.ZIP File Extension

2 file types use the .zip file extension.
File Type 1

Zipped File

Developer Phil Katz
3.9  |  2710 Votes
Category Compressed Files
Format Zip

What is a ZIP file?

A ZIP file is an archive that contains one or more files compressed or "zipped" with Zip compression. It stores files separately from each other, allowing the files to be compressed using different methods and extracted without compressing or decompressing the entire archive.

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Screenshot of a .zip file in Microsoft Windows 11 File Explorer
ZIP file open in Microsoft Windows 11 File Explorer

The Zip format was created in 1989 by Phil Katz and was used in the PKZIP utility developed by PKWARE, Inc. The format grew in popularity and is now supported by most file compression/decompression programs.

You may encounter ZIP files in various ways, such as receiving compressed files via email from a friend or co-worker, downloading files online, or exploring backup files that have been compressed with Zip compression. Both Windows and macOS come with programs that can compress and decompress ZIP files.

How to create a ZIP file

Windows users can create ZIP archives by right-clicking a file and selecting Send to → Compressed (zipped) folder. macOS users can create ZIP archives by right-clicking a file and selecting Compress "[filename]".

Common ZIP Filenames

New Compressed (zipped) Folder.zip - The name Microsoft Windows gives to new ZIP files created via the context menu (right-click and choose New → Compressed (zipped) Folder).

How to open a ZIP file

In Windows, you can open a ZIP file with File Explorer, also known as "Windows Explorer," simply by double-clicking the file. You can then choose one, multiple, or all of the files to extract from the Zip archive. In macOS, you can open a ZIP file with Apple Archive Utility by double-clicking the file.

You can also open ZIP files with other compression utilities, such as Corel WinZip (Windows), Corel WinZip Mac (macOS), RARLAB WinRAR (Windows), and 7-Zip (Windows).

How to convert a ZIP file

Many compression utilities, such as ConeXware PowerArchiver, Corel WinZip, and 7-Zip, can convert ZIP files by extracting their contents and then compressing them in a different archive format.

For example, the Windows version of PowerArchiver can extract the contents of a ZIP file, then compress them as various archive types, including the following formats:

  • .7Z - 7-Zip Compressed File
  • .TAR - Consolidated Unix File Archive
  • .CAB - Windows Cabinet File
  • .LZH - LZH Compressed File
  • .RAR - WinRAR Compressed Archive
  • .PA - PowerArchiver Compressed File
  • .BH - BlakHole Archive
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Programs that open ZIP files

Updated December 12, 2022
File Type 2


Developer The MAME Team
3.4  |  255 Votes
Category Game Files
Format Zip

A ZIP file may also be a ROM used by MAME and other arcade video game emulators. It may contain the entire contents of an arcade game, or it may be supplemented by a .CHD (Compressed Hunks of Data) file. ZIP files are compressed using Zip compression.

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Video game system emulators like MAME (short for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) allow gamers to play classic video games on their PCs and mobile devices. MAME specializes in emulating arcade games, originally played in arcade cabinets.

Players distribute MAME ROMs, which contain the contents of an arcade game, as ZIP files. If the ROM was created from an arcade game stored on a chip, its entire contents may be stored in a ZIP file. If the ROM was created from an arcade game stored on a hard drive, it is likely split into a ZIP and CHD file. If the ROM is split into two files, you need both to open it in MAME.

How to open a ZIP file

You can open a ZIP file in MAME (multiplatform) and related emulators. To open a ZIP file in MAME, place the file in MAME's Roms directory. If your ZIP file is paired with a CHD file, place the CHD file in a subdirectory named for your ZIP file (e.g. for a ZIP file named MyGame.zip, place your CHD file in Roms/​MyGame/​).

Programs that open ZIP files

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Updated May 26, 2022

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