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Manual Reference Pages  -  KPCLI (1)

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kpcli - A command line interface to KeePass database files.



A command line interface (interactive shell) to work with KeePass database files (http:// This program was inspired by my use of kedpm -c combined with my need to migrate to KeePass. The curious can read about the Ked Password Manager at


Please run the program and type help to learn how to use it.


This program requires these non-core modules:

Crypt::Rijndael - libcrypt-rijndael-perl on Ubuntu 10.04

Term::ReadKey - libterm-readkey-perl on Ubuntu 10.04

Sort::Naturally - libsort-naturally-perl on Ubuntu 10.04

File::KeePass - libfile-keepass-perl on Ubuntu 12.04

Term::ShellUI - libterm-shellui-perl on Ubuntu 12.10

It is recommended that you install Term::ReadLine::Gnu which will provide more fluid signal handling on Unix-like systems, making kpcli robust to suspend, resume, and interrupt - SIGSTP, SIGCONT and SIGINT. That module is in the libterm-readline-gnu-perl package on Ubuntu.

You can optionally install Clipboard and Tiny::Capture to use the clipboard features; and libcapture-tiny-perl on Ubuntu 10.04.

You can optionally install Data::Password to use the pwck feature (Password Quality Check); libdata-password-perl on Ubuntu 10.04.

You can optionally install Crypt::PWSafe3 in order to import Password Safe v3 files ( The dependency list of this module is hefty and it is not packaged in many distros, but cpanminus installs it nicely on Linux Mint (

On MS Windows, you can optionally install Win32::Console::ANSI to get ANSI colors in Windows cmd terminals. Strawberry Perl 5.16.2 was used for the kpcli port to Windows and, using cpanminus, one can install all of kpcli’s dependencies, sans Term::ReadLine::Gnu which is optional for kpcli and not supported on MS Windows.


The main author of kpcli primarily interoperability tests with KeePassX ( and primarily uses KeePass v1 (*.kdb) files. Support for KeePass v2 (*.kdbx) files in kpcli is substantial, and many people use it daily, but it is not the author’s primary use case. It is also the author’s intent to maintain compatibility with v1 files, and so anyone sending patches, for consideration for inclusion in future kpcli versions, is asked to validate them with both v1 and v2 files.

    Some versions of Term::ReadLine::Perl5 are incompatible

Some versions of Term::ReadLine::Perl5 are incompatible with the Term::ShellUI module, which is core to kpcli. There is information about this in kpcli SF bug #18 ( The Term::ReadLine::Perl5 author submitted a Term::ShellUI patch to resolve the issue ( As of this writing that patch is not integrated and so I am making a note of it here for users that it may bite. Those users are most often on MacOS X or Windows. Linux users most often use Term::ReadLine::Gnu.

    No history tracking for KeePass 2 (*.kdbx) files

Recording entries’ history in KeePass 2 files is not implemented. History that exists in a file is not destroyed, but results of entry changes made in kpcli are not recorded into their history. Prior-to-change copies are stored into the Recycle Bin. Note that File::KeePass does not encrypt passwords of history entries in RAM, like it does for current entries. This is a small security risk that can, in theory, allow privileged users to steal your passwords from RAM, from entry history.

    File::KeePass bug prior to version 2.03

Prior to version 2.03, File::KeePass had a bug related to some unknown data that KeePassX stores in group records. For File::KeePass < v2.03, kpcli deletes those unknown data when saving. Research in the libkpass ( source code revealed that what early versions of File::KeePass classifies as unknown are the times for created/modified/accessed/expires as well as flags (id=9), but only for groups; File::KeePass handled those fields just fine for entries. I found no ill-effect from dropping those fields when saving and so that is what kpcli does to work around the File::KeePass bug, if kpcli is using File::KeePass < v2.03.


    Using Ctrl-D to Exit

Versions of Term::ShellUI prior to v0.9. do not have the ability to trap Ctrl-D exits by the client program. I submitted a patch to remedy that and it made it into Term::ShellUI v0.9. Please upgrade if kpcli asks you to.

    Multiple Entries or Groups With the Same Name in the Same Group

This program does not support multiple entries in the same group having the exact same name, nor does it support multiple groups at the same level having the same name, and it likely never will. KeepassX does support those. This program detects and alert when an opened database file has those issues, but it does not refuse to save (overwrite) a file that is opened like that. Saves are actually safe (no data loss) as long as the user has not touched one of the duplicately-named items.


Lester Hightower <hightowe at cpan dot org>


This program may be distributed under the same terms as Perl itself.


Special thanks to Paul Seamons, author of File::KeePass, and to Scott Bronson, author of Term::ShellUI. Without those two modules this program would not have been practical for me to author.


 2010-Nov-28 v0.1 - Initial release.
 2010-Nov-28 v0.2 - Encrypt the master password in RAM.
 2010-Nov-29 v0.3 - Fixed master password encryption for saveas.
 2010-Nov-29 v0.4 - Fixed code to work w/out Term::ReadLine::Gnu.
                    Documented File::KeePass v0.1 hierarchy bug.
 2010-Nov-29 v0.5 - Made find command case insensitive.
                    Bugfix in new command (path regex problem).
 2010-Nov-29 v0.6 - Added lock file support; warn if a lock exists.
 2010-Dec-01 v0.7 - Further documented the group fields that are
                     dropped, in the CAVEATS section of the POD.
                    Sort group and entry titles naturally.
 2010-Dec-23 v0.8 - Worked with File::KeePass author to fix a couple
                     of bugs and then required >=v0.03 of that module.
                    Sorted "/_found" to last in the root group list.
                    Fixed a "database changed" state bug in cli_save().
                    Made the find command ignore entries in /Backup/.
                    Find now offers show when only one entry is found.
                    Provided a patch to Term::ShellUI author to add
                     eof_exit_hook and added support for it to kpcli.
 2011-Feb-19 v0.9 - Fixed bugs related to spaces in group names as
                     reported in SourceForge bug number 3132258.
                    The edit command now prompts to save on changes.
                    Put scrub_unknown_values_from_all_groups() calls
                     back into place after realizing that v0.03 of
                    File::KeePass did not resolve all of the problems.
 2011-Apr-23 v1.0 - Changed a perl 5.10+ regex to a backward-compatable
                     one to resolve SourceForge bug number 3192413.
                    Modified the way that the /Backup group is ignored
                     by the find command to stop kpcli from croaking on
                     multiple entries with the same name in that group.
                     - Note: There is a more general bug here that
                             needs addressing (see BUGS section).
                    An empty title on new entry aborts the new entry.
                    Changed kdb files are now detected/warned about.
                    Tested against Term::ShellUI v0.9, which has my EOF
                     hook patch, and updated kpcli comments about it.
                    Term::ShellUIs complete_history() method was
                     removed between v0.86 and v0.9 and so I removed
                     kplis call to it (Ctrl-r works for history).
                    Added the "icons" command.
 2011-Sep-07 v1.1 - Empty DBs are now initialized to KeePassX style.
                    Fixed a couple of bugs in the find command.
                    Fixed a password noecho bug in the saveas command.
                    Fixed a kdb_has_changed bug in the saveas command.
                    Fixed a cli_open bug where it wasnt cli_closeing.
                    Fixed variable init bugs in put_master_passwd().
                    Fixed a false warning in warn_if_file_changed().
 2011-Sep-30 v1.2 - Added the "export" command.
                    Added the "import" command.
                    Command "rmdir" asks then deletes non-empty groups.
                    Command "new" can auto-generate random passwords.
 2012-Mar-03 v1.3 - Fixed bug in cl command as reported in SourceForge
                     bug number 3496544.
 2012-Apr-17 v1.4 - Added key file support based on a user contributed
                     patch with SourceForge ID# 3518388.
                    Added my_help_call() to allow for longer and more
                     descriptive command summaries (for help command).
                    Stopped allowing empty passwords for export.
 2012-Oct-13 v1.5 - Fixed "help <foo>" commands, that I broke in v1.4.
                    Command "edit" can auto-generate random passwords.
                    Added the "cls" and "clear" commands from a patch
                     with SourceForge ID# 3573930.
                    Tested compatibility with File::KeePass v2.03 and
                     made minor changes that are possible with >=2.01.
                    With File::KeePass v2.03, kpcli should now support
                     KeePass v2 files (*.kdbx).
 2012-Nov-25 v1.6 - Hide passwords (red on red) in the show command
                     unless the -f option is given.
                    Added the --readonly command line option.
                    Added support for multi-line notes/comments;
                     input ends on a line holding a single ".".
 2013-Apr-25 v1.7 - Patched to use native File::KeePass support for key
                     files, if the File::KeePass version is new enough.
                    Added the "version" and "ver" commands.
                    Updated documentation as Ubuntu 12.10 now packages
                     all of kpclis dependencies.
                    Added --histfile command line option.
                    Record modified times on edited records, from a
                     patch with SourceForge ID# 3611713.
                    Added the -a option to the show command.
 2013-Jun-09 v2.0 - Removed the unused Clone module after a report that
                     Clone is no longer in core Perl as of v5.18.0.
                    Added the stats and pwck commands.
                    Added clipboard commands (xw/xu/xp/xx).
                    Fixed some long-standing tab completion bugs.
                    Warn if multiple groups or entries are titled the
                     same within a group, except for /Backup entries.
 2013-Jun-10 v2.1 - Fixed several more tab completion bugs, and they
                     were serious enough to warrant a quick release.
 2013-Jun-16 v2.2 - Trap and handle SIGINT (^C presses).
                    Trap and handle SIGTSTP (^Z presses).
                    Trap and handle SIGCONT (continues after ^Z).
                    Stopped printing found dictionary words in pwck.
 2013-Jul-01 v2.3 - More readline() and signal handling improvements.
                    Title conflict checks in cli_new()/edit()/mv().
                    Group title conflict checks in rename().
                    cli_new() now accepts optional path&|title param.
                    cli_ls() can now list multiple paths.
                    cli_edit() now shows the "old" values for users
                     to edit, if Term::ReadLine::Gnu is available.
                    cli_edit() now aborts all changes on ^C.
                    cli_saveas() now asks before overwriting a file.
 2013-Nov-26 v2.4 - Fixed several "perl -cw" warnings reported on
                     2013-07-09 as SourceForge bug #9.
                    Bug fix for the cl command, but in sub cli_ls().
                    First pass at Strawberry perl/MS Windows support.
                     - Enhanced support for Term::ReadLine::Perl
                     - Added support for Term::ReadLine::Perl5
                    Added display of expire time for show -a.
                    Added -a option to the find command.
                    Used the new magic_file_type() in a few places.
                    Added generatePasswordFromDict() and "w" generation.
                    Added the -v option to the version command.
                     - Added the versions command.
 2014-Mar-15 v2.5 - Added length control (gNN) to password generation.
                    Added the copy command (and cp alias).
                    Added the clone command.
                    Added optional modules not installed to version -v.
                    Groups can now also be moved with the mv command.
                    Modified cli_cls() to also work on MS Windows.
                    Suppressed Term::ReadLine::Gnu hint on MS Windows.
                    Suppressed missing termcap warning on MS Windows.
                    Print a min number of *s to not leak passwd length.
                    Removed unneeded use of Term::ReadLine.
                    Quieted "inherited AUTOLOAD for non-method" warns
                     caused by Term::Readline::Gnu on perl 5.14.x.
 2014-Jun-06 v2.6 - Added interactive password generation ("i" method).
                     - Thanks to Florian Tham for the idea and patch.
                    Show entrys tags if present (KeePass >= v2.11).
                     - Thanks to Florian Tham for the patch.
                    Add/edit support for tags if a v2 file is opened.
                    Added tags to the searched fields for "find -a".
                    Show string fields (key/val pairs) in v2 files.
                    Add/edit for string fields if a v2 file is opened.
                    Show information about entries file attachments.
                     2014-03-20 SourceForge feature request #6.
                    New "attach" command to manage file attachments.
                    Added "Recycle Bin" functionality and --no-recycle.
                    For --readonly, dont create a lock file and dont
                     warn if one exists. 2014-03-27 SourceForge bug #11.
                    Added key file generation to saveas and export.
                     2014-04-19 SourceForge bug #13.
                    Added -expired option to the find command.
                    Added "dir" as an alias for "ls"
                    Added some additional info to the stats command.
                    Added more detailed OS info for Linux/Win in vers.
                    Now hides Meta-Info/SYSTEM entries.
                    Fixed bug with SIGTSTP handling (^Z presses).
                    Fixed missing refresh_state_all_paths() in cli_rm.
 2014-Jun-11 v2.7 - Bug fix release. Broke the open command in 2.6.
 2015-Feb-08 v2.8 - Fixed cli_copy bug; refresh paths and ask to save.
                    Fixed a cli_mv bug; double path-normalization.
                    Fixed a path display bug, if done after a cli_mv.
                    Protect users from editing in the $FOUND_DIR.
                    Keep file opened, read-only, to show up in lsof.
                    Added inactivity locking (--timeout parameter).
                    Added shell expansion support to cli_ls, with the
                     ability to manage _all_ listed entries by number.
                    Added shell expansion support to cli_mv.
                    Added [y/N] option to list entries after a find.
 2015-Jun-19 v3.0 - Added Password Safe v3 file importing; requires
                     optional Crypt::PWSafe3 from CPAN.
                    Added $FORCED_READLINE global variable.
                    Attachments sanity check; SourceForge bug #17.
                    Endianness fix in magic_file_type(); SF bug #19.


  Consider broadening shell_expansion support beyond just mv and ls.

  Consider adding a purge command for "Backup"/"Recycle Bin" folders.

  Consider adding a tags command for use with v2 files.
   - To navigate by entry tags

  Consider supporting KeePass 2.x style entry history.
   - There are potential security implications in File::KeePass.
   - Related, consider adding a purge command for that history.

  Consider adding KeePass 2.x style multi-user synchronization.

  for password quality checking.

  Consider adding searches for created, modified, and accessed times
  older than a user supplied time.


- Originally written and tested on Ubuntu Linux 10.04.1 LTS.
As of version 3.0, development is done on Linux Mint 17.
- Known to work on many other Linux and *BSD distributions, and
kpcli is packaged with many distributions now-a-days.

Microsoft Windows
- As of v2.4, Microsoft Windows is also supported.
- Tested and compiled on Strawberry Perl 5.16.2 on Windows 7.

UNIX/System_administration, Win32/Utilities

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