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Graphical and Terminal Programs for Using Zip Files in Linux

written by: Chris Hoffman•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 8/10/2011

Zip files are a standard compressed archive format, supported out of the box in every major operating system, including Microsoft Windows. Create and extract Linux zip files and folders using the graphical tools included with the GNOME and KDE desktop environments as well as terminal commands.

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    GNOME Desktop: File Manager

    Extract a zip file its current directory in GNOME's file manager by right-clicking it and clicking "Extract Here."

    Create a zip file using GNOME's file manager by right-clicking one or more files and folders and clicking "Compress." Type a name for the zip file into the Filename box in the "Compress" window, click the box to the right of the Filename box and click ".zip" in the list of file types. Set the location of the zip file by clicking the "Location" box and clicking a folder; the default location is the same location as the files you are zipping. You can password-protect the zip file by clicking "Other Options" and typing a password into the Password box. Create the configured zip file by clicking "Create."GNOME file manager's Compress dialog on Ubuntu 10.04 

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    GNOME Desktop: Archive Manager

    File Roller on Ubuntu 10.04 Open a zip file in the GNOME desktop's archive manager by double-clicking it. Extract the archive by clicking the "Extract" button on the program's toolbar, navigating to a location for the files and clicking "Extract."

    Open the GNOME desktop's archive manager to create a zip file by clicking "Applications," "Accessories" and "Archive Manager." If it's hidden, for example, on Ubuntu, press "Alt+F2," type "file-roller" into the Run Application dialog box that appears and click "Run." Create a new zip file by clicking "File," clicking "New," typing a name for the zip file followed by ".zip" and clicking "Create." Add files to the zip file by dragging and dropping them into the Archive Manager window, or click the "Open" button on the toolbar and browse to them. Configure a password by clicking "Edit" and "Password."

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    KDE Desktop: File Manager

    Zipping a file in KDE's Dolphin file manager on Kubuntu 10.04 Extract a zip file with KDE's file manager by right-clicking it and clicking "Extract Archive Here."

    Create a zip file using KDE's file manager by right-clicking one or more folders or files, clicking "Compress" and clicking "As ZIP Archive." The file manager creates a zip file containing the selected folders in the current directory.

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    KDE Desktop: Ark Archiving Tool

    KDE's Ark archiving tool on Kubuntu 10.04 Open a zip file in Ark by double-clicking it. Extract the zip file by clicking "Extract" on the toolbar, browsing to a folder and clicking "OK."

    Open Ark by clicking the "K" menu, clicking "Applications," "Utilities" and "Archiving Tool." Create a zip file by clicking "New" on Ark's toolbar, typing a file name followed by ".zip" and clicking "Save." Add files to the zip file by dragging and dropping them into the Ark window or by clicking the "Open" button and browsing to them.

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    Command Line

    Using the Unzip a file on the command line by using the "unzip" command followed by the file's name. For example, unzip "example.zip" by typing "unzip example.zip" and pressing "Enter."

    Create a zip file by typing "zip," typing the name of a new zip file, and typing the files to add to the zip file. Use the "-r" switch before a directory name to add the entire directory. For example, zip the entire "Downloads" directory by typing "zip zipfile.zip -r Downloads" or zip the "file" file by typing "zip zipfile.zip file."

    See this article for more information about zip files on Linux.

    Screenshots courtesy of Chris Hoffman:

    • GNOME Compress Dialog
    • File Roller
    • Dolphin
    • Ark
    • GNOME Terminal