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How to compress a file using Windows, Zip or NTFS: step-by-step

How to compress a file

Outlines how to compress a file using Windows, Zip or NTFS options, how to compress photos, PowerPoint or other files.

If you want to e-mail large amounts of data or archive photos, videos, and documents to your hard drive in a space-saving way, you should compress your files. The easiest way to do this is to create a ZIP file. The ZIP format works like a data container. You’ll package multiple files and folders into a compact bundle of data that compresses your files up to 12 percent of their original size. This saves storage space and allows you to e-mail high-resolution photos and videos.

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On the other end, the recipient unpacks the files so that they are back in their original size. This means that you do not have to accept any loss of quality when you zip a folder. Simply unzip it yourself to get the files back to their original state.

How to compress a file – the benefits at a glance

  • Save storage space: By creating a ZIP file, you compress your files by several percentage points. This is ideal for archiving photos and videos.
  • Send large amounts of data by e-mail: The ZIP format makes it possible to send large amounts of data quickly and compactly. The recipient saves time because he does not have to download each file individually.
  • Secure retention of sensitive data: When you zip a folder, you have the option to encrypt the ZIP file with a password.

How to compress a file or zip a folder with Windows

If you want to know how to compress into zip file to create a ZIP file in Windows 7, 8 or 10, this is very simple: the operating system contains everything you need to zip and unzip files. Simply follow these steps for how to compress folder to create your ZIP archive in a matter of seconds.

  • The easiest way is to create a new folder to copy (or move) all the files you want to zip into.
  • Simply right-click the context menu, click “New” and then click “Folder”. A folder is easier to zip than many loose files
  • If all the files you want to zip are included in the new folder, right-click the folder to open the context menu.
  • Click ‘Send to’ and select ‘ZIP-compressed folder’.

With two clicks for how to compress zip file, you can turn a simple folder into a compressed ZIP file. Immediately, the eponymous ZIP folder ending in the same path appears as . You can now rename the folder as you wish. If you have zipped a file, the ZIP format will appear as a copy of the file in the same path.

Note: You can also create a ZIP file without creating a new folder. Simply select all the files, right-click the context menu and click directly on “Send to” and “ZIP-compressed folder”. With a larger amount of data, however, this can quickly become confusing. To zip different files in a folder, select all files at the same time

How to compress files on mac: Create a ZIP file with macOS

Even on macOS, you don’t need any special add-ons to zip a folder. You compress the files in the same way as with Windows 7, 8, or 10.

  • Select the files you want to zip.
  • Use the right button to open the context menu.
  • then click “Compress Objects”.
  • The compressed ZIP file appears in the same path.
  • With the next click you download the video from YouTube. In this case, YouTube may set cookies over which we have no influence.

How to compress a file: Create encrypted ZIP files on Windows

If you have confidential files in your ZIP archive that you want to protect from the eyes of others, you can ensure this with a password. To create an encrypted ZIP file in Windows 10 or an older version of Windows, you need a special program such as 7-Zip, WinZip , or WinRAR. To encrypt your ZIP archive with a password:

  • Download a ZIP program of your choice, for example, the free 7-Zip. If you have installed the program on your PC, you will find it as an additional option in your context menu.
  • Right-click the folder you want to compress, select “7-Zip” and then “Add to an archive”.
  • If the 7-Zip compression program is installed, it appears as a selection option in the context menu
  • Next, the window where you set your password to encrypt your ZIP archive appears. In addition, you have other additional options. Confirm your entries with “OK”.
  • In the input field of 7-Zip you set a password and choose between different compression options
  • The file is now zipped and can only be unpacked by means of a password.
  • Unzip a 7-zip file with two clicks from the menu.
  • The password protects the 7-zip ZIP archive from unwanted access

Encrypt ZIP files on macOS

7-Zip is a data compression program originally developed for Microsoft Windows only. With the application 7zX there is meanwhile also a Mac-compatible version of the program, which can also be downloaded free of charge at 7-Zip. This makes it as easy to zip and encrypt confidential files as it does on Windows.

Alternatively you can create an encrypted ZIP file on macOS with a command line.

Whether you want to send files over the Internet or just save space, compressing files is easy and can be achieved in several ways: you can enable NTFS compression, use the built-in ZIP function, use external packers like Winzip, and more. In the following tip, we will introduce several options for different use cases.

How to compress files with NTFS

Compressing a file always aims to reduce the size. However, there are several solutions for this, which depend on the use case and also on the file type. NTFS can be a good solution, and Windows also allows you to easily compress all kinds of files on disks with NTFS

If you’re just trying to save disk or SSD space, you can use the NTFS file system to compress. NTFS compression can be enabled for individual files, folders, or entire drives, compressing not only data such as pictures, music or documents, but also programs and other system files.

NTFS compression has the advantage over “zip” that compression and decompression are done in real time and you don’t have to pack and unpack the files by hand. Modern, powerful processors do not noticeably reduce performance when accessing compressed files of this type.

How to enable NTFS compression

  • To enable NTFS compression,switch to the ‘properties’ tab of a drive.
  • On the General tab, you’ll find the “Compress Drive to Save Space” checkbox at the bottom. This allows entire drives or individual folders and files to compress.
  • As soon as you click Apply, Windows asks if changing the attributes, in which case compression, applies only to the main directory or to all folders and subfolders.
  • Confirm the change in attributes.
  • Depending on the level of the drive, the process may take some time.

You can also set compression only for individual folders or even files. The way to do this is almost identical.

  • Use the context menu to switch to the properties of a folder or file.
  • On the “General” tab you will find the “Advanced” button and enter the “Advanced Attributes” dialog.
  • There, you can enable “content compression” and then, like the drive, you get the question whether the compression should only be applied to the selected object or also to subfolders.
  • If you want to undo the compression, follow the activation and simply remove the appropriate checkbox.

How much space does NTFS save in compressing files?

You can use the command line to check how much storage space compression saves via NTFS. NTFS compression is not as efficient as, for example, zip, RAR or 7z format,but can be used in real time without significant performance losses. To check how much disk space NTFS compression saves, Windows provides its own command.

  • To do this, switch to the compressed folder or drive
  • hold down Shift and press the right mouse button.
  • You will then find the entry “Open prompt here” in the context menu or “Open powershell window here” in Windows 10.
  • Then enter the “compact” command. you will then receive a list of the level of compression for each of the folders or file.

How to color color-code compressed folders and files in Windows

  • In the Windows folder options, the View tab provides the option to display encrypted and compressed NTFS files in a different color.
  • ‘View compressed NTFS files in a different color’
  • When you compress files, they are now displayed in a different color.

How to compress photos: Shrinking images instead of compressing files

If you send pictures over the Internet, you will certainly notice the image size. A photo of a current smartphone as JPEG can quickly be 3 to 5 MByte in size. Even if you have fast Internet, the size of the attachments can become a problembecause the maximum size of an email varies from provider to provider.

You can therefore package additional images, but this will usually not change the file size because JPEG images are already compressed.

However, you can easily change the image size via programs like IrfanView and thus significantly reduce the space requirement per image. Simply specify small values for the size here, or select 1920×1080 from the standard sizes on the right, for example, which corresponds to FullHD.

For pure viewing on the screen or online on a website, this resolution is completely sufficient. Only for photo editing or development as a printed photo, the image should have a large resolution. Another way is to store images in a compression file format. While JPG is lossy, you can save images in PNG format to reduce file size without loss.

PDF documents reduce file size for all types of documents

The universal and popular PDF format is suitable for cases where you want to reduce the size of documents. A Word file or PowerPoint presentation with some graphics can quickly be many megabytes in size, often too bulky to ship.

A PDF printer called ” MicrosoftPrint to PDF” is already integrated in Windows, which allows you to easily convert existing documents to PDF without any further programs. Simply print from your program on the “Microsoft Print to PDF”. The printer then saves the result to a PDF file, which can also be viewed on any MAC and in almost all browsers without any further software.

Special PDF export features in Office programs are often more effective. In addition, many office programs also offer their own PDF export functions.

In Microsoft Word, see File -> Export your own PDF export feature. Compared to the Windows PDF printer, you can still choose whether you want to output the PDF file in a minimum size or a standard size. The difference here mainly refers to the quality of the graphics in the document.

How to compress PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint can also use the export feature to create a PDF file from a presentation. Presentations in PDF format are usually not only smaller, but also do not require a PowerPoint to view.


We have outlined several options for how to compress files and the step-by-step instructions for each method. With this guide, you will easily be able to compress your files for easier sending and more efficient storage without compromising their quality.


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