How to zip and unzip files and folders in Linux

Install Zip Unzip

Install on RHEL, Centos, Fedora, Rocky Linux, etc.

sudo yum install zip unzip

Install on Debian, Ubuntu, etc.

sudo apt-get install zip unzip

Using zip and unzip to compress and extract files and folders.

Current directory contents, files and one sub folder.

ls -lh /home/dragos 
total 8.0K
drwxrwxr-x 2 dragos dragos 23  testdir
-rw-rw-r-- 1 dragos dragos 37  testfile
-rw-rw-r-- 1 dragos dragos 71  testfile2
[dragos@localhost ~]$ ls -lh /home/dragos/testdir/
total 4.0K
-rw-rw-r-- 1 dragos dragos 35  innerfile

Zip files and directories recursively

This creates the zip file, the .zip extension is optional you can name it anything you like but .zip makes it more clear what it is later. 

The * wildcard character tells zip everything in that directory. 

[dragos@localhost ~]$ zip -r /home/dragos/*
  adding: home/dragos/testdir/ (stored 0%)
  adding: home/dragos/testdir/innerfile (deflated 80%)
  adding: home/dragos/testfile (deflated 57%)
  adding: home/dragos/testfile2 (deflated 68%)
[dragos@localhost ~]$

Zip files only

Zip files only in first level directory – the one you specify or the current directory.

zip /path-to-files/

Zipping test files

[dragos@localhost ~]$ ls -lh /home/dragos
total 12K
-rw-rw-r-- 1 dragos dragos 760
drwxrwxr-x 2 dragos dragos  23  testdir
-rw-rw-r-- 1 dragos dragos  37  testfile
-rw-rw-r-- 1 dragos dragos  71  testfile2

Moving the previous zip file to avoid confusion

[dragos@localhost ~]$ mv testdir/

Files are ready for zip

[dragos@localhost ~]$ ls -lh /home/dragos
total 8.0K
drwxrwxr-x 2 dragos dragos 50  testdir
-rw-rw-r-- 1 dragos dragos 37  testfile
-rw-rw-r-- 1 dragos dragos 71  testfile2

Compress the files and add them to a new zip file.

[dragos@localhost ~]$ zip /home/dragos/*
  adding: home/dragos/testdir/ (stored 0%)
  adding: home/dragos/testfile (deflated 57%)
  adding: home/dragos/testfile2 (deflated 68%)
[dragos@localhost ~]$

Zip file is created

[dragos@localhost ~]$ ls -lh /home/dragos 
total 12K
-rw-rw-r-- 1 dragos dragos 567
drwxrwxr-x 2 dragos dragos  50  testdir
-rw-rw-r-- 1 dragos dragos  37  testfile
-rw-rw-r-- 1 dragos dragos  71  testfile2

Encrypted zip

You can encrypt the zip file so that nobody can read the file contents without a password.

zip -e /home/dragos/*

The -e parameter specifies the zip is to be encrypted and you will have to enter the password twice after pressing enter.

[dragos@localhost ~]$ zip -e /home/dragos/*
Enter password:
Verify password:
  adding: home/dragos/ (stored 0%)
  adding: home/dragos/testdir/ (stored 0%)
  adding: home/dragos/testfile (deflated 57%)
  adding: home/dragos/testfile2 (deflated 68%)

Zip command options

[dragos@localhost ~]$ zip -h
Copyright (c) 1990-2008 Info-ZIP - Type 'zip "-L"' for software license.
Zip 3.0 (July 5th 2008). Usage:
zip [-options] [-b path] [-t mmddyyyy] [-n suffixes] [zipfile list] [-xi list]
  The default action is to add or replace zipfile entries from list, which
  can include the special name - to compress standard input.
  If zipfile and list are omitted, zip compresses stdin to stdout.
  -f   freshen: only changed files  -u   update: only changed or new files
  -d   delete entries in zipfile    -m   move into zipfile (delete OS files)
  -r   recurse into directories     -j   junk (don't record) directory names
  -0   store only                   -l   convert LF to CR LF (-ll CR LF to LF)
  -1   compress faster              -9   compress better
  -q   quiet operation              -v   verbose operation/print version info
  -c   add one-line comments        -z   add zipfile comment
  -@   read names from stdin        -o   make zipfile as old as latest entry
  -x   exclude the following names  -i   include only the following names
  -F   fix zipfile (-FF try harder) -D   do not add directory entries
  -A   adjust self-extracting exe   -J   junk zipfile prefix (unzipsfx)
  -T   test zipfile integrity       -X   eXclude eXtra file attributes
  -y   store symbolic links as the link instead of the referenced file
  -e   encrypt                      -n   don't compress these suffixes
  -h2  show more help


Extract zip to current directory


Extract to a specific directory -d sets the destination directory where the files will be extracted.

unzip -d /directory whereto extract/

[dragos@localhost ~]$ mkdir extracted/diyrednumberone
[dragos@localhost ~]$ mkdir extracted/diyrednumberone_files
[dragos@localhost ~]$ mkdir extracted/diyrednumberone_files_enc
[dragos@localhost ~]$ ls extracted/
diyrednumberone  diyrednumberone_files  diyrednumberone_files_enc
[dragos@localhost ~]$ unzip testdir/ -d extracted/diyrednumberone
Archive:  testdir/
   creating: extracted/diyrednumberone/home/dragos/testdir/
  inflating: extracted/diyrednumberone/home/dragos/testdir/innerfile
  inflating: extracted/diyrednumberone/home/dragos/testfile
  inflating: extracted/diyrednumberone/home/dragos/testfile2
[dragos@localhost ~]$ unzip -d extracted/diyrednumberone_files
   creating: extracted/diyrednumberone_files/home/dragos/testdir/
  inflating: extracted/diyrednumberone_files/home/dragos/testfile
  inflating: extracted/diyrednumberone_files/home/dragos/testfile2
[dragos@localhost ~]$ unzip -d extracted/diyrednumberone_files_enc/
[] home/dragos/ password:
 extracting: extracted/diyrednumberone_files_enc/home/dragos/
   creating: extracted/diyrednumberone_files_enc/home/dragos/testdir/
  inflating: extracted/diyrednumberone_files_enc/home/dragos/testfile
  inflating: extracted/diyrednumberone_files_enc/home/dragos/testfile2

[dragos@localhost ~]$ ls -h extracted/diyrednumberone
[dragos@localhost ~]$ ls extracted/diyrednumberone/home/dragos/
testdir  testfile  testfile2
[dragos@localhost ~]$ ls extracted/diyrednumberone_files/home/dragos/
testdir  testfile  testfile2
[dragos@localhost ~]$ ls extracted/diyrednumberone/home/dragos/testdir/
[dragos@localhost ~]$ ls extracted/diyrednumberone_files/home/dragos/testdir/
[dragos@localhost ~]$ ls extracted/diyrednumberone_files_enc/home/dragos/  testdir  testfile  testfile2
[dragos@localhost ~]$

Unzip command options

[dragos@localhost ~]$ unzip -h
UnZip 6.00 of 20 April 2009, by Info-ZIP.  Maintained by C. Spieler.  Send
bug reports using; see README for details.

Usage: unzip [-Z] [-opts[modifiers]] file[.zip] [list] [-x xlist] [-d exdir]
  Default action is to extract files in list, except those in xlist, to exdir;
  file[.zip] may be a wildcard.  -Z => ZipInfo mode ("unzip -Z" for usage).

  -p  extract files to pipe, no messages     -l  list files (short format)
  -f  freshen existing files, create none    -t  test compressed archive data
  -u  update files, create if necessary      -z  display archive comment only
  -v  list verbosely/show version info       -T  timestamp archive to latest
  -x  exclude files that follow (in xlist)   -d  extract files into exdir
  -n  never overwrite existing files         -q  quiet mode (-qq => quieter)
  -o  overwrite files WITHOUT prompting      -a  auto-convert any text files
  -j  junk paths (do not make directories)   -aa treat ALL files as text
  -U  use escapes for all non-ASCII Unicode  -UU ignore any Unicode fields
  -C  match filenames case-insensitively     -L  make (some) names lowercase
  -X  restore UID/GID info                   -V  retain VMS version numbers
  -K  keep setuid/setgid/tacky permissions   -M  pipe through "more" pager
  -O CHARSET  specify a character encoding for DOS, Windows and OS/2 archives
  -I CHARSET  specify a character encoding for UNIX and other archives

See "unzip -hh" or unzip.txt for more help.  Examples:
  unzip data1 -x joe   => extract all files except joe from zipfile
  unzip -p foo | more  => send contents of via pipe into program more
  unzip -fo foo ReadMe => quietly replace existing ReadMe if archive file newer
[dragos@localhost ~]$


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