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Is there an encrypting text editor for ubuntu? In other words, the text editor, preferably GUI capable, should always save an encrypted file and always prompt for the password to re-open the file. The point is to combine the functionality of a text editor with an encryption tool.

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A word of warning: text editors, or sometimes even operating systems, will store data on disk out side of the normal save/open operations. Vim for example will store data in in files ending in ~ or .swp as backups and Linux will swap out memory to disk if it runs short of RAM. Because of this, simply encrypting a text file will not keep your data safe from a determined attacker with physical access to your machine. If your data is really important, use full disk encryption. FDE is pretty easy to do in Ubunutu, see…. – TwentyMiles Mar 20 '14 at 19:09
For an emacs solution, also see: – Patrick Collins Mar 21 '14 at 0:51
Via @stormvirux is this article that describes how to eliminate the risk posed by swap and backup files created by vim.… – H2ONaCl Mar 21 '14 at 8:34
up vote 20 down vote accepted


Just use vim or vi which offers file encryption with blowfish when using -x option.

create a file for encryption as follows:

vim -x filename.txt

Then it will prompt to enter encryption key

Enter encryption key:

Once a file has been encrypted by Vim once, you never need to use the -x option when opening that file again. Vim will automatically recognize it as an encrypted file and do the right thing.

Because Blowfish is a symmetric key encryption system, the same key is used for both encryption and decryption. When Vim opens a file for the first time with the -x option, the first thing it will do is ask you to give it a key you can use to encrypt and decrypt the file, with this prompt:

Need encryption key for "abc.txt"
Enter encryption key:

After entering the key, you will then be asked to confirm the key, to ensure you did not mistype it.

Enter same key again:

Then it will open as normally as usual.

Read more here


According to the website.

CryptoTE is a text editor with integrated strong cryptography. 
It is based on the popular Scintilla widget and automatically stores 
text data in secure encrypted container files. 
Compared to other "password keeper" programs, CryptoTE does not force 
any structure upon your data: it works with plain ASCII text 
and does not require you to fill in grids, key-value attributes,descriptions etc. 
Encryption is transparently performed using the 
highly-secure Serpent cipher. The editing interface is thoroughly 
optimized for speed and ease of use. 
Multiple subfiles, Quick-Find and a two-click random password generator 
make daily use very convenient.

enter image description here

for ubuntu see.

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It was looking like an attractive solution until I read at your link that the default behaviour is to leave unencrypted data on the disk. The user would have to remember to set nobackup, noswapfile, and nowritebackup in a configuration file on every clean system. If you use Ubuntu LTS versions, that means you need to remember to do that every 5 years, or more frequently. I suppose it's more likely to be remembered if this is performed at a high frequency. – H2ONaCl Mar 20 '14 at 13:33
@broiyan then cryptoTE might fit what you want plus it has a gui – Stormvirux Mar 20 '14 at 13:40
I like that CryptoTE uses a symmetric password and that the text file is free-format; notwithstanding the example screenshot. The container concept is useful for providing a simple means of organization. – H2ONaCl Mar 21 '14 at 8:35
If, for example, your valuable data are in ~/Documents and you work via file system links that are in ~/Desktop, CryptoTE's by default five level backup feature will do something unexpected. To be safe, open CyprtoTE's encrypted files directly, do not use links. – H2ONaCl Mar 21 '14 at 8:44
Cryptographers would comment that Blowfish isn't considered secure enough. – freddyb Mar 21 '14 at 13:41



  • Gedit
  • Gedit plugin – External tools (enabled)
  • A valid gpg key

This will only work if you have enabled GnuPG in your system.

GnuPG is an implementation of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), which is a form of public key/private key encryption.

Install GnuPG

sudo apt-get install gnupg

Generate your keys:

gpg --gen-key 

When generating the keys, you can just press enter at any time to accept the default value in brackets. The most important part of your key generation is choosing your passphrase.

Your public keyring should just contain your own public key for now, you can view the keyring with the --list-keys option and your private key with the --list-secret-keys option.

gpg --list-keys
gpg --list-secret-keys

GnuPG source:


Just go to Tools > Manage External Tools, and add the scripts:

Paste the following code on a new command, called “Encrypt”:


if [ ! "${stdin:0:27}" == "-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----"  ]; then 
    echo "$stdin" | gpg -a -e -r --no-tty -
    echo "$stdin"

with the options:

  • ShortCut - Control + Shift + E
  • Save - Nothing
  • Input - Current document
  • Output - Replace current document
  • Applicability - All documents / All languages

enter image description here

Paste the following code on a new command, called “Decrypt”:


if [ "${stdin:0:27}" == "-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----"  ]; then 
    echo "$stdin" | gpg -d --no-tty - 2> /dev/null
    echo "$stdin"

with the options:

  • ShortCut - Control + Shift + D
  • Save - Nothing
  • Input - Current document
  • Output - Replace current document
  • Applicability - All documents / All languages

enter image description here


Once that is done, then you can open encrypted files (asc – ascii files, not binary), or create new ones on spot using the shortcuts.


enter image description here

enter image description here


METHOD 2 Another way is to install zillo.

A simple plugin for gedit 3 that encode and decode selected text to base64.

See this question on how to install the plugin

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Instead of if [ ! ... == you should use if [ ... != . – Kevin Mar 20 '14 at 15:06
@Kevin Where should I make the change? – Parto Mar 20 '14 at 15:17
Your encrypt script – Kevin Mar 20 '14 at 15:18
@Kevin But it's working fine as is. I have tested it in my Gedit... – Parto Mar 20 '14 at 16:11
Yes, it works as-is, but != is much cleaner than ! ... ==. – Kevin Mar 20 '14 at 16:22

Naturally, you can also do this in emacs. The emacs wiki has a very nice page on this, providing 7 different approaches:

The simplest would probably be EasyPG Assistant since it is an interface to GnuPG and should work out of the box.

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EasyPG is bundled with Emacs. To encrypt a file just save it with .gpg extension. – J.F. Sebastian Mar 26 '14 at 7:29
Heh. There should be a list of what cannot be done in emacs... ;) – n611x007 Aug 25 '15 at 10:35

You could try vim with the gnupg.vim plugin, which is for transparent editing of gpg encrypted files.

gnupg.vim description:

This script implements transparent editing of gpg encrypted files. The filename must have a ".gpg", ".pgp" or ".asc" suffix. When opening such a file the content is decrypted, when opening a new file the script will ask for the recipients of the encrypted file. The file content will be encrypted to all recipients before it is written. The script turns off viminfo and swapfile to increase security.

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If you like Geany, there's a plugin (sudo apt-get install geany-plugin-pg):

GeanyPG is a plugin for Geany that allows the user to encrypt, decrypt and verify signatures with GnuPG.


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DeadboltEdit - A secure encrypting text editor for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.

It uses Blowfish encryption, compatible with the OpenSSL implementation.


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EncryptPad - an application for viewing and editing symmetrically encrypted text. It also provides a tool for encrypting and decrypting binary files on disk. It is compatible with OpenPGP. So you can open files encrypted with OpenPGP software. There is also key file protection and a password generator. Platforms: Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

Main Window in Windows

enter image description here

Binary Encryptor Dialogue in Lubuntu

enter image description here

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