How to Compress a File Using 7-Zip

Learn How to Compress a File

In this guide, we will show you how to compress a file or folder into a .zip file. Sometimes referred to as “zipping” a file, it is a good way to “package” multiple files into one. This is recommended before transferring files over the internet to ensure it is not corrupted during the transmission. It can also allow you to deliver files successfully if an email filter is blocking your file extension, since .zip files are typically allowed.

For this tutorial we will be using 7zip, it is free open-source software and you can download 7-zip here. Follow along and learn how to zip a file.

Don’t have time to read the article on how to compress a file? Watch our walk-through video.

How to Compress a File

  1. Open the 7-Zip File Manager.
  2. Click on the file or folder you want to compress then click Add.
    adding a file to be compressed in 7-zip


  3. The Add to Archive window will pop up, make sure the Archive format is set to zip, and click OK to proceed.
    compressing a folder into a zip file in 7-zip

    The file will be compressed into a zip file located in the same place as the original file.
    view of the compressed and uncompressed file on desktop

Congratulations, now you know how to compress a file into a .zip format using 7-Zip!

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John-Paul Briones Content Writer II

John-Paul is an Electronics Engineer that spent most of his career in IT. He has been a Technical Writer for InMotion since 2013.

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32 thoughts on “How to Compress a File Using 7-Zip

  1. Hi, I saw in a tutorial in youtube how to compress file using 7zip. One example shown was a 4gb file compressed to 800 mb . I tried it on my end to compress a 1.37 gb file and  I was expecting it to be smaller  in size but I  got the same file size as the original. Why is  it like that?

    1. It depends on the specific files you are compressing. For example, some file types will compress smaller than others.

      Thank you,

    • How can i compress a PDF file to a certain size. The website asks for 4mb or lower but the file only compress to a little fraction which is still over 5.
  2. If I zip a folder of .wav files on a 64bit system and a person tries to unzip on a 32bit system, will it work.  If someone doesn’t want 7zip on their machine should the files be zipped with .zip extension instead of 7zip extension. I want to share my personal recordings with other musicians. I could create a huge file with a cue file but most people don’t want to be bothered installing the software to split the file into single tracks. If they do install 7zip what version do they install so it reads my zip file correctly, or does it matter

    1. I’m not sure what you mean. 7-Zip runs on your computer so it will allow you to decompress / compress zip files. Office365 is the online version of MS Office.

    2. It will not make a difference what type of machine they are running. Zip compression is just that, a type of compression. I’d suggest zipping using the .zip extension. It’s always best practice to install the latest version of the software.

    1. This is article is about creating a “.zip” file. It is not meant to suggest that one should use .zip over another compression format, it is just the goal of this article to create .zip files.

  3. Save me from digging a bigger hole. Your correct. PDF Files can not be compressed.

    Wasn’t sure until I read your message.


    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  4. Your system failed to work.  Followed the directions and the zip file didn’t compress, its a MOV file not jpeg. It opens to view fine, but won’t attach to email.

    I’ll have to get PKzip

    1. Diane, did you get any error messages related to attaching the file? How big is the zip file that you’re trying to attach?

  5. Hello. I’ve downloaded a 7z file, but I can’t unzip it. The only thing that appears when I try to download the file is ‘winzip encountered problems during this operation solution’. Someone suggested me to use 7zip application & I already did that but still, the file cannot be unzipped. Do you have any solutions to this problem? TQ

    1. Hello Reza,

      7-Zip is an open-source software project. They don’t have a support staff in the same sense that InMotion Hosting does. However, if you have a specific question we’ll be happy to look into it for you.

      However, if you would be interested in visiting a 7-Zip forum to find more information or ask questions, you can start with the following link:

  6. Hi bro … i m admin of a site for software and games and any others applications etc and i need to uploads very large files in my site but you know large files take many tim for uploding .. so please tell me how to compres softwares or games large files into smal size and plz also tell me how we can divided these files into some parts i see many sites they upload some parts of one software and when we download all parts save these parts same drictry (folder) user extrect only one part and install whole software… please tell me how to use these tow methods plz plz plz reply me soon thanks 🙂

    1. Hello Sharjeel,

      This article does not cover splitting up large files. We do not yet have a guide for that, but I did find a tutorial for you that goes over how to do this. Check out How to split large files with 7zip and see if that helps you. We have not tested the guide, nor do we endorse the site, it was just something I found when searching the web.

      Kindest Regards,
      Scott M

  7. Hey Dear

    I have downloaded the 7 zip folder but it seems i cant get to the add botton. I am using windows 7 with 64 bit operating system but it just cant work! When you open the folder, only you see as icons are the following: organize, include in library, share with etc.

    I will appreciate if you can guide me through the process!!!! I can actually see the folder /files i want to zip in the 7 zip but i cant go further in adding or do anythin else. Pls help. Its urgent

    1. Hello Bangso,

      Thank you for your question. When you first open 7zip, you should see the button on the top left. If it is not there, you may have a different version, or it may not have installed successfully.

      It may be easier for you to Zip the file using the built-in tool in Windows 7.

      Thank you,

  8. Hello dear friend how are u hope well there,
    Brother i have a request with u i have 7-zip latest version but i want to compress a folder containing all my files and i want to compress it as small as possible could u please suggest me how to make it maximum small as possible using 7-zip …………………………………………
    send me a small message if possible sir how to use it for making file smallest maximum by 7-zip software


    1. Hello,

      The amount of compression will vary depending on the file and its type. For example, text files (htmp. php,etc) can usually compress somewhat. Some files such as image and pdf files do not compress much at all. As for the types of compression available in 7-zip, I tested a txt file with each type. The top 4 compression formats, starting from the smallest, are .xz, .7z, .gz, and .zip. The difference between each was very small, so all formats will be fine.

      Kindest Regards,
      Scott M

  9. I follow the steps in the above helf file, and this creates  a .zip file as you say.HOWEVER, I want a compressed file, not just a zipped file – the .zip file i create using the above method is exactly the same size as the original, which for me defeats the purpose

    1. Hello ConfusedUK,

      Thank you for contacting us regarding File Compression, I understand your frustration.

      The amount of compression can be increased, but also depends on the files you are zipping.

      Increase the Compression Level in 7-Zip:

      1. In Step 3 of the above guide, click the box next to Compression level, and choose Ultra.

      Reasons a Compressed file is the same size:

      Some file formats cannot be further compressed. For example jpeg file are already compressed and will not zip much smaller. In this case you can optimize the images by size, meta tags, etc. Which reduces the file sizes.

      If you have any further questions, feel free to post them below.
      Thank you,


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