So, you’re looking for ways of creating a ZIP File based on your operating system? Perfect, you’re in the right place. We’ll give you the exact steps you need to take to do that. Afterward, you’ll save some space on your storage drive due to compression, and can even protect it from prying eyes. Furthermore, you can send the files through e-mail, upload them to the cloud, or copy to a flash drive, knowing its size is as little as possible as mentioned on our article “Why Zip a File“. With that in mind, let’s get into the steps to ZIP a file on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
What to do before you create a ZIP file?
Creating a ZIP file is not a hard task, anyone can do it with the help of the integrated operating system features or a third-party ZIP software. However, there are certain things to keep in mind before you create a ZIP file –
- Firstly, bring all the files you want to be included in the ZIP file in exactly the same structure, including folders, files, and everything. Because that’s how your ZIP file would look when unzipped.
- Rename the files to something that will make sense to anyone who will use the ZIP file. You may not remember which folder is what when you re-open the ZIP at a later time.
- Do not include any sensitive files that you do not want to be included in the ZIP. Remember that hiding files will not remove them from the files to be zipped.
- Add a README file if necessary. Especially if the ZIP file is a complex structure of folders and files that you want to re-use at a later time.
- If you want to secure the ZIP archive, make sure to add a password. No one without the password will be able to unzip the file.
Steps to make a ZIP file on Windows
Windows has a default way of creating a ZIP file. We’re using Windows 10 to demonstrate the process. These are the steps to make a ZIP archive on Windows –
- Pick the folder or file you want to convert into a ZIP archive.
- Right-click on it.
- Find the option Send to and hover over it.
- When it expands, click on the Compressed (zipped) folder option.
- Give it a moment to process if there were multiple files.
- The ZIP archive will appear in the same location as the original folder/file/files and have the same name.
To ZIP multiple files on Windows
- You can press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select multiple files.
- Go through the process above. The archive will have the name of the file you right-clicked on but contain all of the files you selected.
Creating a password protected ZIP file
You will have to turn to third-party options, paid or free. We’ll demonstrate the process with 7-Zip. but you can use free programs such as IZArc, PeaZip, StuffIt, or paid programs such as WinZIP.
- Head on over to the 7-Zip Download page.
- Click on Download in front of 7-Zip for 64-bit Windows x64.
- Install the program like any other, then run it.
- Within the 7-Zip interface, change location in the top left corner to the location of your file(s) or folder(s).You can do so by clicking on the green arrow to go back or copy-pasting the location from Windows Explorer. Alternatively, you can also drag-and-drop the file or folder to the 7-Zip window.
- Click on Add in the top left corner.
- In the pop-up window titled Add to Archive, do this:
- Change the name of the archive if you want.
- Make sure the Archive format is zip.
- On the right side of the window, type the desired password under Enter password, then again under Reenter password.Optional. You can click on Show password to make sure you didn’t make a typo.
- Click on OK.
- Verify that the ZIP archive is created and asks for a password upon opening.
Steps to create a ZIP file on macOS
Creating a ZIP archive is even simpler on macOS. It uses a built-in utility named Archive Utility.
- Create a folder or choose a file.
- Right-click on it. If your Mac has a Trackpad, press Control + Tap.
- From the menu, click on Compress “File Name”. File Name will be replaced by the name of your folder or file in the menu.
- A new ZIP archive will appear in the same location.
Placing multiple files into one ZIP archive on macOS
- To select multiple files, do one of the following:
- Hold down the left mouse button or tap and hold on the trackpad, then draw a box around the files.
- Hold down the Command button while tapping on Trackpad, or left-clicking with a mouse on specific files.
- Once selected, follow steps #2 through #4 above.
- The ZIP file will appear in the same location.
- If you don’t like the name of the archive, you can right-click again or press Control + Tap, then select Rename.
Creating a password-protected ZIP archive on Mac
Without Terminal, you would have to use third-party software, like on Windows. While that is an option, we don’t think anyone will have problems if they follow these steps.
- Create a folder on your desktop.
If you want to ZIP multiple files, place them within one folder.
- Press Command + Spacebar on your keyboard.
- In Spotlight, type Terminal and double-click on the search result.
- When Terminal opens, type this: zip -er ZIPArchiveFileName.zip
- Add space by pressing Spacebar.
- Drag and drop the folder from the desktop into the terminal. Its location will be written automatically.
- Press Enter or Return.
- It will now ask you to Enter password, then Verify password.
- Enter it twice. Both times, you will see no visual indication that you are typing. This is to prevent outsiders from looking in.
- Press Return or Enter.
- The file should be in the same location as the folder.
Optional. you can open Finder. Click on Recent or Recents.
How to generate a ZIP file or folder on Linux
There are two ways to zip a file or folder on Linux. Although there exists a similar command, tar, we recommend installing a third-party utility, zip, to make things easier.
- Open Command Line/Terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T on your keyboard.
- Enter sudo apt install zip unzip.
- You might have to re-enter your admin password to proceed.
Instructions to ZIP a file in Linux with GUI
- Open File Manager.
- Right-click on the file or folder you want to ZIP.
- Choose Compress on the menu.
- Choose the name of the archive.
- Make sure the box in front of .zip is ticked.
Creating a ZIP archive in Terminal without a password
Place the files in the same location. To navigate to the location, do this.
- Open Terminal.
- For example, type: cd Documents/Downloads/Explanation. The Home/UserName/ folder is already accounted for, so type the rest leading to the folder your files/other folders are in.
Now you can proceed with creating a ZIP archive. You can use the names of files and folders in the same command.
Type: zip -r archive-name.zip name-of-file1 name-of-folder1
This is for demonstration purposes, but you don’t have to add .zip at the end. However, based on file type, you have to add the extensions such as .txt, .doc, .exe, etc. A better alternative is to place all of the files into a folder and execute a short command.
Adding a password to the ZIP archive in Linux
- Type: zip -e archive-name name-of-file1 name-of-folder1
- You will be asked to Enter password, then to Verify password.
Things to do after creating the ZIP file
Once you create the ZIP file, you have to verify that everything went smoothly and there were no errors during the process. There are more things to do –
- Make sure that all the files and folders are present in the ZIP archive.
- Close the program and try to open the ZIP file by double-clicking it. If the ZIP is corrupted, the program will show you a warning.
- You may want to make a copy of the ZIP file that has been created and store it somewhere else as a backup.