How to Use 7-Zip to Compress Files

Do you need to compress files? 7-Zip is ready to help! Here, we’ll uncover how to use 7-Zip to compress and uncompress files. By the end of this article, you’ll master 7-Zip’s essential functions for file compression.

Reasons to Use 7-Zip

7-Zip is a free and open-source file archiver for compressing and uncompressing files. If you need to save some disk space or make your files more portable, this software can compress your files into an archive with a .7z extension.

Here’s why you should consider using 7-Zip:

  • Free of charge — you don’t need to spend a dime to use it.
  • High compression ratio — for ZIP and GZIP formats, 7-Zip has a better compression ratio than that of PKZIP and WinZip’s.
  • Free for commercial use — 7-Zip is protected by the GNU LGPL license, thus allowing you to copy and distribute the software legally.
  • Localized — the software is available in 87 languages.
  • Windows integration — 7-Zip is compatible with Windows Shell.
  • Secure — the software uses the AES-256 file encryption system.

How to Use 7-Zip to Compress Files

Before diving into the tutorial, make sure you have installed 7-Zip. You can find the installer on its official page.

Here’s how to use 7-Zip to compress files:

  1. Open the 7-Zip application, then access the files you want to compress. Select those files and click Add.  Make sure to put the files in the same directory.
    This image shows you where to locate the Add button in 7-Zip.
  2. In the Add to Archive window, manage the settings as desired. The following is the breakdown of the main parameters:
    This image shows you the Add to Archive window where you get to choose how you want to compress your files. In short, this image explains how to use 7-Zip to compress files.


    • Archive — contains the name of your archive file.
    • Archive format — lets you choose the file’s format. For the best compression rate, choose 7z.
    • Compression level — the compression time increases with the compression level. The presets range from Store (fastest compression) to Ultra (slowest compression time with the most space saved).
    • Compression method — select the LZMA option as the best method for handling the compression process.
    • Split to volumes, bytes — lets you split the archive into parts.
    • Encryption — allows you to secure the archive with a password.
  3. Once you’re done, click OK. The archive file should appear in the same location as the original files.

Aside from having a robust compression tool, 7-Zip can also unpack up to 31 file formats. In case you need to uncompress files, here’s how to do it using 7-Zip:

  1. Right-click on the archive file, then select 7-Zip -> Extract Here.
    This image shows you how to uncompress an archive file using 7-Zip.
  2. 7-Zip will extract the files to the same directory as the original archive file.
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Compressing files can save you some disk space and make them easier to transport. With 7-Zip’s robust compression tool, you get to compress files into various formats at will.

For other methods of compressing and uncompressing files, feel free to check this article on how to unzip files.

The author

Edvinas B.

Edvinas is a professional mentor and trainer of customer support agents. When he's not teaching the secrets of providing exceptional service, he likes to travel the world and play basketball.