Zipping and Unzipping Files in Unix

In Unix, there are many different methods adopted for archiving files as well as retrieving archives. It is important to understand how to do zipping and unzipping files in Unix. It is recommended to use the “zip” function in order to compress your files for simplicity of use as well as portability. Those files that are zipped in Unix could be extracted with the use of different tools on different platforms like Windows.

The unzip file Linux can be zipped on later on whenever needed. The choice of appropriate unzip method relies on the methods utilized for zipping the file. The zip method involves by the file extension, .gz, .tar, etc.

The process of zipping files is straightforward and efficient to transfer data amid servers and computers. Once the file get compressed, they would save the disk space on a local drive. Also, they will make it convenient to easily download files online. There will be reduced use of bandwidth rather than sending full-size files. Decompressing is easy when you receive a zipped archive in Unix.

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There are ample of switches accessible in Unix implying that there are several ways to extract files through the unzip command in the command line. So, the ways to extract .gz file are many. In the platform of Unix, gzip is known to be an extensively available utility and it is generally native to an operating system that is used to zip/unzip files.

A typical way to save and share a collection of multiple files is to utilize the ZIP file format. It is known that a zip command compresses single or multiple files and combines them into a single file. Majority of the contemporary OS including macOS, Microsoft Windows, and forms of Unix and Linux are capable to handle ZIP files.

In case you use Linux or Unix OS, you might need to use the Unix zip command-line tool in order to manage such files.

In Unix, the processes of zipping and unzipping files simplifies many complex tasks such as file transfer. The present article focuses on these processes. There is no doubt that zip is a widely used compression function that is extremely portable and simple to use. Also, it is possible to easily unzip files in Windows OS though created in Unix or Linux. By the creation of .zip files, you can easily match .tar.gz file compression. 

Listed below are the scenarios in which you might need to choose zip files:

  • Whenever you are often working between Windows and Unix based operating systems. This will compress files but also serve as a file package utility. These zip files work on multiple OS.
  • In order to save bandwidth, the zip files are highly useful. In case there is limited bandwidth then zip could be used among two servers to allow file transfer
  • When there is a need to quickly transfers files, the zip utility will decrease file size, so there will be a reduction in transfer time
  • Save disk space
  • Uploading or downloading directories at a quick speed
  • When there is a need to unzip password-protected .zip files
  • Whenever there is a dire need to attain a decent compression ratio

Zipping Files Using ZIP

By going through the below section, you will be able to clear confusion regarding how to zip a file in Unix. The Unix OS is widely compatible with the zip program for Windows OS and a majority of other OS used commonly.

In order to zip files, it is essential that the files should be first uploaded into your server. Subsequently, you need to log into your account with SSH. After that, you need to navigate to the directory where the files are present which you wish to zip. For example, by typing cd www then cd sounds in order to move to your/www/sounds directory. For that, you need to type below command:

zip myzip file1 file2 file3

Executing this command will put the files named file1, file2, and file3 inside a new zip archive named as It is known that this command supports wildcards such as * or ?. Additionally, you could provide a list of files to it and it would then compress all the files provided in argument. With the use of -f option, you can utilize forceful operation. The same is beneficial in case files need to compressed has many different links in existence.

The Linux unzip file can be zipped with this method. It is known that gzip also supports -v option known as a verbose mode which depicts all details related to an operation being completed.

zipping files in unix


Unzipping Files

For the zipped files, it is not difficult if you properly know how to unzip a file in Unix. It is important to note that the unzip method is being defined by the filename you are attempting to unzip. To understand this, for example, if you are attempting to unzip a file named file.tar – then you can use the methods related to unzipping in tar. Those files that end up with .gzip or .gz require extraction to the particular format. This will remove the confusion related to how to unzip gz file. Take a look at these formats:


In case you are having an archive called and wish to get back the files then you have to type below Linux unzip command:


When you type zip or unzip by itself, it will show a usage summary which shows all the available options.


In order to unzip a file compressed with tar, you have to type the below command from your SSH prompt:

tar xvf filename.tar

This command suggests that you will observe the file “explode”. Therefore, there is no need to worry when you observe your screen scrolling violently.


If you wish to extract a file compressed with gunzip then type the below:

gunzip filename_tar.gz

then if you receive no errors, type:

tar xvf filename_tar

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In Unix OS, it is not difficult to zip and unzip files if you follow the above Unix commands. Zipping and unzipping in the appropriate format is now possible with these methods.

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