Home » How do I zip/unzip on the unix command line?

How do I zip/unzip on the unix command line?

Solutons:


Typically one uses tar to create an uncompressed archive and either gzip or bzip2 to compress that archive. The corresponding gunzip and bunzip2 commands can be used to uncompress said archive, or you can just use flags on the tar command to perform the uncompression.

If you are referring specifically to the Zip file format, you can simply use the zip and unzip commands.

To compress:

zip squash.zip file1 file2 file3

or to zip a directory

zip -r squash.zip dir1

To uncompress:

unzip squash.zip

this unzips it in your current working directory.

There are a truly vast number of different ways to compress and uncompress under UNIX derivatives so I’m going to assume you meant “zip” in the generic sense rather than a specific file format.

You can zip files up (in compressed format) with the GNU tar program:

tar -zcvf myfile.tgz .

which will do the current directory. Replace . with other file names if you want something else.

To unzip that file, use:

tar -zxvf myfile.tgz

That’s assuming of course that you have a tar capable of doing the compression as well as combining of files into one.

If not, you can just use tar cvf followed by gzip (again, if available) for compression and gunzip followed by tar xvf.


For specific handling of ZIP format files, I would recommend downloading 7zip and using that – it recognises a huge variety of file formats, including the ZIP one.

If you don’t have zip and unzip packages installed and you have java, you can use jar to unzip:

jar -xf file.zip

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