip dialog box is displayed.
  3. In the Files tab, specify what files and/or folders you want to be part of the PGP Zip archive you are creating. Do this by:
  • Dragging and dropping the files/folders into the list.
  • Clicking the plus sign icon below the list, then select the files and/or folders you want to be part of the PGP Zip archive in the dialog box displayed. Click Add to add the files to the list.

    If you add a file or folder you later decide you do not want, select the file or folder in the list and click the minus sign icon below the list. The file or folder is removed from the list.
  1. Select Shred original files if you want to securely delete from your system the files/folders you are putting into the PGP Zip archive.
  2. When you have specified the files/folder you want included in the PGP Zip archive, click the Security tab.
  3. If desired, specify a private key from your keyring to provide a Signature for the PGP Zip archive you are creating.

    This specified private key is used to digitally sign the PGP Zip archive being created. The recipient(s) can verify who the archive is from by verifying the digital signature using the corresponding public key.
  • To view the properties of the selected signing key, click the Key icon to the right of the user ID of the key. Close the Key Info dialog box when you are done.
  1. Select the type of encryption you want to use:
  • Encrypt with recipient keys. Use this option to encrypt the PGP Zip archive to the public keys of the recipient(s). This ensures that only those recipient(s) can open the archive.

    If you select public-key encryption, drag and drop the public keys of the recipients onto the list or click the plus sign icon and choose the public keys of the desired recipients.

  • Encrypt with passphrase only. Use this option to encrypt this PGP Zip archive to a passphrase you specify when saving the archive. Only those persons who know the passphrase can open the archive. Remember that you will need to communicate this passphrase to the person(s) you want to open the PGP Zip archive.

    Enter the passphrase in the Passphrase field and then again in the Confirm field. If you want to see the passphrase as you type it, select Show Keystrokes.

  • Sign Only (no encryption). Use this option to create an unencrypted PGP Zip archive. However, because you are not encrypting the PGP Zip archive, you must specify a signing key using the Signature field.
  1. If you have only one file in your PGP Zip archive and you are signing the file but not encrypting it, create a detached signature file by selecting the Save Detached Signature File checkbox.

    If you want to create a detached signature file, you can put one file only in the archive, you must choose a signing key, and you cannot encrypt the archive.

  2. Click Save.
  3. Specify a file name and a location for the PGP Zip archive, then click Save. If you specified a signing key in the Signature field, you are prompted for the passphrase to the signing key (if it is not already cached).
  4. Enter the appropriate passphrase, then click OK. The PGP Zip archive is created in the location you specified.