First Steps Tutorial - KeePass



First Steps Tutorial

A short tutorial showing you the basic usage of KeePass.

This short tutorial will show you how to actually use KeePass. It describes only the basic usage, advanced features are covered on separate pages.

Creating a new database

The very first step is creating a new password database. KeePass will store all your passwords in such a database. To create one, click 'File - New...' in the main menu or click the leftmost toolbar button. A window will appear, which prompts you for a master password and/or key file. The database will be encrypted with the password you enter here. The password you enter here will be the only password you'll ever have to remember from on now. It should be long and built up of mixed characters. Keep in mind that when someone gets your database file and guesses the password, he could access all passwords you stored in the database.

For this tutorial, we'll just use a password, not a key file. Click into the password edit field and enter a password of your choice. The password edit control isn't limited in length, so feel free to even enter a whole sentence (just keep in mind that you'll need to remember it).

After clicking [OK], a second dialog appears, in which you have to repeat the master password you just entered in the previous dialog. This is in order to avoid accidental typing errors.

Now you see the main window. On the left, you see the entry groups. On the right, you see the actual password entries. The password entries are grouped together into the password groups you see on the left. So, depending on which group on the left you selected, it'll show you the entries in this group in the right view. KeePass has created a few default groups for you, but you're totally free to delete them and create your own ones.

Adding an entry

Time to store your very first password in the KeePass database! Right-click into the right password entry view and choose 'Add Entry...'. A window will pop up. In this window you can now edit your entry: enter some title for it, an username, an URL, the actual password, etc. If you don't need some of the fields, just leave them empty. When you're done, click [OK].

You'll see your new entry in the password list on the right now.

Using entries

You got the new entry in the password list now. What can you actually do with it now? Right-click onto the entry.

You have several options now. You can for example copy the username of the entry to the Windows clipboard. When you've copied it, you can post it into any other program of your choice. The same works for copying passwords.

Alternatively, you can drag&drop fields into other windows. To see an example of how this works, see this page: Drag&Dropping Fields.

KeePass can open the URL you specified. To do this, just click 'URL(s) - Open URL(s)' in the context menu. KeePass will start the default browser and open the specified URL.

Saving the database

It's time to save our database. Click onto the 'Save' toolbar button (looks like a disk; 3rd toolbar button). As you're saving the database the first time, you now have to specify a location where you want the database file to be stored.


That's it! You've made the first steps in using KeePass! You can now have a look at the more advanced features of KeePass.

Passwords and Key Files: In the tutorial above we've encrypted the database using a password. But KeePass also supports key files, i.e. you can lock your database using a file (which you can carry around on your USB stick for example). It even supports combining those two methods for maximum security.

TAN Entries: TAN entries are one-time passwords. Many banks are using TANs for better security. KeePass supports TAN entries, by making them expire automatically when using them.

Auto-Type: The auto-typing functionality is a very powerful feature. In the tutorial above you've copied the username and password of an entry to the clipboard. Wouldn't it be nice if KeePass would just type those strings for you into other windows? Wouldn't it be nice if you could define whole sequences of keypresses that KeePass should type for you? That's exactly what the Auto-Typing feature does: it sends simulated keypresses for you to other windows!

URL Field Capabilities: The URL field supports URLs of course. In the tutorial, you've learned that you can enter simple URLs into this field and KeePass will open the browser window for you. But the URL field can do more! It actually supports many different protocols (not just http) and supports executing Windows command lines through the cmd:// virtual protocol. The field also features a powerful substitution engine, replacing codes by other fields (username, password, ...) of this entry.

Command Line Capabilities: You can open .kdb files by passing the filename to the KeePass executable file. But did you know that you can also send the password for the database and key file location over the command line? You can also use the command line to pre-select a key file for you.

Plugins: KeePass features a powerful plugin architecture. If you miss some functionality, have a look at the plugins page to see if there are other people that have already written plugins for this. Many plugins exist to import/export data from/to other file formats.