What Is a ZIP File?

by Contributing Writer

The ZIP file format is a widely used file compression format. It allows you to compress together any number of files into one file for transport over the Internet or just back-up storage. The ZIP file format for the Windows operating system was created by WinZip Inc., now a subsidiary of Corel corp.

Compression

Depending on the type of file, you can compress a file by as much as 80 percent.

Self-extraction

You can create a self-extracting zip file that allows you to decompress a "zipped" file on another computer without the WinZip program.

Encryption

You can enable 256-bit AES password encryption on any file or group of files you compress using WinZip.

Spanning

You can split large files into smaller, more manageable sizes using the ZIP file spanning feature. It will allow you more mobility and security.

CRC

ZIP files also incorporate a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) that makes sure the file integrity is the same as when it was first created.