Neomutt GNUpg and Pass Howto

5 minute read Published:

NeoMutt, GNUPG and Pass


  • We are going to install neomutt a modern and configurable console imap/pop3/smtp client.
  • We going to use GNUPG for decryption and encryption
  • We going to be using Pass to store neomutt password

OK so let’s get our hands dirty.


I am using BlackArch GNU/Linux with yay but you can use pacman

yay -S neomutt
yay -S gnupg
yay -S pass

mkdir ~/.config/neomutt
cd ~/.config/neomutt
sudo updatedb
locate neomuttrc
cp /etc/neomuttrc ~/.config/neomutt/

Before we start, make sure you have your gnupg ready, this means all your friends and contacts public keys and your private key or onekey etc setup if you have one. If you are using wayland and sway etc I recommend setting up dmenu to promp for your key password.

To see a list of dmenu plugins and options:

yay -Ss dmenu

Now let’s check for that key ID

gpg -k
gpg -K

this will list your public and secret keys in that order.

locate colors.linux
cp /usr/share/doc/neomutt/samples/colors.linux ~/.config/neomutt/
locate gpg.rc
cp /usr/share/doc/neomutt/samples/gpg.rc ~/.config/neomutt/
locate mailcap
cp /etc/mailcap ~/.config/neomutt/


Edit ~/.config/neomutt/neomuttrc

  • here is an example configuration:


# We source our color theme
source ~/.config/neomutt/colors.linux
# we can source as many files as needed if you like to divide configuration pieces by file instead
# of having a long configuration file.
#source ~/.config/neomutt/sidebar

# Here we run the local password manager and get the password for imap and smtp into a mutt variable
set mailcap_path = ~/.config/neomutt/mailcap
set my_pass="`pass neomutt/rek2`"

# Here are the general settings
set realname="ReK2"
set from=""
set mail_check=90
set timeout=15

set imap_user=""
set imap_pass=$my_pass
set folder=imaps://
set spoolfile="+INBOX"

set sort=reverse-date
set sort_aux=last-date-received

set sidebar_visible = no
set sidebar_format = "%B%* %n"
set mail_check_stats
set sidebar_new_mail_only = no
set sidebar_width = 15
set sidebar_short_path = no

# --------------------------------------------------------------------------
# Note: All color operations are of the form:
# Color of the current, open, mailbox
# Note: This is a general NeoMutt option which colors all selected items.
#color indicator cyan white
# Color of the highlighted, but not open, mailbox.
color sidebar_highlight white color8
# Color of the divider separating the Sidebar from NeoMutt panels
color sidebar_divider color8 white
# Color to give mailboxes containing flagged mail
color sidebar_flagged red white
# Color to give mailboxes containing new mail
color sidebar_new green white
# Color to give mailboxes containing no new/flagged mail, etc.
color sidebar_ordinary color245 default

set smtp_url="smtps://"
set smtp_pass=$my_pass

# Source GNUPG settings to encrypt/decrypt/sign email
source ~/.config/neomutt/gpg.rc

auto_view text/html
  • You can customize the settings and colors, but the most importat pieces here is to configure your imap and smtp options.
  • NOTE: your SMTP and IMAP/POP3 configuration may be different. Follow the link above to the documentation.
  • We create a variable that is going to pipe in the password from a encrypted local password manager called pass


If you have not yet imported or create your key pair(private and public keys) do so now if you are moving your keys make sure you import them

gpg --import pgp-priv
gpg --import pgp-public

Now list your public keys and you will need to get the id of your personal key the one you want to use to sign and decrypt.

gpg -k

An example will be the email associated with the key like:

So then with that information you run:

pass init
  • This above initializes your encrypted password database.

Now we have to trust the key to be able to use it so do this with your key id.

gpg --edit-key

Once inside type:

  • trust
  • 5
  • y

And that’s it now is trusted.

Next we going to type your credentials, name or whatever you want to name this, you will later need this on the neomutt config to retrieve the password

This below will prompt you for the password to be stored 2 times.. Do so :)

pass insert neomutt/rek2

Good! Now check the db with

pass neomutt/rek2

You should see your new entry :) RTFM for how to use pass is very useful for many other applications.


Here I have an example of my configuration, Of course changed my info and added a random string s pgp key. You must enter here your pgp key you want to use by default, there are other commands you can get from the documentation to add diff keys, etc.


set crypt_use_gpgme=yes
set crypt_autosign=yes
set crypt_verify_sig=yes
set crypt_replysign=yes
set crypt_replyencrypt=yes
set crypt_replysignencrypted=yes
set crypt_autoencrypt = yes

set pgp_default_key="FF095ACE1717888D5F81618BCE0E532EB65503DD"
set pgp_check_gpg_decrypt_status_fd
set pgp_use_gpg_agent = yes
set pgp_self_encrypt = yes

OK so every session you will have to enter your gpg private key password to open your password database “pass” because pass ask gnupg for the key to open the database. With out your pgp key you won’t be able to open pass such why I recommend using a external crypto device like onlykey, yubikey etc, but is not needed but you will have your keys locally on your computer…

Remember this is only a very superficial way to get you going with all this three tools working together, if up to you to become a power user and RTFM the manual pages to really enjoy the things you can do with them.

Enjoy and please, contact me for typos/errata and grammar fix.

comments powered by Disqus