Hi, I'm Shawnna

I create graphics and design resources for bloggers, crafters and biz owners; providing a fun girly style for your brand or products, with a design-it-yourself approach for easy access and affordability.

When I'm not designing I'll be out walking the dogs, binging on Netflix or curled up with a good book.

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Manage Windows 7 Files

How to manage zip files in Windows 7 + how to open and work with image files

Hi!  This quick tutorial is aimed at Microsoft users of Windows 7 and up who are struggling to understand and work with Zip folders and how to properly manage those files or even open documents held within a zipped folder.

In particular, it's the answer to many of the issues my customers face when trying to download and use my template files. Faced with several file types that all seemingly behave differently it's often a struggle for the uninitiated to understand what to do with each type of document in their zip folder.

If you are not an advanced user your frustration levels might be overwhelming you with what should be a really simple task... I get it! So let's take a deep breath and dive in.

I'm going to assume that you have downloaded a zipped folder from the internet and that it is now sitting in the Downloads folder on your computer. So let's start from there.

Open your Windows Explorer pane and navigate to your Download folder, it should look like the image below:

1. The Downloads folder

Now at this point you could open the folder and see the contents, but notice that this file is in a Zipped state. Even though you CAN access the contents of the folder at this point, you may run into some limitations on what you can do with those files. So we want to unzip or Extract the folder and create a regular folder that isn't zipped.

On my version of Windows 7 I just need to double click the zipped folder and a pop up box appears with various available options, one of which is to Extract the folder. If double clicking the folder doesn't do this on your PC, try right clicking the folder and looking for an option to Extract in the menu box that appears.

2. Press Extract

Once you press the Extract button you should get another dialog box offering you the choice of where to save the new extracted folder (not pictured). You can choose to put this folder wherever you like, but for now we're just going to leave it in the Downloads folder.

3. The Extracted Folder

Very quickly a new duplicate folder should appear in your Downloads. Both of these files are identical except for one thing; one folder is zipped and one isn't. At this point I personally choose to delete the zipped version as it is no longer required and keeping both takes up more space on my hard drive.

Either way you'll only want to access the contents of the unzipped folder to actually work with.

4. The Folder Contents

This is what the inside of a typical file folder looks like from my templates collection. As you can see there's a lot in here. I include page sizing for American and European users, so if it's easier for you, just delete the versions that don't apply to you.

There are also a few versions of the template depending on what sort of software you plan on using to design with. In this tutorial we're just looking at Microsoft software so we'll only be focussing on the .PNG image files. PNG files are compatible with just about any software program and they work exactly the way photos do. The difference here is that these images have transparent sections that create a 'template'.

5. Opening the Files

It's so tempting now to just click on any of the files to open it them. Don't you think? In many cases this is absolutely the thing to do. But you first need to pay attention the file type that you are clicking on so that you know what to expect next.

For example, if there was a Word doc in this file (it would end in .docx) double clicking the file name would automatically open it in Word. Easy peasy. Try double clicking my .psd file when you don't have Photoshop installed and that file is not going to open. You'll likely get a pop up window asking you to select a program to open it with, you might get an error message, but no matter what you try, if you don't have Photoshop that file is simply not going to open.

Images work a little different. They are not files in the same way a Word doc is. Image files don't have a specific software that they open in. They work in just about any software so the default setting on every PC is to open image files in Windows Photo Viewer. Just like the example above.

There's nothing wrong with that. But you have to understand that Windows Photo Viewer doesn't do much. It really just lets you VIEW the image. You are not going to able to edit the image here or do much of anything else. All you are doing is viewing the image.

So, if you wish to get started working with your template (or any other image file) you will have to work in the most appropriate software for the job at hand.

6. Opening Image files

If your Photo Viewer has a menu option like the one pictured above you can choose your preferred program right here and the image file will open up in that software program. And just like that you're ready to start editing your file!

If for some reason you don't have this option, or your preferred software program isn't listed, you'll need to manually open that program and use its navigation commands to open the image file. This process will vary depending on the software.

7. Opening a file in Word

You can only add an image in Word by using the Insert commands, as pictured. You will want to select Picture from File to add something stored in a folder on your PC. A dialogue box will appear and you can navigate to where your image file is stored. As in my example above that might be your Downloads folder (you'll need to know where your image file is stored). You just select the file you want to open in Word and it will place that image on your page in Word. And you can begin editing from there.

That's the end of the tutorial on managing zip folders and their contents. I hope you better understand how to navigate the folder pane in Microsoft and how to open various file types.

Happy crafting!

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