How to Compress Files & Shrink Size

by Jimmy Boyd

Internet users who share files often need to compress them. Compressing a file shrinks the size of the file. Email users may need to compress a file if it is bigger than the maximum size for attachments. Website owners can also reduce website bandwidth usage by compressing download files. Those who wish to shrink the size of files can use compression software, but some operating systems also have functions to compress files.

Using WinZip to Compress Files


Download the WinZip compression utility. Follow the download and installation instructions. The software will open up automatically after installation.


Place the files to be compressed on the computer's desktop. Placing them there makes it easy to find them during the compression process.


Click "New" to start the compression procedure. Look for the "Create in:" drop-down box at the top. Click on the arrow to the right of the box to get it to drop down and show the different folders on the computer. Click on the "Desktop" folder. The WinZip software will place a folder on the desktop to hold the compressed files. Give the file a name at the bottom and click the "OK" button.


Find the files to be compressed by choosing "Desktop" in the "Add" window that pops up after saving the file. The contents of the desktop will appear in the window. Click on the file to be compressed and click on the "Add" button. The user may also select and add additional files. The utility will add the compressed files to the previously created folder on the desktop.

Using Operating-System Features to Compress Files


Right-click with the pointer on the desktop and then hover over the "New" option when using Windows XP. Click on "Compressed (zipped) Folder" and name and save the folder. Drag and drop the files to be compressed to that folder. The computer will automatically shrink the size of the files when the user drops them in that folder.


Right-click on the file to be compressed when using Windows Vista or Windows 7. Hover over "Send to" and then click on the "Compressed (zipped) folder" option. The computer will automatically create a folder to hold the file and compress it. The user can right-click on the folder and give it a new name by clicking on the "Rename" option.


Select the file or folder to be compressed when using the Mac OS operating system. Right-click on the selected file or folder and then click on the "Create Archive" option to compress the file or folder. Note that older versions of Mac OS may have to use compression software. Search for "how to compress files in Mac" in a search engine to find compatible software.


  • check Organize all compressed files into a folder on the desktop. Name the folder "compressed files" and use it to store all the compressed files.


  • close Do not move compressed files from their folders when using Windows 7 or Vista. Removing them decompresses the files.

About the Author

Jimmy Boyd has a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He has been writing articles on law and a variety of other topics since 2004. His work appears at, eHow and

Photo Credits

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