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The WinZip Quick Start Guide

This Guide is intended for WinZip 18.0 and later. If you have a previous version, please go to this page.

This Guide introduces some file compression terms, describes some of the initial steps in installing WinZip®, and provides a first look at using some WinZip features. For additional information, see the tutorial and the WinZip Knowledge Base.

What is a Zip File or Archive?

Zip files (.zip or .zipx) are "WinZip files" (also sometimes referred to as "archives" in the help and in WinZip) used for storing and distributing files, and can contain one or more files. Usually the files "archived" in a Zip file are compressed to save space. Zip files are often used to:

  • Distribute files on the Internet: Only one Zip file transfer operation (download) is required to obtain all related files, and file transfer is quicker because the archived files are compressed.
  • Send a group of related files to an associate: When you distribute the collection of files as an archive, you benefit from the file grouping and compression as well.
  • Save disk space: If you have large files that are important but seldom used, such as large data files, simply compress these files into an archive and then unzip (or "extract") them only when needed.

 

What Does WinZip Do?

WinZip makes it easy for Windows users to work with Zip files. WinZip features an intuitive point-and-click drag-and-drop interface for viewing, running, extracting, adding, and deleting files in archives with a standard Windows interface.

Using the WinZip Ribbon

Here is a brief introduction to some of the features of the WinZip Ribbon interface.

Quick Unzipping with the WinZip Ribbon

  1. If you do not already have an open WinZip file in the main WinZip window, click the File menu at the top of the window (the leftmost tab) and select Open (from PC/Cloud); this will open the file browser window allowing you to select the Zip file that you wish to unzip.
  2. Once you have selected your Zip file, click the Open button. The Zip file will now open in WinZip and you can see its contents in the main WinZip window.
  3. In the WinZip window, click the 1-click Unzip button in the Unzip/Share tab. The contents of the Zip file will be unzipped into the location specified by the Folder name and Location fields to the left of the Unzip button.
  4. You can also share directly from the Unzip/Share tab by clicking Email, Social Media, or Instant Messaging. For email, you can choose whether to share your file as an attachment or via the cloud by clicking the lower portion of the Email button. For social media and instant messaging, write a message to accompany your post and select the social media or IM service or services you want to use.

That's it! You have extracted or shared the contents of the archive to the chosen folder. If extracted, you can now work with the extracted files, select another activity within WinZip, or close the WinZip window.

Note: You can also extract files from an archive in the main WinZip window by dragging them to the desktop or to the desired folder in the Windows File Explorer.

Quick Zipping with the WinZip Ribbon

  1. Open the Create/Share tab. If the Create/Share tab is not displayed, open the File menu (the leftmost tab) and click New Zip File; this will put WinZip into its create mode.
  2. If desired, set your preferences for encryption and for converting files as they are added to your Zip file. File conversions include reducing the size of photos, converting documents and images to PDF, and watermarking images and PDF files. Note: To set your encryption level, open the Settings tab, click Conversion Settings, and choose Encryption from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click From PC or Cloud from the Create/Share tab. The Add window will appear.
  4. In the Add window, select the files and/or folders that you want to add to your new Zip file and click Add.
  5. If the Add Complete window opens, you can review the information and click OK to close the window.
  6. Click To PC or Cloud in the Create/Share tab to save your newly created Zip file. You will be able to specify the location where you want to save the Zip file and type the name you want to use for your new Zip file.
  7. You can also share directly from the Create/Share tab by clicking Email, Social Media, or Instant Messaging. For email, you can choose whether to share your file as an attachment or via the cloud by clicking the lower portion of the Email button. For social media and instant messaging, write a message to accompany your post and select the social media or IM service or services you want to use.

That's it!  You have created a new Zip file! You can now examine the contents of your new Zip file, select another activity within WinZip, or close the WinZip window.

Note: You can also add files to a Zip file by dragging the files from My Computer or the Windows File Explorer and dropping them on the WinZip window.

Using the WinZip Legacy Toolbar

Here is a brief introduction to some of the features of the WinZip Legacy Toolbar interface.

Quick Unzipping with the WinZip Legacy Toolbar

  1. In the WinZip window, click the Open toolbar button or choose Open Archive from the File menu. The Open Archive dialog will appear.
  2. In the Open Archive dialog, locate the archive you want to unzip, then click Open. The contents of the archive will be displayed in the WinZip window.
  3. To extract files from the archive, click the Extract toolbar button or choose Extract from the Actions menu. The Extract dialog will appear.
  4. In the box labeled Extract to, choose the folder where you want to place the extracted files and click Extract.

That's it!  You have extracted the contents of the archive to the chosen folder. You can now work with the extracted files, select another activity within WinZip, or close the WinZip window.

Note: You can also extract files from an archive in the WinZip window by dragging them to the desktop or to the desired folder in the Windows File Explorer.

Quick Zipping with the WinZip Legacy Toolbar

  1. In the WinZip window, click the New toolbar button or choose New Archive from the File menu.
  2. On the What Type of Zip file do you want to create? window, select Zip(x). A new, empty Zip file that is temporarily named NewZip.zip or NewZip.zipx is created and then opened in WinZip.
  3. Click the Add button on the toolbar to add files to your new Zip file.
  4. In the Add dialog, select the files that you want to add to your new Zip file and click Zip.
  5. Click OK on the Add Complete window if it appears.
  6. Finally, save your new Zip file by selecting Save on the File menu.
  7. In the Save window, specify the location where you want to save the Zip file, type the name you want to use for your new Zip file, and then click Save.

That's it!  You have created a new Zip file. You can now examine the contents of your new Zip file, select another activity within WinZip, or close the WinZip window.

Note: You can also add files to a Zip file by dragging the files from My Computer or the Windows File Explorer and dropping them onto the WinZip window.

WinZip Tips

  • You can view the contents of most documents (such as Microsoft Word documents and Excel spreadsheets) in an archive by just double-clicking them in the main WinZip window.
  • You can extract files from an archive in the main WinZip window by dragging them to the desired folder in the Windows File Explorer or to the desktop.
  • Using WinZip's Help tab or menu, you can:
    • work with the Brief Tutorial to get acquainted with more of WinZip's features
    • view collections of Hints and Tips
    • find answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Zip and Unzip Files without Leaving Windows Explorer

Using WinZip's tight integration with the Windows File Explorer, you can access most of WinZip's functionality directly from My Computer, the Windows File Explorer, or the desktop. Here is how to zip and unzip files directly from the Windows File Explorer; be sure to see the WinZip help for more things you can do, including Zip and E-Mail.

To create an archive: select the file or files you want to zip in the Windows File Explorer, right click the selection, choose WinZip, and then click Add to Zip file from the submenu that appears.

To extract files from an archive: select the archive in Windows Explorer, and either:

  • right click and choose Unzip to from the WinZip menu, or
  • right click and drag the archive onto the folder where you want it extracted, and then choose an unzip option from the WinZip menu.

Contacting Technical Support

The best way to ask questions or report problems is to send a message to the e-mail address shown on the WinZip web site's contact page.