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Chapter 2: General Use

By default, Mailcrypt assumes you are using one of the PGP 2.6.x versions. This permits backward compatibility for the millions of satisfied users of Mailcrypt 3.4 worldwide. If you wish to specify a different version of PGP, use this function. Its action is the same as setting the variable mc-default-scheme. For a list of supported versions, press the tab key. "2.6" means 2.6.x, the original (and default). "5.0" is pgp 5.0. "gpg" is GnuPG.

Mailcrypt works by providing two minor modes for interfacing with cryptographic functions: mc-read-mode and mc-write-mode. mc-read-mode provides key bindings for processing messages which you have received; mc-write-mode provides key bindings for processing messages which you are about to send. These minor modes will indicate when they are active by placing a characteristic string in the mode line (see Mode Line). They will also add a Mailcrypt pull-down menu to the menu bar.

The normal installation procedure (see Installation) will arrange for the appropriate mode to be active when you read and compose mail and news. But you may want to use Mailcrypt's functions at other times; to do so, you can call mc-install-read-mode or mc-install-write-mode directly. For example, if you were editing a file in Text mode and wanted to digitally sign it, you would type M-x mc-install-write-mode, then C-c / s (see Signing).

Once one of the Mailcrypt modes is active, you can get a summary of the available functions by typing C-h m or by examining the Mailcrypt pull-down menu.

The description of each function below includes which of the modes has a binding for that function.

  • Encrypting Encrypting a message to one or more recipients.
  • Signing Clearsigning a message.
  • Inserting Keys Extracting a key from your public key ring and inserting it.
  • Decrypting Decrypting a message to you.
  • Verifying Verifying the signature on a clearsigned message.
  • Snarfing Keys Finding a key in the current message and adding it to your keyring.
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