So, what is a ZIP folder you ask? A ZIP is a digital folder containing any number of documents or images that has been compressed into a format that is acceptable for upload / download across the internet. ZIP folders are the universal standard for sharing multiple files across the web.
Because the ZIP format is so widely used, you're bound to encounter this again and again, even if this happens to be your first introduction to them!
All of my own digital downloads will
arrive to you in a ZIP folder and so I’m often asked by first-timers or
infrequent users on how to best go about opening or managing these folders. Below are instructions for every device or system type.
If you’ve never come across a ZIP folder before and you’re not particularly techie minded it can definitely be a little frustrating to deal with depending on which computer system you have and how downloads are automatically handled on your computer. And of course, mobile devices offer a whole separate challenge!
But fear not, with a little patience and knowing just the right method for your device, it's really not as hard as it may at first seem. :)
TIP: You do not need to install any special software on your desktop/laptop computer to manage zip folders. All computers come with ready to use built in tools to handle the job for you. You can however opt to use a separate program if you want to. For bulk zipping/unzipping I use the free program Peazip.
Windows 7 thru 11
- Right-click on the Zip file icon and choose “Extract All”
- When prompted, choose a location for the folder to be saved to
- Keep the "Show extracted files when complete" box unchecked
- Now click on the "Extract" button to start the extraction
- You now have two copies of this folder, zipped and unzipped
- You may keep the original Zip folder or delete it since it is a duplicate
- open the file explorer pane and navigate to your download
- look to the Extract menu button on the top navigation bar
- click this and follow the prompts, in much the same way as above
Windows XP and Vista
- Double click on the zip folder
- In the window that opens, click on the “Extract all Files” link
- The “Extraction Wizard” will open, click “Next”
- Choose a destination for your unzipped folder
- Click “Finish” to complete the process
- This new folder is now your “unzipped” copy of the Zip file
- double click on the zip file
- job done
For mobile devices you will need to install an appropriate app in order to download and open .zip files.
Winzip is a free app and comes highly recommended by experts
- Once the app is installed you will have an option to “Open in Winzip”
- This will reveal the contents of the zipped folder
- Click “Open In” to choose where you wish to save the zip folder contents
- (documents or photos app)
- You should now be able to access the files in their new location
ZArchiver is a free app and comes highly recommended by experts
- Open ZArchiver and use the file manager to find the zip folder
- Click on the file when you find it
- Select 'Extract here' from the popup menu
- Files will be extracted into the same folder and are ready for use
These two apps are recommended by others and do not have my own endorsement. There are multiple app options available for both device systems so choose which file management app works best for YOU. Just search for "zip file app" in your app store. If you need more information on how to use the app you've chosen, just google search for tutorials on that app, most will have detailed instructions available, often via a Youtube video.