How to Unzip Any File

How to Unzip Any File,

So, what is a .zip folder anyway?  A ZIP file is basically a digital folder containing any number of documents or images that has been compressed into a format that is accepted for upload / download across the internet. (that’s the short version)

All of my own graphics are provided as digital downloads that will arrive to you in a ZIP file and so I’m often asked by first-timers or infrequent users on how to best go about opening such a file.

Hence this little tutorial!


If you’ve never come across a .zip file before and you’re not particularly techie minded it can be a little frustrating to deal with depending on which computer operating system you have and how downloads are automatically handled on your computer.  And of course, mobile devices offer a whole separate challenge!

All of the solutions provided here use the default software already included within your operating system, no need for special programs or purchased software, with the exception of mobile devices.


Windows 7 thru 11
- Right-click on the Zip file icon and choose “Extract All”
- When prompted, choose a location for the folder to be extracted into
- Keep the "Show extracted files when complete" box unchecked
- Now click on the "Extract" button to start the extraction
- Once complete, this new folder is now your “unzipped” copy of the Zip folder
- You may keep the original Zip folder or delete it since it is a duplicate
- in your downloads explorer window, you'll find an Extract menu button on the top navigation bar
- click this and follow the prompts, in much the same way as above

Windows XP and Vista
- Double click on the zip folder
- In the window that opens, click on the “Extract all Files” link
- The “Extraction Wizard” will open, click “Next”
- Choose a destination for your unzipped folder
- Click “Finish” to complete the process
- This new folder is now your “unzipped” copy of the Zip file
- You may keep the original Zip file or delete it

- double click on the zip file
- job done

Special Note: Where you download a zip file to on your computer can affect the ability to extract correctly or fully access the unzipped version.  Always make sure that you are downloading zip files to either a dedicated downloads folder, your main documents folder or directly to your desktop.  You may then move the folders to other locations as needed.  Some of my customers have had issues in particular with Microsoft Live Photo Gallery being the default location for ALL downloads.  This won’t work for .zip files!


For mobile devices you will need to install an appropriate app in order to download and open .zip files.

Winzip is a free app and comes highly recommended by experts

- Once the app is installed you will have an option to “Open in Winzip”
- This will reveal the contents of the zipped folder
- Click “Open In” to choose where you wish to extract the zip folder contents to
- You should now be able to access the files in their new location
- Note that you won’t be able to open a file type if you do not have a corresponding app to, but all image files will open in the camera roll or photos app

ZArchiver is a free app and comes highly recommended by experts

- Open ZArchiver and use the file manager to find the zip folder
- Click on the file when you find it
- Use the View option to see the files in the zip folder
- If needed you can extract a single file or extract all
- once extracted the files will be in your main folder for full access

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