How to Put Things in a ZIP File

By Matthew Schieltz

A ZIP file allows you to shrink or compress the size of files and folders which otherwise take up more space on your hard drive than you would like. ZIP files are useful for transferring data to removable media such as flash drives, emailing large files to others or simply storing large data files on your computer. Both Windows and Mac operating systems contain built-in systems that allow you to create ZIP files in a just a few steps. In addition, both systems place a small zipper image on files which are compressed and zipped.

Zipping Files Automatically (Windows XP, Vista, 7 and Mac OS)

Step 1

Identify the files and items you want to place in a ZIP file. Open the particular directory or folder in which the files are located on your computer.

Step 2

Select the item(s). Click once on each file to highlight and select it. Press and hold the "Ctrl" button on your keyboard if selecting multiple items. In the case of Mac operating systems, press and hold the "Shift" keyboard button to select multiple items.

Step 3

Right-click one of the highlighted files to view the pop-up menu. Slide your mouse down to the "Send to" menu and click the "compressed" or "zipped" folder option. Clicking this option automatically transfers the file(s) you selected to a ZIP file.In a Mac OS, press the "Control" button and click once on the selected file(s) to view the pop-up menu. Click the "Create archive" option to create the ZIP file.

Step 4

Rename the ZIP file to an appropriate file name. If using Windows XP, right-click on the ZIP file to view the pop-up menu. Select the "rename" option at the bottom of the menu. Type the desired name and press "Enter." For Windows 7 and Vista, simply type the desired name after zipping the files as the ZIP folder's name will already be selected; press "Enter" when finished typing.In Mac systems, click once on the ZIP file to highlight and select it. Press the "Return" key to highlight the folder name. Type the desired name you want and press "Return" again.

Manually Transferring ZIP Folder Items (Windows XP, Vista and 7)

Step 1

Create a ZIP file on your desktop. Right-click anywhere on the desktop background and click "New." Click the "compressed" or "zipped" folder option within this menu. Rename the ZIP folder, if desired.

Step 2

Find the files you want to place in the ZIP folder. Open each directory or folder in which the files are located. Click the "Restore down" button in each of the folders or directories you have open so that you can view both the ZIP file you created on the desktop and the window for the directory or folder.

Step 3

Transfer the files to the ZIP file. Click once on each file you want to transfer to select and highlight it. Highlight multiple files by holding down the "Ctrl" button on the keyboard and clicking once with your mouse on each file you want to select. Click and drag with your mouse the selected files over top of the zip file on your desktop. Release the mouse button.

Tips & Warnings

  • Open the ZIP file after you've transferred the files to double-check that all the files that you transferred are there.