For work-related needs you often have to deal with the widespread ZIP archives, but unfortunately, since it’s not very practical with the PC world, you still do not know how to manage these compressed folders. If you have always received the help of friends and colleagues when it comes to the problem, it is time for you to learn to open ZIP files independently by using some special programs.

But no, come on, do not spit the nose, that’s not the case! You can be absolutely quiet! Opening ZIP files is a really simple task; I’m sure you will be able to learn and you’ll be able to do it in a blink of an eye, even if you are the first weapon in using your PC. I am here for this very reason, and since I want to help you resolve this technology-related problem, I’m going to point you out a list of programs to open ZIP files .

Ah, I almost forgot. The programs I’m about to talk to you in the smallest details are completely free , so you have no more excuses. Come on, come on, sit comfortably and take a few minutes of free time: I’ll explain to you in detail how you’ll have to set up some famous software. Once you have them installed on your PC or Mac, I’ll show you the steps to open ZIP files; you will see that, at the end of the reading, the ZIP archives will no longer have secrets for you and you will be satisfied with what you learned, do we bet? I wish you a good read.

Integrated Windows functionality

In Windows operating systems, you can open a ZIP file without the need for any third-party program. I say this from the time Windows manages ZIP files as compressed folders, just like classic file group folders.

What you need to do to open a ZIP file through the built-in Windows feature is simply locate the ZIP file you want to open and double-click with the left mouse button on it. You will open a compressed folder view window, through which you can do the basic operations: you can open any file within the ZIP file with a double click on it, or extract all the content in a path you choose.

To extract the contents of the ZIP file on the latest Windows systems (Windows 8 or later), click the Extract tab at the top of the window. Then, click the Extract All button . If you can not locate the tab, you can also proceed by right-clicking the ZIP file and selecting the Extract All item from the context menu that will appear to you.

A window will open asking you to select the file extraction path (typically the files are extracted in the same location as the ZIP file is allocated) and you will have to confirm the extraction with the Extract button . Doing so will create a simple folder that will contain the contents of the ZIP file

7-Zip (Windows)

Among the many programs to open ZIP files, I recommend using 7-Zip. This is a great program with full functionality and efficient management of compressed archives, although its interface is sparse and reduced to the essentials. 7-Zip also manages the opening of a large number of archive formats, such as RAR, CAB, GZIP, 7Z or ZIP files. You can download it for free only on Windows .

To get the program, go to its official website through the link I’ve provided and click Download at the version you want to download: 64-bit x64 if you have a 64-bit infrastructure system; or choose the 32-bit x86 version.

Then open the 7zxxxx-x64.exe (64 bit) or 7zxxxx.exe (32 bit) file to start the installation procedure. Click the YES button on the window that will open the User Account Control; then click Install and, as soon as the upload bar is full, click the Close button . If a PC restart window appears, press the YES button .

Now, to open a ZIP file, you just need to right-click the ZIP file and select the 7-Zip> Open item from the context menu. When you open the program, you can decide, for example, whether you want to open the archive content by double-clicking it or dragging it through the Extract button by choosing the destination path using the […] button and then pressing OK.

You will surely be aware that opening ZIP files through 7-Zip is only done through contextual menus. If you want to apply a file association between 7-Zip and ZIP compressed archives, you will need to open 7-Zip and reach the settings using Tools and then Options . On the System tab , highlight the zip entry and double-click the adjacent column or the All Users column .

Integrated macOS functionality

On MacOS operating systems, you can make the opening (or decompression) operation of a ZIP file without having to install any software.

The procedure for doing this is very simple. You will need to select the ZIP archive you want to open and double-click with the left mouse button on it. The contents of the archive will be extracted automatically in the same folder where the ZIP file is located. Simple? However, the built-in functionality may also be limited. So I’ll recommend some software to download on your Mac to do this ZIP opening operation.

Keka (macOS)

I’ve already mentioned 7-Zip, the free open source program for Windows. You will be pleased to know that its main development code (p7zip) has been used to develop a free program, called Keka, for compressed archive management (such as ZIP files) for macOS systems. This program is available for download through its official website . By sharing the same 7-Zip core, this program manages the opening of numerous compressed archive formats (for example, RAR, CAB, GZIP, 7Z, or ZIP files).

However, keep in mind that its compatibility with the most commonly compressed archives is for the sole opening of these; In fact, Keka manages the only creation of 7z, Zip, Tar, Gzip, Bzip2, DMG and ISO archives. In your specific case, it will surely be your case to open ZIP archives.

To download it, open the link I provided you and click the green button on the left with the ” Download Keka” script . When the download is complete, open the Keka-XXXX.dmg package and drag the program icon to the macOS Applicationsfolder , as suggested by the window that just appeared to you.

You will now have to set up the association between Keka and the ZIP extension files. To do this, right-click on a ZIP file and select Get Information (or the cmd + i combination from the keyboard). From the window that has opened, expand Open with and, from the drop-down menu, select Keka ; then press the Edit Allbutton and then Continue to confirm the association of ZIP files with the Keka software.

From now on, whenever you double-click a ZIP file, Keka will automatically extract the content in the same folder where the compressed archive is located.

To create ZIP files instead, simply open the Keka application (you will find it in the list of software and applications installed on your MacOS by clicking on the Launchpad ). Now select the ZIP file icon at the top , choose the compression level and drag the files inside the Keka window to create a ZIP compressed archive.

iZip (macOS)

If you also want to view the contents of a ZIP compressed archive, before proceeding with its decompression, I suggest you download iZip. This software is distributed on macOS systems for free, through its official website . What is its peculiarity? It’s just that you can mount a compressed ZIP archive as if it were a virtual memory unit so that you can browse the content and extract only what you need. How do you say? Are you excited about this software and want to download it on your Mac? Then go on reading so you can step by step the procedure to get it.

First, open the link to the iZip official website that I’ve provided and click the green Download Now button . Once the download is complete, open the izip.dmgpackage and drag the program icon to the MacOS Applications folder as suggested in the window.

To associate ZIP files with the iZip software, you must proceed as i suggest you: Right-click any ZIP archive and select Get Information (or the cmd + icombination from the keyboard). From the window that is shown to you, expand the Open with, and select iZip from the drop-down menu; then press the Edit All button and then Continue to confirm the association of iZip with ZIP files.

By now double-clicking the left mouse button on a ZIP file, you will see a window on which you will have to press the Open button . Two windows will then open: one is for the ZIP file that has been mounted as if it was a removable drive, through which you can browse the contents of the ZIP archive; the second window is related to iZip software, through which you can manage some features.

First of all, from the scanner window, you can easily transfer all the contents of the ZIP archive or individual files by simply dragging them into any folder as you like. You can also double-click them to open them directly from inside the compressed archive.

By using the iZip window, you can choose to perform some functions: you can close the ZIP archive by pressing the button with the expulsion symbol ; you can set a password on the ZIP file, using the padlock button ; you can open the ZIP archive screen by using the button with a magnifying glass ; you can finally create a new ZIP file or open it with the corresponding New and Open buttons .

Other programs to open ZIP files for free

The programs and applications that are useful to open ZIP files for free are really many. Here is a list of some of the most popular software that I recommend downloading to your computer.

  • PeaZip (Windows / Linux ) – is a great free open source software that manages many compressed file formats, including ZIP format. You can download the version that requires installation or the portable version , which does not need it.
  • 8 Zip Lite ( Windows ) – is a free application for Windows 8 and later that allows you to manage your ZIP files on your computer. Being an app, it can be easily downloaded and installed through the Windows Store.
  • The Unarchiver ( macOS ) – is a free application available on macOS downloadable from the Mac App Store. Allows you to extract compressed archives by simply double-clicking on them. Using its settings panel, you can change the behavior of extracting the content of a compressed archive according to your preferences.