SSH-ADD(1)                     SSH                     SSH-ADD(1)


ssh-add - adds identities for the authentication agent


ssh-add [-l] [-d] [-D] [file...]


Ssh-add adds identities to the authentication agent, ssh- agent. When run without arguments, it adds the file $HOME/.ssh/identity. Alternative file names can be given on the command line. If any file requires a passphrase, ssh-add asks for the passphrase from the user. If the user is using X11, the passphrase is requested using a small X11 program; otherwise it is read from the user's tty. (Note: it may be necessary to redirect stdin from /dev/null to get the passphrase requested using X11.) The authentication agent must be running and must be an ancestor of the current process for ssh-add to work.


-l Lists all identities currently represented by the agent. -d Instead of adding the identity, removes the identity from the agent. -D Deletes all identities from the agent.


Ssh-add returns one of the following exit statuses. These may be useful in scripts. 0 The requested operation was performed successfully. 1 No connection could be made to the authentication agent. Presumably there is no authentication agent active in the execution environment of ssh-add. 2 The user did not supply a required passphrase. 3 An identify file could not be found, was not read- able, or was in bad format. 4 The agent does not have the requested identity. 5 An unspecified error has occurred; this is a catch- all for errors not listed above. SSH November 8, 1995 1 SSH-ADD(1) SSH SSH-ADD(1)


$HOME/.ssh/identity Contains the RSA authentication identity of the user. This file should not be readable by anyone but the user. It is possible to specify a passphrase when generating the key; that passphrase will be used to encrypt the private part of this file. This is the default file added by ssh-add when no other files have been specified. If ssh-add needs a passphrase, it will read the passphrase from the current terminal if it was run from a terminal. If ssh-add does not have a termi- nal associated with it but DISPLAY is set, it will open an X11 window to read the passphrase. This is particularly useful when calling ssh-add from a .Xsession or related script. (Note that on some machines it may be necessary to redirect the input from /dev/null to make this work.)


Tatu Ylonen <>


ssh-agent(1), ssh-keygen(1), ssh(1), sshd(8) SSH November 8, 1995 2
©1994 Man-cgi 1.15, Panagiotis Christias <>
©1996 Modified for Dell SVR4 (Issue 2.2) and NetBSD 1.2 by Kimmo Suominen < alem >