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Working in the customer service area for MailBigFile as I do, I find myself getting a few calls from time to time from customers on how to zip or unzip files.

Zipping and unzipping (sometimes referred to as compressing or uncompressing) files is an important aspect of everyday computer life and a vital one for a service like ours. Learning how to zip files allows you to not only decrease the total size of a file, but also allows you to send multiple files in one go.

Zipping (compressing) Files:

Macintosh:

Stage 1: First things first, you need to find all the files you want to send and group them together. To start with, select all the files you want to zip up, right click and select “Copy Items”.

Stage 2: From here find a location where you want to place these files (such as the desktop), right click and select option “New Folder”. Inside this new folder, right click again and select “Paste Items”.

Stage 3: Then you just need to right click the newly created folder itself and select “Compress Folder” which should create the desired Zip file.

Pro-tip: If you look back to the picture in stage 1, you’ll see there is also an option to zip the 5 files from there. Doing this will also produce the same effect as in stage 3. There’s no disadvantage to this method, however some may find it easier to group the files together first into a folder before attempting to zip up the files.

Windows:

The procedure for Windows is almost identical with the exception of stage 3. On a windows based machine, you would instead need to right click the folder, hover over “Send to” and then select the option “Compressed (zipped) folder”. This will then create the zipped file in the same location.

Unzipping (decompressing) files:

Zipping files up of course would be pointless if you couldn’t then unzip and retrieve the files again.

Macintosh:

The first step in unzipping a zipped file is simply to double click the file. On a Macintosh, this will automatically extract the contents of the zip file into a new folder, which you can see has happened in the picture below.

Occasionally on some Mac’s, the downloaded zip file will extract itself. This will again have the exact same result as above. There are also other variants of the zip file, such as a .rar file. Sometimes to unzip contents of a .rar file you need to download a specific program called UnRarX. You can find this here.

Windows:

The procedure for unzipping files on a Windows machine is slightly different. You need to instead right click the relevant zip file and select “Extract all…” from the drop down list. Windows will then take you through a short wizard before finally creating a folder with the contents of the zip file precisely in the same way as for the Macintosh version.

As with the Macintosh, occasionally some zipped files won’t extract using the normative Windows unzipper. Instead, you might need to use a third party program to do this for you. A recommended program to unzip files is 7-Zip, which can be found here.