How to compress (zip) files and folders (4 easy ways)

This tutorial will show you step by step how to compress (zip) files and folders into ZIP, RAR, 7Z or other compressed files in few different ways – using free software and an online service (website).

And also how to do this without using third-party software in Microsoft Windows 7, 8 and 10.

There are also (optional) instructions included for adding password protection (encryption) to your compressed files or folders in 7-Zip and WinRAR.

What are compressed files?

Compressed files are files that contain one or more files or folders and have a smaller size than the original file size.

Compressed files make downloading and transferring data faster, sending files by email easier and they also save storage space on a computer hard drive, USB flash drive or external hard drive.

A few common compressed file extensions are .rar, .zip, .tar, .gz, and .7z.

Other extensions are b1, jar, xpi, arj, bz2, bzip2, tbz2, tbz, txz, cab, chm, chi, chq, chw, hxs, hxi, hxr, hxq, hxw, lit, cpio, deb, gzip, tgz, tpz, hfs, iso, lzh, lha, lzma, rpm, xar, z, taz, xz, dmg, cb7, cbr, cbt, and cbz.

File archivers

File archivers are programs used to compress and uncompress files.

A few popular file archivers are WinRar, WinZip, and 7-Zip.

Microsoft Windows has a feature for compressing and uncompressing files, but this one doesn't have any extra options and can only zip and unzip ZIP and RAR files.

Linux Mint and Ubuntu also have a function to compress and decompress files and support all kinds of different types of files.

Compress (zip) files and folders

You can compress (pack) almost any file type and format you want, such as:

And much more file types and formats.

How to compress (zip) files and folders in Windows 7, 8 and 10

1. Right-click on the file or folder.

2. Go to Send to and choose Compressed (zipped) folder.

compress files and folders in windows

Windows will now compress (zip) your file or folder.

How to compress (zip) files and folders using 7-Zip

7-Zip is a free program that allows you to compress (zip) files and unzip (extract) compressed files.

7-Zip supports the following formats: RAR, ZIP, 7Z, TAR, GZ, XZ, BZIP2, GZIP, ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, CramFS, DEB, DMG, FAT, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MBR, MSI, NSIS, NTFS, RPM, SquashFS, UDF, VHD, WIM, XAR, and Z.

You can download 7-Zip here.

Quickly compress (zip) a file or folder into 7z or zip using 7-Zip

1. Right-click on the file or folder.

2. Go to 7-Zip.

3. Click on Add to [FileName].7z or Add to [FileName].zip.

compress files and folders using 7-zip

7-Zip will now compress (zip) your file or folder.

If you want more options, such as other file types or password protection (encryption), then follow the following steps.

Compress (zip) a file or folder into 7z, zip, tar or another file + more options

1. Right-click on the file or folder.

2. Go to 7-Zip.

3. Click on Add to archive.

compress files and folders using 7-zip

4. At Archive Format, you can select an archive format.

compress files and folders using 7-zip 2

5. If you want to password protect (encrypt) your file or folder, then go to Encryption, enter your password twice and make sure AES-256 is selected at Encryption Method.

compress and password protect files and folders using 7-zip

Important! It is very important to remember your password because you will need it to unzip (extract) your file.

You might want to create a backup of the non-password protected files and folders – in case you forget the password in the future.

6. You have a few settings, but if you don't know what any of these settings mean, then just leave the settings unchanged.

7. Click on the OK button located at the bottom right.

7-Zip will now compress (pack) your file or folder.

How to compress (zip) files and folders using WinRAR

WinRAR is a powerful archive manager. It can backup your data and reduce the size of email attachments, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files downloaded from the Internet and create new archives in RAR and ZIP file format.

WinRAR supports the following formats: RAR, ZIP, 7Z, TAR, GZ, CAB, ARJ, LZH, XZ, TAR.GZ, BZ2, TAR.BZ2, ACE, UUE, JAR (Java Archive), ISO (ISO9660 - CD image), and Z (Unix compress).

WinRAR isn't free, but the company offers a 40-day free trial before you're supposed to purchase a license to keep using it. But, as anyone who used it regularly knows, when those 40 days are up, nothing happens. You'll only get a frequent pop-up reminder about buying a license, but you can continue using WinRAR for free forever.

You can download WinRAR here.

Quickly compress (zip) a file or folder into rar using WinRAR

1. Right-click on the file or folder.

2. Click on Add to [File Name].rar.

compress files and folders using winrar

WinRAR will now compress (zip) your file or folder.

If you want more options, such as other file types or password protection (encryption), then follow the following steps.

Compress (zip) a file or folder into rar or zip using WinRAR + more options

1. Right-click on the file or folder.

2. Click on Add to archive....

compress files and folders using winrar

3. At Archive format, you can choose an archive format.

4. If you want to password protect (encrypt) your file or folder, then click on Set password..., enter your password twice and click on OK.

Important! It is very important to remember your password because you will need it to unzip (extract) your file.

You might want to create a backup of the non-password protected files and folders – in case you forget the password in the future.

5. You have a lot of settings, but if you don't know what any of these settings mean, then just leave the settings unchanged.

6. Click on the OK button.

WinRAR will now compress (zip) your file or folder.

How to compress (zip) files and folders online using EzyZip

1. Visit www.ezyzip.com.

2. At File name, you enter a file name for your new compressed file.

3. Click on the Choose Files button.

4. Go to the location on your computer where the file or folder is stored that you want to compress (zip).

5. Select the file or folder and click on Open.

6. Click on the Zip Files button.

7. EzyZip will now compress your file(s) or folder(s) and when it's done, you click on the Save Zip File button.

8. Select a location on your PC where you want to save the new ZIP file and click on Save.


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How to unzip (open) zip, rar, 7z, tar, gz, and other files

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