friendlier interface for OpenSSL certificate programs 

openssl command

SYNOPSIS [-?] [-h] [-help] [-newcert] [-newreq] [-newreq-nodes] [-xsign] [-sign] [-signCA] [-signcert] [-crl] [-newca] [-extra-cmd extra-params] -pkcs12 [-extra-pkcs12 extra-params] [certname] -verify [-extra-verify extra-params] [certfile] -revoke [-extra-ca extra-params] [certfile] [reason]


The script is a perl script that supplies the relevant command line arguments to the openssl command for some common certificate operations. It is intended to simplify the process of certificate creation and management by the use of some simple options.



prints a usage message.


creates a new self signed certificate. The private key is written to the file newkey.pem and the request written to the file newreq.pem. This argument invokes the openssl_req command.


creates a new certificate request. The private key is written to the file newkey.pem and the request written to the file newreq.pem. Executes the openssl_req command below the hood.


is like -newreq except that the private key will not be encrypted. Uses openssl_req.


creates a new CA hierarchy for use with the ca program or the -signcert and -xsign options). The user is prompted to enter the file name of the CA certificates (which should also contain the private key) or by hitting ENTER details of the CA will be prompted for. The relevant files and directories are created in a directory called demoCA in the current directory. The openssl_req and openssl_ca commands are invoked.


creates a PKCS#12 file containing the user certificate, private key and CA certificate. It expects the user certificate and private key to be in the file newcert.pem and the CA certificate to be in the file demoCA/cacert.pem, it creates a file newcert.p12. This command can thus be called after the -sign option. The PKCS#12 file can be imported directly into a browser. If there is an additional argument on the command line it will be used as the "friendly name" for the certificate (which is typically displayed in the browser list box), otherwise the name My Certificate is used. Delegates work to the openssl_pkcs12 command.


calls the ca program to sign a certificate request. It expects the request to be in the file newreq.pem. The new certificate is written to the file newcert.pem except in the case of the -xsign option when it is written to standard output. Leverages openssl_ca.


This option is the same as the -signreq option except it uses the configuration file section v3_ca and so makes the signed request a valid CA certificate. This is useful when creating intermediate CA from a root CA. Extra params are passed on to openssl ca command.


is the same as -sign except it expects a self signed certificate to be present in the file newreq.pem. Extra params are passed on to openssl_x509 and openssl_ca commands.


Generate a CRL. Executes openssl ca command.

-revoke certfile [reason] 

Revoke the certificate contained in the specified certfile. An optional reason may be specified, and must be one of: unspecified, keyCompromise, CACompromise, affiliationChanged, superseded, cessationOfOperation, certificateHold, or removeFromCRL. Leverages openssl_ca command.


verifies certificates against the CA certificate for demoCA. If no certificates are specified on the command line it tries to verify the file newcert.pem. Invokes the openssl_verify command.

-extra-req | -extra-ca | -extra-pkcs12 | -extra-x509 | -extra-verify extra-params 

The purpose of these parameters is to allow optional parameters to be supplied to openssl that this command executes. The -extra-cmd are specific to the option being used and the openssl command getting invoked. For example when this command invokes openssl req extra parameters can be passed on with the -extra-req parameter. The openssl commands being invoked per option are documented below. Users should consult openssl command documentation for more information.


Create a CA hierarchy: -newca

Complete certificate creation example: create a CA, create a request, sign the request and finally create a PKCS#12 file containing it. -newca -newreq -signreq -pkcs12 "My Test Certificate"


Although the creates RSA CAs and requests it is still possible to use it with DSA certificates and requests using the req command directly. The following example shows the steps that would typically be taken.

Create some DSA parameters:

openssl dsaparam -out dsap.pem 1024

Create a DSA CA certificate and private key:

openssl req -x509 -newkey dsa:dsap.pem -keyout cacert.pem -out cacert.pem

Create the CA directories and files: -newca

enter cacert.pem when prompted for the CA file name.

Create a DSA certificate request and private key (a different set of parameters can optionally be created first):

openssl req -out newreq.pem -newkey dsa:dsap.pem 

Sign the request: -signreq


Most of the file names mentioned can be modified by editing the script.

If the demoCA directory already exists then the -newca option will not overwrite it and will do nothing. This can happen if a previous call using the -newca option terminated abnormally. To get the correct behavior, delete the demoCA directory if it already exists.

Under some environments it may not be possible to run the script directly (for example Win32) and the default configuration file location may be wrong. In this case the command:

perl -S

can be used and the OPENSSL_CONF environment variable changed to point to the correct path of the configuration file.

The script is intended as a simple front end for the openssl program for use by a beginner. Its behavior isn't always what is wanted. For more control over the behavior of the certificate commands call the openssl command directly.


The variable OPENSSL_CONF if defined allows an alternative configuration file location to be specified, it should contain the full path to the configuration file, not just its directory.


Copyright 2016-2017 The OpenSSL Project Authors. All Rights Reserved.

Licensed under the OpenSSL license (the "License"). You may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You can obtain a copy in the file LICENSE in the source distribution or here: OpenSSL.


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PTC MKS Toolkit for Developers
PTC MKS Toolkit for Interoperability
PTC MKS Toolkit for Professional Developers
PTC MKS Toolkit for Professional Developers 64-Bit Edition
PTC MKS Toolkit for Enterprise Developers
PTC MKS Toolkit for Enterprise Developers 64-Bit Edition


openssl ca, openssl pkcs12, openssl req, openssl x509

openssl config

PTC MKS Toolkit 10.4 Documentation Build 39.