One of the most common ways using which users reduce the size of files and folders present on their system is by converting them into Zip files. According to Microsoft, Zip files occupy less storage space than regular files. Moreover, you can also transfer them from one place to another quickly. Zip files are extensively used by individuals and organizations from all around the world primarily because they offer numerous advantages over other file formats. This article will cover what Zip files are, how to zip and unzip files, and the advantages of using them. Let us dive right into it.
What is a Zip File?
A single compressed file that contains a collection of files and folders is called a Zip file. Zip files feature a “.zip” extension and an icon resembling a zipper. The archive file format compresses multiple files together and stores them in a single location. A Zip file containing multiple files features a smaller file size because of compression, and thus, it can conveniently be stored and shared with others. Even though multiple files get compressed to fit into a single file, their properties remain unchanged. Therefore, once the recipient receives a Zip file, they can uncompress or unzip it to use the stored files in their original format. One of the most common uses of Zip files includes software downloads. Large-sized files of applications or programs are compressed into Zip files to reduce their size so that users can download them faster. Besides this, Zip files are also used for archiving and encryption purposes.
How to Zip and Unzip Files?
Both leading operating systems, i.e., Windows and macOS, offer native features and support third-party utilities for zipping and unzipping files. Let us take a look at how you can zip and unzip files on both:
To create a Zip file using macOS’ native utility, follow these steps:
Step 1 – Find and select the file or folder you want to compress.
Step 2 – Right-click on the selected file and click “Compress.”
To decompress a Zip file on your Mac using the built-in utility, follow these steps:
Step 1 – Select and right-click on the Zip file you wish to decompress.
Step 2 – Click on “Open With” and select the “Archive Utility” option.
Apart from using macOS’ native “Archive” feature or macOS finder to compress and decompress files, users can also opt for a third-party application like Archiver. It is a powerful tool that features a drag-and-drop interface and provides users with useful features that facilitate archiving or decompressing files quickly and efficiently.
To zip a file on Windows using the OS’ native utility, follow these steps:
Step 1 – Select the file or folder you wish to zip.
Step 2 – Right-click on the folder, navigate to the “Send to” option on the menu and click on “Compressed (zipped) folder.” Doing so will create a new Zip folder.
Step 3 – Rename the folder and hit the “Enter” button.
To unzip a file using the native utility, follow the given steps:
Step 1 – Right-click on the Zip file you want to unzip or decompress and click “Extract All.”
Step 2 – Follow the given instructions to complete the process.
Besides using Windows’ native features, you can also take the help of a supported third-party application like WinRAR to conveniently zip and unzip files.
Benefits of Zipping Files:
There are numerous advantages of zipping files. Here are some of them:
- It Facilitates Saving Storage Space
Zip files compress multiple files or folders and reduce their size significantly. This feature of Zip files makes it easy for users to save and share files. Compressing large-sized files allows users to save up to 80% disk space.
- It Enhances Security
Zipping files allows users to encrypt the data present in the compressed file. Therefore, you can rest assured that any confidential data present inside the Zip file will not be compromised. Thus, you can conveniently share files having sensitive information online by converting them into a Zip file and encrypting them.
- It Improves the Integrity of Files
There is always a possibility of uncompressed files going corrupt when shared online. Compressing and turning them into a Zip file, on the other hand, significantly minimizes the chances of corrupting them. Therefore, Zipping files improve the files’ integrity and ensure that they do not get corrupted.
- It Reduces Data Usage
Zipping files also allows users to save data by facilitating quick downloads. Since a Zip file is comparatively smaller, you can quickly download and access the files without any hassle. Hence, you save both data and time.
Zip files are powerful tools that facilitate easy management and transfer of data. In addition, they also offer tons of benefits to users, as mentioned above. Therefore, if you wish to share large files online or save your system’s hard drive space, you can try zipping files.