You probably know how to unzip a file in Windows 10. You double-click on it. But Windows 10 can create zip files too, not just extract them. Here’s how to zip a folder in Windows 10 without buying or installing any additional software.
This option isn’t exclusive to Windows 10. Windows 7 included this functionality too, as did some versions of Windows I wish you wouldn’t use anymore. It’s hiding in a menu that doesn’t get a lot of use these days. But back when floppy disks existed, this menu was the fastest way to copy a file to a floppy. Today it’s the fastest way to create a zip file.
How to zip a folder in Windows 10 straight from Explorer
First, navigate to the folder above the folder you want to zip in Windows Explorer. The functionality to create a zip file is hidden in a place only Windows veterans may know exists: the obscure Send To menu. Right click on the folder and navigate to Send To. There, you’ll find several options. One of the many useful options there is compressed (Zipped) folder. Pick that, and Windows will dutifully create a zip file out of your folder. It will give it the same name as the source folder. To rename it, click on the file just once to highlight it. Pause for a few seconds, then single click it again. The name will turn blue. Type a new filename and hit enter, and Windows will rename it.
Any other Windows 10 user can open a file you create this way. So can any other Zip-compatible file archiving program.
Windows’ included Zip functionality is basic, so an add-on utility may do a better job of creating smaller files. If you want to password-protect your files, you’ll need another utility. If you install another Zip utility such as 7-Zip, you’ll probably see it in the menu when you right-click on a folder too. So you can select that option if you want, to get more power without losing convenience.
How to zip a file in Windows 10 straight from Explorer
To zip a single file, navigate to the file you want to zip in Windows Explorer. Right click on the file and navigate to Send To. Choose compressed (Zipped) folder. Pick that, and Windows will create a zip file out of your file. It will name the zip archive the same name as your file.
How to add a file to a zip file in Windows 10
To add an additional file or folder to a zip file, just drag the file to the existing zip file and drop it in, like a folder. It may sound too easy, but it works. It’s designed to be easy.
Advanced zip files
If you’re strapped for space and not afraid of command lines, here’s a great zip utility that makes the smallest zip files I’ve ever seen.