How to Zip and Unzip Files and Folders in Windows and Mac

This step-by-step guide will educate you on how to Zip and Unzip Files and Folders in Windows and Mac with stepwise screenshots:

We often come across zip files regardless of whether we are working on Windows or Mac. They come in handy when trying to send heavy files across or many files quickly. They come in extremely handy, but you should know how to zip and unzip files and folders on Windows10 and Mac.

That’s what, we will take you through in this article. Here, we will tell you a few easy ways on how to unzip files and zip them.

How to ZIP a File

With zip, you can group or archive many files and make them act like one file. Let’s say, you have to mail multiple docs and image files to someone, then you will have to attach each file individually and it will take a really long time.

How to Zip and Unzip Files and Folders in Windows and Mac

A better option would be to club it all together in a zip file and attach that one zip file real quick to the mail. Another characteristic of a zip file is that it is compressed.

This means that the files will be smaller, so it will be easier to attach heavier files to the email and send them across. When you are posting them on the web, they can be uploaded quickly.

How to ZIP a Folder on Windows 10

  1. Select the files you want to zip.
  2. Right-click on the file
  3. Select Send to from the menu
  4. Click on the Compressed (zipped) folder option
  5. Rename the zip file
  6. Drag and drop files in the zipped folder to add more files to it.

Compressed ZIP Folder

Encrypting the Zip File

  1. Right-click on the zip file
  2. Select Properties
  3. Click on Advanced
  4. Select Encrypt contents to secure data
  5. Select Ok
  6. Exit the window
  7. Click on Apply
  8. Select OK

encrypt contents

Or, you can use WinRAR to encrypt the zip file.

  • Open the zip file with WinRAR.
  • Select tools
  • Click on Convert Archives.

Convert Archives

  • Select Compression on the pop-up window.

Select Compression

  • Go to set a password

Set Password

  • Enter the password
  • Re-enter the password for verification
  • Click Ok
  • Click on Yes

Enter password

Suggested Read => Explore How to Open a ZIP File

How to ZIP a Folder on macOS

  1. Select the files you want to zip.
  2. Right-click on the file or hold the Control key and click.
  3. Select Compress from the menu.
  4. All files will be sent to a compressed file with the default name
  5. Rename the file.

Compress 7 items

[image source]

In Windows, you can add more files to the zip file you created but not in macOS. Here, you will have to create a new one.

Encrypting the Zip File

macOS also allows you to create encrypted zip files by using the Terminal.

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Type cd desktop
  3. Hit Enter
  4. Type zip -e [name of the zipped file]
  5. Hit Enter
  6. Enter a password
  7. Retype your password

encrypting ZIP file in macOS

[image source]

You can also use Archiver to password protect your zip file.

  1. Open Archiver
  2. Drag and drop the files you want to zip.
  3. Select Encrypt
  4. Enter your password and verify it.
  5. Click on Archive


How to Unzip a File

How to Unzip Files on Windows 10

Windows makes it easy to work with ZIP files and so you don’t need to unzip them.

  1. Double-click on the zip file
  2. You will see a list of files, just double-click on the one you need to extract.
  3. If you want to extract all the files, then right-click on the zip file and select the extract all option.
  4. Pick a destination for extraction.
  5. Click Extract All.

Extract All

To extract a single file, you can just drag and drop it out of the zip folder.

How to Unzip Files on macOS

It is a bit different to unzip a file on a Mac when compared to Windows. You can’t open an unzip directly, instead, they are placed in a new folder.

  1. Double-click on the zip file.
  2. A folder will be created with the same name.
  3. Double-click on the folder to open it.
  4. Double-click on any file to open.


  1. Right-click on the file.
  2. Select Open

Open ZIP File on macOS

[image source]

If these methods don’t work, then you can also use other apps like 7-zip, Peazip, and many more for zipping and unzipping the files.

Recommended Read => Learn How to Open RAR Files On Windows & Mac

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) Can Windows 10 zip and unzip files?

Answer: Yes. Windows 10 comes with an inbuilt file compression option that you can use to zip a file or unzip one. To zip a file, select the files, right-click on them, and select Send to. Then click on the compressed format to create a zip file. To unzip a file, right-click on the file and select Extract All.

Q #2) Can you zip an entire folder?

Answer: Yes, you can. On Windows 10, right-click on the file you want to zip, click on Send to and click on the Compressed (zipped) folder. On macOS, right-click on the file and select Compress.

Q #3) Does Mac have a zip program?

Answer: Yes, macOS comes preloaded with a zip program called Archive Utility app, thereby making zipping a file easy, with quick clicks.

Q #4) What is the difference between a folder and a zipped folder?

Answer: A folder is used to organize content and transfer multiple files easily to any location of your choice. Zipped folders work in the same way, except they are compressed and reduce the storage space. They are also very easy to be emailed as attachments.

Q #5) How do I zip files together?

Answer: If you want to zip multiple files together, select all the files and right-click on them. Now, if you are using Windows 10, select Send to, and in the extended menu, select the Compressed (zipped) folder option. If you are on macOS, select compress from the menu. All your files will be zipped into one folder.

Q #6) Do Zip files reduce quality?

Answer: No. You don’t lose quality when you zip a file. Upon extraction, you will find that the files are byte by byte the exact duplicates of the original. You don’t lose fidelity, image quality, or data associated with zipped files.

Q #7) How does zip reduce file size?

Answer: Zip files can send more data at a faster speed by using compression. When files are compressed, they become lighter, which means they take up less space and can be sent across quickly. Also, the amount of data your computer uses for processing that file will be reduced considerably.

Q #8) What program is needed to open a zip file?

Answer: Both windows 10 and Mac come with programs that you can use to open a zip file. The compressed (zipped) File is a Windows10 zip file opener. You can either Extract all files or drag and drop the ones you want to open from the zip file to anywhere else.

You can use Archive Utility on Mac. All you have to do is double-click on a file to unzip it. Otherwise, you can go for WinZip, WinRAR, or any other similar third-party apps you find comfortable using.

Q #9) Why can’t I open a zip file?

Answer: One of the reasons for which you can’t open a zip file could be that you don’t have the right programs for opening them.

If your operating system’s default unzip program is not working, then download WinZip, WinRAR, or other third-party apps to unzip the file. If you are still unable to open the files, it could be because they are not properly downloaded. In that case, download it again and then try to open it.

Q #10) How do I make multiple zip files?

Answer: You can create multiple zip files from one zip file using WinZip. Open the zip file you want to split in WinZip and click on the Tools tab. Select the Multi-Part Zip File, name your split zip file and choose a target folder. Click OK to split your zip file into multiple zip files.

Q #11) Are Zip files bad?

Answer: Zip files in themselves are not bad, dangerous, or malicious but people with bad intent can hide harmful content in zip files and that can make them bad. Therefore, make sure that you use antivirus to check for malicious content in the zip files before opening it or extracting the files.

Q #12) Why is my ZIP file still large?

Answer: Certain types of files like data, text, pictures files can be compressed by 90% or more. However, file types like program files can only be compressed by 50% or so. Also, most multi-media are hard to compress as they usually exist in a highly compressed state.

File formats like GIF, JPG, PNG, MP3, WMA, AVI, MPG, etc cannot be significantly compressed. If the files are not significantly compressed, it is because either they already contain compressed data or they are encrypted.


There are many other third-party apps available for zipping and unzipping the files but Windows10 and macOS come with all the necessary functions for doing that.

These programs are easy to use and are efficient. But if you largely work with zip files, you can also rely on a third-party app that is more efficient and suits your needs better. With the ease that comes with working on zip files on Windows and Mac, it makes it easy for everyone to deal with multiple and heavy files.

We hope you enjoyed this informative tutorial.