How to Open Compressed Zipped Files

By Justin H. Pot

Spend some time on the Internet and you'll run into more than a few compressed, zipped files---or ZIP files, as they're properly known. These files represent one kind of an archive file, a type of file useful primarily for two reasons: compression and combination. Compressing a file makes it smaller, which means faster uploading to and downloading from the Internet. And because several hundred files can become a single file when combined in a ZIP file, the process also makes distributing files online more convenient. Opening ZIP files is easy on all major operating systems.

Step 1

Open your computer's file manager and browse to the ZIP file you want to open.

Step 2

Double click the ZIP file to open it. Windows-, Mac-, and Linux-based systems can all open ZIP files natively, without third-party software. Double-clicking on the ZIP file will display the files inside the compressed archive on all three systems; if there are folders in the archive, you will be able to browse them as well.

Step 3

Extract the files from the archive. You can simply drag the files you want from the window (true for Mac, Windows and Linux), or click the "Extract all" button on all three systems to extract the files.