What are Zip files?
Zip files are single files, sometimes
called "archives", that contain one or more compressed files. Zip files
make it easy to keep related files together and make transporting,
e-mailing, downloading and storing data and software faster and more
efficient. The Zip format is the most popular compression format used in
the Windows environment, and WinZip is the most popular compression
Why do people use Zip
Zip files compress
data and therefore save time and space and make downloading software and
transferring e-mail attachments faster. Typical uses for Zip files
- Distributing files on the
Internet: Only one download is required to obtain all related files,
and file transfer is quicker because the archived files are
- Sending a group of related files
to an associate: When you distribute a collection of files as a
single Zip file, you benefit from the file grouping as well as
- Saving disk space: If you have
large files that are important but seldom used, such as large data
files, simply compress the files into a Zip file and then unzip (or
"extract") them only when needed.
Where does WinZip fit in?
To store files in a
Zip file, or to access the files in a Zip file, you need a compression
utility such as WinZip. WinZip makes it easy for Windows users to work
with archives. WinZip features a standard Windows point-and-click
drag-and-drop interface for viewing, running, extracting, adding,
deleting, and testing files in Zip files. Occasional and first-time
users can choose to use the intuitive WinZip Wizard.
How do I open a Zip file?
After you have
installed WinZip, you can open a Zip file by double clicking it
and choosing "Unzip or install from an existing Zip file" in the WinZip
Wizard. (If the WinZip Wizard does not open by default when you start
WinZip, just click the Wizard button in the toolbar). The WinZip Wizard
will guide you through the process of unzipping your file.
How do I create a Zip
To create a new Zip
file, open WinZip in the WinZip Wizard mode. (If the WinZip Wizard does
not open by default, just click the Wizard button in the toolbar.) You
will be asked "What do you want to do?" Simply select "Create a new Zip
file" and click Next. The WinZip Wizard will guide you through the
When you become more
familiar with Zip file operations, you can also try the WinZip Classic
interface. The Classic interface offers many advanced features that are
not available in the WinZip Wizard. Using the Classic interface, you can
split large Zip files into smaller parts to overcome e-mail and other
size limits; view, extract, and run individual files in a Zip file;
remove files from an existing Zip file; encrypt your confidential files
so that they can't be used without a password; and much more. To try the
Classic interface, simply click the WinZip Classic button in the WinZip
Wizard. Extensive program help is available for every aspect of WinZip
Does WinZip Offers Tight Integration
WinZip is tightly
integrated with Windows and makes comprehensive use of Windows' drag and
drop, desktop, and context menu features. Many WinZip users find that
they can accomplish most of their common zip-related tasks without ever
opening a WinZip window.
Here are some of the
things you can do using drag and drop:
- Compress files and folders by
dragging them to a Zip file. It doesn't matter where the Zip file
is: it could be open in a WinZip window; it could be listed in an
Explorer window; it could be an icon on the desktop; it could even
be showing in the Open File listing of an application. It doesn't
matter where the files and folders you want to add are, either. If
you can see the Zip file and what you want to add to it, just drag
and drop, and WinZip does the rest.
- Add files to the archive of your
choice by dragging them to the WinZip desktop icon.
- Extract files from a Zip file by
dragging them from a WinZip window to the folder of your choice.
- Extract all of the files from a
Zip file by dragging it with the right mouse button to a folder or
- Open or view files in a Zip file
by dragging them from the WinZip window to the appropriate
application icon or window.
- Print files from a Zip file by
dragging them to a printer or printer icon.
And you can perform
the most-needed Zip operations using Explorer context menus, too; just
select the items of interest (files, folders, or Zip files), right
- Add the items to a Zip file. You
can choose an automatically named Zip file, a Zip file of your own
choosing (including new ones), or you can pick from a list of
recently used Zip files.
- Zip and E-Mail the selected items.
If the selected item
is a Zip file, you can:
- Extract files. You can extract to
the current folder, an automatically named subfolder, any of a list
of recently used folders, or any folder of your choice. You can even
extract from multiple Zip files in one operation by selecting them
all before right-clicking.
- Print a listing of the files
contained in the Zip file.
- Convert the Zip file to a
self-extracting Zip file.
- Encrypt the Zip file using either
AES encryption or standard Zip 2.0 encryption.
WinZip Wizard Interface
The WinZip Wizard is ideal for first-time
and casual WinZip users. When you gain confidence or want to use more
advanced zipping features, the more powerful WinZip Classic interface is
just a mouse click away.
A Wizard is a series
of panels or pages that help you through a task. The Wizard look and
feel is standardized, and is used throughout Windows and in many
applications. Wizards are especially useful for complex or infrequently
The WinZip Wizard
automates the most common tasks involving Zip files. Using the Wizard,
- Quickly access Zip files you've
downloaded: no need to use Windows Explorer to hunt for downloaded
files. The Wizard lists the Zip files in your "Favorite Zip Folders"
by date, with the most recent files first, so you can quickly access
the files you most recently downloaded. A search feature will find
any Zip files "lost" on your hard drive.
- Automatically install of software,
desktop themes, and screen savers distributed in Zip files: if a Zip
file contains a "setup" or "install" program, a desktop theme, or a
screen saver, the Wizard will unzip the files, run the installation
program (if appropriate), and clean up temporary files.
- Easily zip, and unzip: just check
the option for the action you want to perform, and the Wizard leads
you through the process, step by step.
- Decode MIME files (such as AOL
e-mail attachments) quickly and easily.
- Extract files from split or
multiple disk ("spanned") Zip files.
- Run pre-defined WinZip Job Files,
or custom Job Files, that are provided to you from a trusted source.
WinZip Wizard vs. WinZip
Both the WinZip
Classic and Wizard interfaces are included in all versions of WinZip.
One click switches from the Wizard to the Classic interface and vice
How to use the WinZip Companion for
Outlook to compress attachments?
- The WinZip Wizard interface is
ideal if you want to know as little about Zip files as possible and
just get started with the files you've downloaded. The Wizard lets
you click the "Next" button a few times, and presto, your files are
zipped, unzipped, or installed. When you want to use more advanced
zipping features, you can easily switch to the Classic interface.
- The award-winning WinZip Classic
interface, featuring tight integration with the Windows shell and
versatile drag-and-drop facilities, is great if you are comfortable
using Windows and Windows Explorer or if you want to use advanced
If you are using
Outlook 2000, Outlook 2002 or Outlook 2003 (but not Outlook Express),
the WinZip Companion for Outlook provides an easy way to compress
attachments while you are composing or sending messages in Outlook. The
- compress attachments individually
as you insert them
- ask you whether or not you want
them zipped, or
- compress all attachments into one
Zip file, automatically, when you send your e-mail.
The Companion makes it
easy to zip your e-mail attachments, saving transmission time and disk
space for both the sender and receiver. And, if your attachments are
sensitive, you can easily protect them with advanced AES encryption.
How to compress and attach
files or folders from My Computer or Windows Explorer
To compress files or
folders and attach them to a new e-mail message from My Computer or
Windows Explorer, simply right-click on the files or folders and choose
Zip and E-Mail from the context menu. WinZip will compress the
selected items to a temporary Zip file, create a new e-mail message, and
attach the Zip file to it. You can then address and mail the message as
you normally would. WinZip will automatically delete the temporary Zip
file when it is no longer needed.
WinZip gives you easier access to
your most important file locations in many WinZip Classic dialogs. Key
dialogs such as New Archive, Open Archive, Add, and Extract contain
"places bars" when running under Windows versions that support them. The
places bar provides quick access to your top-level locations, usually My
Computer, My Network (or Network Places), My Documents, Recent Documents
(or History), and the Desktop.
WinZip makes it easier
than ever for you to find the WinZip information you need by presenting
help information using the newer Microsoft "HTML Help" facility. HTML
Help has a more attractive appearance and includes many usability
Miscellaneous Product Information
Shared Computer Support
- WinZip can open "skin" files for
Microsoft Media Player 7 (.WMZ), Yahoo! Player (.YFS), and WinAmp
(.WSZ). Once open, you can use most of the operations available with
any Zip file.
- WinZip can display Zip file
comments of up to 64,000 characters if your system provides the
necessary "rich edit" control.
- Support for filenames containing
multi-byte character set (MBCS) characters used with Asian languages
such as Japanese, Chinese, and Korean has been improved.
- The limit on the number of entries
created by the CheckOut feature in the Programs menu has been
increased from 50 to 500.
- WinZip removes from the list of
recently used files any files that no longer exist and were opened
from the temporary or Internet files folders. This means that, for
example, Zip files opened from your e-mail program no longer appear
in your recently used file list after they have been deleted by the
- Additional miscellaneous
improvements to the WinZip program and help files.
What is a WinZip Self-Extracting Zip
- With Fast User Switching, another
user can log on and perform other operations (including using
WinZip) while a long WinZip operation is being performed.
- WinZip's Favorite Zip Folders
feature now monitors more folders, including Windows XP's "Shared
Documents" folder and its subfolders, making it easier to find Zip
files created or stored by other users.
A self-extracting Zip
file is an executable file (.exe) that contains a Zip file and a small
program to extract (unzip) the contents of the Zip file. Users can run
(execute) a self-extracting Zip file just as they run any other program:
just double click on the .exe file.
What are the Advantages to
Self-Extracting Zip Files?
How to compress attachments while
- Self-extracting Zip files are
ideal for electronic file distribution because they:
- Optionally run a "setup" or
"installation" program, which may be included by the developer
when the files are decompressed.
- Provide easy distribution of
one or more compressed files.
- Can contain multiple
compressed files, minimizing download time and ensuring that
important files do not become separated from the rest of the
- Allow the receiver to use a
familiar Windows interface to extract (unzip) files, without
owning or knowing how to use a separate unzip utility, making
them ideal for inexperienced users.
- Any folder information in the Zip
file is automatically restored, including empty folders.
- You can create self-extracting Zip
files that both unzip and overwrite automatically.
- Self-extracting Zip files are 100%
compatible with the Zip 2.0 standard.
- When a self-extracting Zip file
created by WinZip Self-Extractor is run, a dialog box is displayed.
This dialog box makes it easy for the user to change the "Unzip To"
folder and other options before extracting the files.
You can use the
technique described here to compress attachments while composing
messages using Outlook, Eudora, Netscape Mail, and other programs that
allow you to attach files using the standard Windows "File Open" dialog
box. This technique does not require a MAPI-compatible e-mail
- Open the dialog box you normally
use to attach files:
- In Outlook: choose File
from the Insert menu.
- In Eudora: choose Attach
File from the Message menu.
- In Netscape: choose Attach
and then File from the File menu.
- In AOL: click the
Attachments, then the Attach buttons.
- Using the standard Open File
dialog box, locate the file you wish to attach.
- Position the mouse pointer over
the filename in the dialog box, then click the right mouse
button and choose Add to filename.zip from the context
menu (note: the filename shown in the menu entry will be the
same name as the file you selected). This will create a new Zip file
with the same name as the file you selected; for example, it would
create Budget01.zip from Budget01.xls.
- Click once on the name of the new
Zip file to select it. This file will normally be at the end of the
current directory listing.
- Click the Open or Insert
button to attach the Zip file. You can delete the Zip file after
Note: this technique
has been tested with Outlook 97, Outlook 98, Outlook 2000, Outlook 2002,
Outlook 2003 and Outlook Express; Eudora 3.0, Eudora 4.0 and Eudora 5.0;
the mail program in AOL 4.0, AOL 5.0, AOL 6.0, AOL 7.0, AOL 8.0, and AOL
9.0; and the Netscape 4.0 mail client.
Why don't some files compress very
Some types of files compress
better than others.For example, various multimedia files are already
highly compressed because the standards for these file types specify
efficient techniques to compress the data they contain. Examples include
files in the graphics (picture) file formats GIF and JPG, MP3 music
files, and MPG movie files. Once a file has been compressed, it
typically can't be compressed again to any significant extent.
Therefore, such files don't get very much smaller when they are added to
a Zip file.
You would see similar
results if you compressed some files into a Zip file using maximum
compression, and then compressed that Zip file into another Zip file.
The second archive would not be appreciably smaller than the first one
(it might even be a little bigger). This is because the data in the
original Zip file is already compressed and can't be compressed again.
There are other file
types that don't compress well. For example, certain types of encrypted
data files such as those maintained by home finance programs and some
database products can't be compressed very much.
By contrast, some
types of data (such as text files and picture files in the BMP format
that the Microsoft Paint program uses) can often be compressed by 90% or
more; some types (such as program files) are often compressed by 50% or
so. But if you see files that can't be significantly compressed, it's
probably because they already contain compressed data or they are
WinZip Command Line
Command Line Support Add-On provides a command line
interface that gives you the power of WinZip without the
usual WinZip graphical user interface. It allows you to use
WinZip directly from the command prompt and from batch
(.BAT) files and script languages, making it ideal for
automating repetitive tasks. An extensive set of command
line options gives you pinpoint control over WinZip's
actions. And, in automated environments, end-users need not
know anything about how to use WinZip.
version of the WinZip Command Line Support Add-On offers new
PPMd and bzip2 compression methods in the Zip file format.
These compression methods provide greater compression for
many types of files and reduces the size of your Zip files,
saving you data transmission time and valuable disk space.
WinZip Command Line Support Add-On 2.0 also supports Windows
XP SP2's Attachment Management security feature which adds a
security zone to files. New options allow you to extract
files from a Zip file with or without security zone