Zip and Unzip Information on a Chromebook

Do you want to compress multiple files on your Chromebook, or open a recently downloaded archive? It's easy to do because Chrome OS has a built-in tool for packing and unpacking ZIP-based archives. No third party software is required.

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In this guide, we are going to show you how to compress and extract files on a Chromebook. We'll also list two free applications that can be used to support even more file types.

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Create an archive

Since the archiver is built into Chrome OS, all you need to do is load or find the files that you want to compress. If you simply compress a single file – for example a large PSD – the resulting file will have the same name. If you compress multiple files, the archive is automatically saved as archive.zip. The built-in tool does not allow you to create and save an archive in a location other than the source files.

Step 1: Click the Files icon on the shelf. It looks like a folder.

Step 2: Find the files you want to compress in a zip file.

Step 3: Click and hold the mouse button to draw a box around the files you want to add. Do not draw a box to select specific files in a directory. Instead, press the Ctrl key while clicking.

Step 4: With the file selected, right click and choose Zip Selector from the pop-up menu.

Chrome OS zip selection

Step 5: Right click on your new archive and rename the file if necessary.

Extract an archive

Extracting files is pretty easy. The only unusual aspect of Google's built-in method is that Chrome OS mounts archives like a drive rather than opening them like a stand-alone folder. This is different from how Windows and macOS handle archives.

Step 1: Double click on the archive that you want to unload. Chrome OS is deployed and listed in files on the left hand side (shown below).

Step 2: Select the files that you want to extract.

Step 3: Right click and choose Copy from the pop-up menu.

Chrome OS copies files from the archive

Step 4: Navigate to the destination where you want to save these files.

Step 5: Right click and choose Paste from the pop-up menu.

Step 6: When you're done, click the arrow-based eject icon that appears next to the zip file provided in Files (shown above).

Step 7: Delete the archive if necessary.

Alternative methods

zipper

Zip Extractor is a web-based Chrome application that extracts and saves the contents of Zip files on your Chromebook or Google Drive. It unzips your files and puts them in folders instead of mounting them like a hard drive. The first time you use it, you can set it as the default app for opening zip files.

Zip Extractor does not work offline as it is a web app. However, this is still a convenient option as it extracts files in one simple step.

Archive Extractor

We recommend Archive Extractor for unloading archives that are not zip files. This Chrome extension can extract all types of compressed files including 7-Zip, TAR, DMG, Crunch, NSA, and many others. It also supports password-protected and multi-part archives.

If you tend to work with darker file types, Archive Extractor is the tool for you.

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