Use EncryptPad Text Editor to Edit and Encrypt Files in Ubuntu

How to Install and Use EncryptPad, a Text Editor that Helps You Keep Your Files Secure

At times we store some of our personal or sensitive information in the form of plain text on our laptops or pen drives in order to make it easily accessible whenever required. While that does offer convenience, it also poses a great risk – risk of the information getting misused in case the laptop or memory stick getting stolen/misplaced and landing in the wrong hands.

Encryption is one of the safest solutions to the aforementioned problem. While there are many tools available in the market that allow you to encrypt and decrypt information, wouldn’t it be even more convenient if there were a text editor that could double as an encryption/decryption tool as well? In this article we will discuss one such application, EncryptPad.

Note: all the instructions/commands explained in this article have been tested on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

EncryptPad is basically a normal text editor, but what makes it special is its ability to encrypt files. Not only plain text files, but you can also use it to encrypt and decrypt binary files kept on your disk. It’s an open source application that offers both graphical as well as command line interfaces.

On Ubuntu you can easily download and install EncryptPad by running the following commands:

Of course, you can also install it from source; to download the latest version, head here.

Once the application is installed successfully, it can be launched from Ubuntu Dash.

encryptpad-dash

Here’s what the EncryptPad UI looks like:

encryptpad-ui

As you can see, it’s a basic text editor UI with quick access icons for creating, opening, saving, and editing files. To start, let’s discuss how to password-protect a plain text file using the editor.

For this, first open (File -> Open) an existing text file in the editor. For example, I opened a file called “test”:

encryptpad-open-file

The next step is to save it as a .gpg file, something you can do by heading to “File -> Save As” and selecting the file type GnuPG.

encryptpad-saveas

Hitting the “Save” button will bring up a Password box where you’ll be asked to enter a new password as well as confirm it.

encryptpad-passwd

This way you can protect a plain text file by encrypting it with a password.

Next up, let’s understand how you can use EncryptPad to protect your information with a key file. For this, first open a plain text file that you want to protect, and then generate a key by heading to “Encryption -> Generate Key…” This will bring up the following window.

encryptpad-gen-key

Select the “Key in Repository” option and enter, say, my_new_key in the corresponding text box, and then click OK. In the next step you’ll be asked to enter a password to protect the key file on disk.

encryptpad-key-passwd

The editor will then ask you whether or not you want to use the generated key for this file. Click “Yes.”

encryptpad-use-keyfile-for-current-file

Now, do “File -> Save As,” and save the file as a GnuPG file.

This way you can protect a plain text file using a key file. To open a file with such protection, the editor will require both a key file as well as the password that protects it.

Note that you can also apply double protection on a plain text file, meaning you can protect it with a password as well as a password-protected key file. For this, all the steps are the same as what we discussed in the key-file section above, but when you do “File -> Save As” you’ll have to select the file type as “EncryptPad (*.epd).”

For more information on the editor, head to the tutorials section on the tool’s official website.

The biggest strength of EncryptPad is that it’s not difficult to use at all. This, coupled with the fact that the tool’s official website, offers detailed tutorials, makes it ideal for new users. If you were looking for such an application, I’d encourage you to give EncryptPad a shot.

3 comments

  1. Absolutely love the way the website is ‘engineered’. Lots of details – faqs, screenshots, a manual on site. It says a lot about the way this developer thinks and by extension… the kind of detailed coding that must be in this application (even before trying it). I say this as someone who visits lots of sites looking for wares and is often turned off by the lack of info, sloppiness or general malaise. Unsurprisingly, what follows are a bunch of bug fixes.

    Looking forward to installing as a possible replacement to gedit.

    • Gave it a try. Works as expected. Like the fact that when first creating a file and trying to close it, it’ll prompt you for a password. The only thing I don’t like about the application is the giant padlock. It draws too much attention. As I look over my desktop icons (through the eyes of a 3rd-party), it’s the *only* file I’m interested in trying to open.

      Will write developer to see if he might be able to add the option to use an alternate icon(s) to represent EPD (file extension for encryptPad) files. A degree of obscurity is a nice security touch:) Otherwise, the app makes a no-nonsense encryptor for ascii files. Definitely a keeper for the toolchest. I wouldn’t recommend as a replacement for gedit, as it lacks some key features.

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