WinZip Tutorial

There is another way to create a new zip file that is pretty easy. To do this, open Windows Explorer and find a file you wish to zip. Then using your mouse, right click on it. A menu similar to the one below will pop up.

You can then choose the option to "Add to" This will create a zip file with the same name of the file you selected and put it in the same directory. If you select multiple files and then right click you will get an option to "Add to zip" this way will not automatically name the file. You must name it, but you can also choose what folder it is going into if you wish.

The amount of compression is going to depend on the file type. For example if you try to compress a text document, or Word document you are most likely going to see great results. However if you try to compress image files like .jpg's and .gif's you will not hardly see any decrease in size. This is because these formats are already compressed when they are created. The shot below is an example of a file I compressed, which was a texted bassed file. Notice that the size difference is about 1/5 that of the original after compression.

All right, now we have created new zip files, the next thing would be to add a file to an existing zip file. This is very similar to the process we just completed. The most common way of doing this will be to open the exiting file by either double clicking on it in Windows Explorer, or by clicking on it within your e-mail program if you had it sent to you.

Once you have it open, click on the "Add" button in the center of the window.

The add dialog box will come up and you can follow the same procedure we outlined earlier. There is another way to easily add a file to an existing zip file, and you don't even have to open the zip file. It is called "Drag and Drop". Most of us are familiar with this from other Windows operations. To accomplish this, just select the file you want using windows explorer and then drag it over and drop it on the zip file. WinZip will start up, add the file, and then close again. All done!

Now it is time to get the files out of a zip file, or do what is called "extracting" them or "Unzipping" a file. This is really a very easy process. All you need to do is, open the zip file and then click on the Extract button near the top center of the program window.

Once you do this a window similar to the one below will appear.

You now need to choose the directory you wish to put the file in. Do this by using the window on the right hand side of this image. Once you have your target directory selected you need to check a couple other things.

On the lower left you will see 3 options. They are:
Overwrite existing files.
Skip older files.
Use folder names.

These are all important. I suggest leaving the Overwrite existing files option off. This way you are prompted with a window if a file of the same name exists. This is a safety so you can compare the files you are extracting while it happens.

I also leave the Skip older files option off because sometimes you may wish to use the older file. You can make that decision during the operation if you follow my above suggestion.

The Use folder names option was mentioned before during the add portion. If you leave this option selected, and the person has added files with the path from his computer, you will have all those folders created on your hard drive. Some times this is necessary, but it should be a concious decision.

Now you can extract the file and use it as needed.

This completes the basic operations accomplished with WinZip. There are other things that can be done, like making files "self extracting" so you can share a zip file with people who don't own WinZip. If I get enough demand I will expand this tutorial to cover the more advanced options.

By: Richard Hamilton

Return to the main Tutorial Center page.

This page updated on 08/10/02.