How to zip a file in Windows 10

How to zip a file in Windows 10
If sharing large photos or video files is part of your daily life, you might need to learn how to compress a file. Sending all the photos from a recent trip to your friends and family can clog their mailbox and your, and sending large files takes time, especially if upload speeds are slow in your area. Even if you’re using a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive, a compressed file can save you space.

In the old days, you were forced to rely on third-party software to do this. You can still use those programs today, but Microsoft has more recently built file compression capabilities into Windows, making things easier in the process. While Windows 10 has you covered for ZIP compression — the most common method to compress files — you’ll have to turn to third-party software for more specialized file compression formats, including RAR and 7z.

Unpacking a ZIP file might be easy but consolidating your files into a single ZIP archive isn’t quite as obvious. In this guide, we’ll first show you how to compress a single file in Windows 10, followed by how to compress a folder. After learning how to compress your files, we will demonstrate how to open a ZIP file, so that you can get access to the uncompressed files again. Let’s get started!

ZIP a single file

How to zip a file in Windows 10

You’ll want to use this method if a single file is extremely large, such as video shot with a smartphone or digital camera.

  1. Locate File Explorer on the Windows 10 taskbar (the folder icon).
  2. Locate the file you want to compress.
  3. Right-click on the file.
  4. Select Send to on the menu.
  5. Select Compressed (zipped) folder in the next menu.
  6. Rename your new ZIP file, and press the Enter key.

ZIP multiple files

How to zip a file in Windows 10

This method is handy for cramming multiple files together, for both size and organizational reasons. This is smart idea when you’re sending files, and also just to keep files together to free up disk space.

  1. Locate File Explorer on the Windows 10 taskbar (the folder icon).
  2. Locate the files you want to add to a single ZIP file.
  3. Select all files by holding down the mouse button and dragging the pointer across the screen. Your mouse will create a blue selection box. All files within this box are highlighted with a light blue color.
  4. Release the mouse button and right-click on the light blue highlighted files.
  5. Select Send to on the menu.
  6. Select Compressed (zipped) folder in the next menu.
  7. Rename your new ZIP file, and press the Enter key.

ZIP an entire folder

How to zip a file in Windows 10

If you want multiple files in a single folder, this is the method you choose. When unpacked, all files will unload in a folder created during the compression process.

  1. Locate File Explorer on the Windows 10 taskbar (the folder icon).
  2. Locate the folder you want to add to a single ZIP file.
  3. Right-click on the folder.
  4. Select Send to on the menu.
  5. Select Compressed (zipped) folder in the next menu.
  6. Rename your new ZIP file and press the Enter key.

Finally, let’s demonstrate how you can unpack a ZIP file in Windows 10.

Unpack a ZIP file

How to zip a file in Windows 10

Zipping files is only helpful if you can extract them as well. Windows 10 uses an algorithm to scan your file, temporarily remove all repetitive information, and create a new file with a smaller size and a new file extension: ZIP. To revert the file back to its former state, Windows 10 scans the file to see what was removed, and inserts the repetitive information back into the file. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Locate File Explorer on the Windows 10 taskbar (the folder icon).
  2. Locate the file you want to decompress.
  3. Right-click on the file.
  4. Select Extract all on the menu.
  5. On the next pop-up screen, select where you want Windows 10 to unload the files.
  6. Once you choose a location, click the Select Folder
  7. Finally, click the Extract button.

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