How to zip and compress files for emailing to others (via your office computer)


Zipping Files on a Computer

© / Diego Cervo

We all like to think we’re pretty adept at computers, IT and technology but there are many office PC users that struggle with the concept of “zipping a file” (or folder), compressing it and then emailing out that zipped file to someone else. Heh, we’re not all IT gurus so take a moment and let the Rainbow Zebra  show you how to zip a file on Windows 7, 8 or XP.

Ok let’s take this by a simple step-by-step basis:

What is Zipping?

Zipping is a computer process that allows you to pack a set of digital files together into one zipped folder – the benefits being not having to separately add each file to your email so speeding up the process and making it far less time consuming.

So if you had 12 images to send to your web designer instead of adding each one manually to your email, you can zip them up and send them as one zipped folder ready for him (or her) to extract the other end.

Clever, mathematical algorithms allows zip software to efficiently compress your attachment so making it easier and faster to send. In the good old days of 56.6KB modems zipping would give a noticeable response in uploading and downloading files. With the advent of digital high speed networks, zipping is more commonly used to send multiple files in one hit via email.

One word of caution: If you are sending zipped files then you need to check that the recipient has the right software to unzip them the other side otherwise they’ll be stuck with a zipped file they can’t open.

How to Zip? C’mon, c’mon show me the good stuff!

First off use Windows Explorer to find the files that you want to send as a compressed file to someone via email.

We’ll assume you are not using third party zip software but instead will rely on the compression zip feature within Microsoft Windows XP, 7 and 8.

To select multiple files for zipping you will need to use the ctrl key to select multiple files (hold down the ctrl key as you select each file with your left mouse button in the Window) – oh and you can choose any kind of files to zip together: pdf’s, word docs, spreadsheets, anything really!

With the files highlighted now hit the right mouse button (not “hit” literally though, don’t want to break your mouse!) and choose “Send to" that will show in the dropdown menu.

Another menu will appear displaying a list of options – one being “ Compressed (Zipped) Folder”

Roll your mouse over this and click the left mouse button.

And sit back! You’re done.  :D


Why yes, if you notice, you’ll see a zipped folder icon appear in the same folder as the original files you zipped. Go ahead and feel free to rename the zipped folder to a more obvious file name if you wish.

You can then send on to someone knowing you’ve correctly zipped your first set of files! Rock on you!

But wait... hold on. Someone extracts those files the other end, updates them and sends them back... now what?

Aha! (in Alan Partridge style) Well for that you’ll have to wait for our next post on unzipping a folder but if you can’t wait try clicking here >>

Posted by Paul Randall
5th February 2014