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Howto: UNIX Zip Command

How do I create a zip file under UNIX operating system using a shell prompt?

UNIX operating system provides the following two commands:

  1. zip – Command to package and compress (archive) files.
  2. unzip – Command to list, test and extract compressed files in a ZIP archive.

Open a shell prompt and type the following commands.

Task: Create a Zip File

To create a zip file, enter:

zip filename.zip input1.txt input2.txt resume.doc pic1.jpg

To include the contents of a directory in a zip archive, enter:

zip -r backup.zip /data

Files created by zip can normally be decoded by programs such as WinZip and Zip7 under MS-Windows.

Task: Decompress a zip

To decompress a zip file in Unix, enter:

unzip filename
unzip filename.zip
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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Clower January 24, 2013, 7:56 am

    Wrong syntax (zip -r backup.zip /data) when zipping directories.
    Should be zip -r backup.zip data (without slash).

    • SamGoody February 12, 2014, 11:42 am

      Well, that depends if you want to zip the /data directory (ie, the data directory in the root of the computer), or the ./data directory (ie the data directory relative to where you are ATM). You could also have specified ~/data, and it would be the data directory in your /home/usr/ folder.

  • Ras January 14, 2014, 5:39 pm

    To zip the current working directory “zip -r backup.zip .”

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