Creating a compressed folder in Windows 7


Other Windows 7 tutorials


I. Why?
II. How?


I. Why?


The compress (zip) folder function in Windows allows you to put one or more electronic files into another type of file called a compressed folder (also known as a compressed file, archive or zip file). This allows you to keep several files together and reduces the size of the group of files.


This is clearly useful for sending files by email (you only have to attach one file, it takes less time to transmit the email, there is less risk of losing information in transmission, and less space is taken up in the receiver’s inbox). A compressed folder can also be useful when making backup copies of files.

II. How?


  1. In the Documents library or Computer in Windows, locate the file(s) you want to add to a compressed folder.

  1. Select the desired file(s):
    1. To select a file, click on it once. It will appear highlighted.
    2. To select a block of files, click on the first file in the list, hold down the Shift key on the keyboard and click on the last file in the list. Both files as well as all the files in between will appear highlighted.
    3. To select several individual files, click on one file, hold down the Ctrl key, and click on the other files one by one to select them. The files will appear highlighted as you click on them.

Screenshot comming soon!


  1. Once all the files are selected, right-click on one of the files.

  1. From the contextual menu that appears, select Send To > Compressed (zipped) Folder.

  1. A file with the same name as the file you added (or one of the files you added) and the extension .zip appears in the list of files in the open directory (wherever it normally would appear in the list according to the sort order of the files). The icon will be a yellow folder with a zipper on it (see screenshot) indicating that it is a compressed folder. (See note 1)

  1. Once the compressed folder has been created, you can:
    1. Rename the file by clicking on the filename once, and then clicking again after a brief pause (or right-clicking on the filename and choose Rename from the contextual menu that appears). When the filename is highlighted, you can modify it.
    2. Copy and send the compressed folder the way you would any other type of file.
    3. Display the content of the compressed folder by double-clicking on it to open it. You will notice that it contains the files you added.

  1. If you would like to modify the files in the compressed folder or use them in a program, you will need to extract the files from the compressed folder. To do this, see the instructions in Extracting files from a compressed folder. (See note 2)



  1. The original files will remain in the list of files in the current directory. The compressed folder contains a copy of the files as they are currently. Modifications to the original files after they have been added to the compressed folder will not be reproduced in the compressed copy. (This is one reason why compressed files are useful as backup copies).
  2. In addition to Windows7, there are various freeware, shareware or low-cost compression/decompression programs (such as WinZip, WinRar and 7-Zip) that allow you to create compressed folders. Normally, any of these will allow you to create and read .zip files (no matter what tool was used to create these files). Certain programs also allow you to create .rar files, another form of compressed file. This type of compression is more efficient (produces smaller folders), but .rar files cannot be opened or decompressed by all types of compression/decompression software. Therefore, it is important to pay attention when choosing the compression format you want to use.