How to use Zip and Unzip command in Linux

Zip is a command-line utility tool used for compressing files and folders. Compression of files & folders enables faster and more efficient transfer, storage, and emailing of files and folders. On the other hand, unzip is a utility tool that helps you decompress files and folders.
In this tutorial, we will show you how to Zip (compress) and Unzip (decompress) files and directories in Linux using the zip and unzip command.

Install Zip/Unzip in Ubuntu/Debian/Linux Mint

Open the terminal and run the following apt command,

$ sudo apt install -y zip unzip
$ sudo apt-get install -y zip unzip

After installation, you can confirm the version of zip and unzip installed using the command.

$ zip -v
$ unzip -v

How to Install Zip/Unzip in RedHa/CentOS/Fedora

Open the terminal and execute the beneath command,

$ sudo yum install -y zip unzip
$ sudo dnf install -y zip unzip

Let’s dive in and see how to zip and unzip files and directories in Linux with zip and unzip command with examples.

Zip command in Linux

Following is the syntax for using the zip command once its properly installed.

$ zip [options...] name-of-file.extension [FILES...]

This is the basic syntax of using the zip command to create a zip archive of a file. We can provide different options for the zip command along with a name for the zip archive that will be created followed by the files that you want to archive. You can archive a single file, multiple files or a complete directory using the zip command.

1. Zipping a single file and multiple files with zip command

Let’s assume you have a text file – file1.txt – in your current directory and you want to zip it into an archive called
The command for this operation will be:

$ zip file1.txt

Additionally, you can zip multiple files at a go into an archive as shown:

$ zip file1.txt file2.txt file3.txt

2. Adding a file to a zip archive (-u)

At times, you may find the need to add a file to a zip archive. To do so, use the -u flag. For example, to add another file file4.txt, run:

$ zip -u file4.txt

3. View contents of a zipped file

To view contents of a zipped file, use the command as shown:

$ zipinfo

4. Zipping all the files in the current directory

If you have multiple files in your current directory, you can zip all of them at a go using the wildcard symbol as shown in the syntax below:

$ zip *

For example, to compress all files in the home directory to archive, execute the command below. Be sure that you are working in the home directory.

$ zip *

5. Delete a file from an archive (-d)

To remove a file from an archive, invoke the -d flag. For instance, to remove file4.txt from the zipped file, run:

$ zip -d file4.txt

6. Delete files after zipping (-m)

As you may have noted, the original files remain even after zipping or archiving them. If you prefer you get rid of them during archival and conserve space, invoke the -m option during archival as shown:

$ zip -m file1.txt file2.txt file3.txt file4.txt

7. How to zip a directory (-r)

We have so far seen how to zip files. Often, you will be tasked with zipping directories since they take up more space for the most time. To zip a folder, use the syntax below. The -r option zipped the folder recursively.

$ zip -r folder

As with files, you can also zip several folders concurrently as shown:

$ zip -r folder1 folder2 folder3

8. Zip a file to a different destination

To zip a file to a different destination other than the current directory simply specify the path to the zipped archive in your syntax as shown:

$ zip /path/to/destination/ file

9. Creating a Password Protected ZIP file

If you have sensitive information that needs to be stored in the archive you can encrypt it using the -e option:

$ zip -e directory

You will be prompted to enter and verify the archive password:

Enter password:
Verify password:

10. Creating Split Zip File

Imagine you want to store the Zip archive on a file hosting service that has a file size upload limit of 1GB and your Zip archive is 5GB.
You can create a new split Zip file using the -s option followed by specified size. The multiplier can be k (kilobytes), m (megabytes), g (gigabytes), or t (terabytes).

$ zip -s 1g -r directory

The command above will keep creating new archives in a set after it reaches the specified size limit.
Example output:
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