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How to Use Pass Which Is a Command Line Password Manager


I use it multiple times a day and it never fails me. If you're looking for a secure offline password manager, look no further.

Quick Jump: Demo Video

Back in 2016 I wrote a blog post on using pass. Here we are 7+ years later and I’m still happily using it. I use it to manage about 300 different passwords, API licenses, blobs of text (multiple API key pairs, etc.) and other sensitive information.

Here’s a couple of highlights:
  • Run commands like pass Sites/example.com and it’ll output your password
  • Use the -c flag to have it copy your password to your clipboard for 45s
  • Running pass with no args will list a tree view of all of your entries
  • Add or overwrite existing passwords with pass insert Licenses/sometool
  • Add multi-line entries with pass insert -m API/pypi
    • This is handy to save multiple values or even a whole config file together
    • If you retrieve a multi-line entry with -c it copies the first line to your clipboard
  • Your entries are just GPG encrypted files sitting on your file system
    • You can organize them however you see fit with custom directories and files
    • It’s fully offline but since it’s text you can sync them if you want
    • It has shell completions to make it easy to tab complete existing entries
    • It supports using git out of the box but this is optional
  • Add a new entry with an auto-generated password with pass generate Sites/mysite.com

It piggy backs off using your GPG key to encrypt everything. If you don’t have your own GPG key I suggest creating one. I have a post about that here.

pass supports multiple flavors of Linux, WSL 2, macOS and more. It has a few browser extensions and other integrations although personally I stick with using the vanilla command line version exclusively.

Here’s a demo video going over how to install and use it:

Demo Video


  • 0:00 – Intro
  • 0:50 – A drive-by of pass’ features
  • 4:17 – Downloading pass and its optional extensions / clients
  • 5:03 – Setting a custom directory only for this video
  • 6:24 – Initialize pass
  • 7:55 – Inserting and overwriting a new entry
  • 9:37 – Removing entries
  • 9:50 – Multi-line inserts
  • 11:13 – Generating random passwords
  • 13:52 – Skimming the man pages and searching, moving, copying, etc. entries
  • 17:45 – Watch me fail to use the git feature for the first time


# I only ran this to avoid overwriting my existing pass directory.
export PASSWORD_STORE_DIR=/tmp/passdemo

# Use your gpg-id, you can check with: gpg --list-keys
pass init nick.janetakis@gmail.com

pass ls

pass insert Sites/example.com

pass Sites/example.com
pass -c Sites/example.com

pass rm Sites/example.com

pass insert -m API/pypi
pass edit API/pypi

pass generate Sites/anothersite.org
pass generate -c Sites/anothersite123.org

pass search Sites
pass find pypi

pass mv API/pypi Sites/pypi
pass cp Sites/pypi Sites/another-pypi

pass git init

Are you going to use this terminal based password manager? Let us know!

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