PW Managers: KeePassX for Mac

KeePassX for Mac

Today I’m going to take a short break from the iOS 10 series. This post is a brief tutorial to help get you started with KeePassX on Mac or Linux.The first step is to download the application from https://www.keepassx.org/ and install it. On opening the application you will see the interface shown below:

KeePassX on Mac

The next step is to create a database. this is similar to creating a new document in a word processor application; the database is the encrypted file that stores your passwords. On the Mac toolbar click Database >> New Database.

KeePassX on MacYou will be prompted to create a “Master Key” for your new database. This may consist of a password, key files, or both. Because your Master Key will protect all of your passwords and other login information make sure it is a good one! Also make sure you will not forget it; you may wish to write it down on a piece of paper until you are certain you have committed it to memory.

KeePassX on Mac

After you have created the Master Key, click “OK” and your database will be created. Initially it will be empty, as shown below.

KeePassX on MacThe next step is to create entries in your database. Each entry will contain the login information for one account. To create an entry go to the Mac Toolbar and click Entries>>Add New Entry or click the third icon at the top of KeePassX’s interface (the gold key with green “down” arrow).  A new menu will appear with fields for the new database.

KeePassX on MacFill in each field as required.

  • Title: This field is used for organizational purposes and let’s you keep track of your entries. Examples of titles you may want to use are “Personal Email Account” or “Bank Account”.  If you have a lot of entries (as I do) you can add numbers to the beginning of the title to keep them in a certain order. For example: 001 – Personal Email, 002 – Business Email, etc.
  • Username: Enter the login username for the account.
  • Password: See the next section.
  • URL: You should visit the page in question, copy the URL from your browser’s address bar and paste it into this field. Later when using the entry his will allow you to select “Open URL”, which prevents you from mis-typing it and going to a forged website.
  • Expires: Your password can be set to expire in a user-defined amount of time to remind you to change it.
  • Note: Use this field for anything relevant to the account, like the phone number or email address you provided, your two-factor backup codes, the birthdate and other biographical data you gave the site when you signed up, etc.

To set a password click the “Gen.” button. This will expand the options for passwords as shown below.

KeePassX on Mac
The password options allow you to choose a length. Note that the slider only goes up to 64 characters but the numerical field allows you to input numbers as high as 999. I recommend selecting every option in “character types” to make your passcode more complex. When you have selected your password click “Accept”. When you are finished in the entry click “OK”. Your entry should now appear in the KeePassX database.

KeePassX on Mac
To use the entry, simply right-click on it. I usually select “Copy password”. Once the password is copied I right click again and select “Open URL” to open the page in my default internet browser. I paste the password into the browser, then toggle back to KeePassX to get the username.

This post does not address all of the functionality of KeePassX on Mac, but this definitely enough information to get you going on with a password manager.

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