How to Zip Files in Windows

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Windows 10

Have you ever wanted to send a group of items through email, but didn't want to send each item separately? "Zipping" in Windows 7, 8/8.1, and 10 is a way to combine and compress files, essentially turning them into one big file. The zipped version will be smaller in total size than if you had sent them separately. It's also a much easier way for a recipient to receive files since they only have to download one item. Just remember to include a well written message with your zipped attachment that explains why you are emailing these items. if you don't your more security conscious contacts might be wary of opening the zipped attachment for fear of downloading a malicious file.

Updated by Ian Paul.

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Navigate to Your Files

Find the files you want to zip. (You can click on any image in this tutorial to get a larger version).

 Zipping isn't hard in Windows, but it's not immediately obvious how to do it either.

First, find the files you want to zip. For this example, I navigated to the folder that contains the images and content for a previous step-by-step tutorial on using the Windows Firewall. As you can see here, there are a number of different graphics, and a copy of the story. Let's say I want to zip all this together in order to send it to my About.com editor.

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Select Files to Zip

You can select some or all of the files in a folder to zip.

Before you can zip anything you have to select the files you want to compress. If you want to zip all the files in a location, you can use the keyboard command Ctrl+A (hold down the Ctrl key and the A button simultaneously). The other option is to use a "marquee", which means holding down the left mouse button and dragging the mouse over all the objects you want to select. The items you've selected will have a light-blue box around them, as seen here.

As if that wasn't enough, there is another method for selecting a set of files as long as all the files you want to select are sitting right next to each other. If that's the case, select the first file, hold down the Shift button on your keyboard, hover over the last item you want to include, click on it, and release the Shift button. This will automatically select every file sitting between the two items that you clicked. Once again, all your selected items will be highlighted with a light-blue box.

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'Send to Zip'

A series of pop-up menus gets you to the "zip" option.

Once your files are selected, right-click on any of them.That will bring up a menu of options. Scroll down to the "Send to" item. Another menu will automatically pop up. Left-click on the "Compressed (zipped) folder" item, which is outlined in red here.

If you're sending all the files in a particular folder another option is to just select the entire folder. If the folder was Documents > Email items >Stuff to send, for example, you'd navigate to the Email items folder, right-click the Stuff to send folder and select Send to >  Compressed (zipped) folder

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Name the New Zip File

You can keep the default name Windows 7 adds, or pick one of your own that's more descriptive.

Once you zip the files, a new folder appears next to the original collection with a big zipper on it, indicating that it's been zipped. It will automatically use the file the name of the last file you zipped--or the name of the folder if you zipped at the folder level. You can leave the name with the default, or change it if you like.

In the case here, the file was originally named "settings," since it was the last one in the folder. I didn't like that name, so I left-clicked on the name, which highlighted it. I then changed it to "ZipFiles."

Now the file is ready to send to someone else, back up on another hard drive, or stash in your favorite cloud storage service. One of the best uses of zipping files is to compress big graphics to send through email, upload to a website, and so on. It's a very handy feature in Windows, and one you should get to know.