What is a ZIP file and how do I open one?

A ZIP file is a type of compressed folder. File compression makes files and folders smaller by finding patterns in the way the files are stored, and removing those patterns. On most modern operating systems, ZIPs are easily accessible by simply double-clicking them as you would any other file or folder.

On Windows, double-clicking a ZIP will generally open a new window as if you had opened a folder. You can extract the files by clicking Extract All in the Windows Explorer menu, or by dragging the files somewhere outside of the ZIP, such as your desktop.

On MacOS, double-clicking a ZIP file will generally extract the files automatically into a folder in the same location as the ZIP. The files are then usable from this new folder right away.

Published by

Zach Wingrave

Zach Wingrave

Community Support Officer at CS in Schools.