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Zip Command in Linux

Zip command is used to compress the files to reduce file size and also used as file package utility. zip is available in many operating systems like unix, linux, windows etc.

If you have a limited bandwidth between two servers and want to transfer the files faster, then zip the files and transfer.

The syntax of zip command is

zip [options] zipfile files_list

The options of zip command are:

-d : Removes the file from the zip archive

-u : Updates the file in the zip archive

-m : Deletes the original files after zipping.

-r : Recursively zips the files in a directory

-x : Exclude the files in creating the zip

-v : verbose mode

-1 : Compresses the files faster

-9 : Compresses the files better

-f : freshen only changed files.

zipfile : creates the zip file with name as

files_list : list of files to be zipped.

Zip Command Examples:

The files in my current directory are listed below:






Here documents is a directory which contains the files 1.pdf, 2.pdf and 3.pdf. We will see how to use zip command with examples.

1. Creating a zip file

The zip command in linux creates an archive with the specified files. This is shown below:

> zip archive file1.txt file2.txt

adding: file1.txt (deflated 80%)

adding: file2.txt (deflated 80%)

> ls documents file1.txt file2.txt

The above command creates the zip file with name

2. Extracting files from zip

To extract files from the zip, use the unzip command in linux. This is shown below:

> unzip


inflating: file1.txt

inflating: file2.txt

> ls file1.txt file2.txt

3. Removing file from a zip file

After creating a zip file, you can remove a file from the archive using the -d option. To remove the file file2.txt from the archive, run the below zip command:

> zip -d file2.txt

deleting: file2.txt

> unzip


inflating: file1.txt

4. Update existing zip file

You can update the files in already created zip file. If any of the files are modified after zipping, you can fresh the zip file with only those modified files using the -f option.

> zip -f

freshening: file1.txt (stored 0%)

Another way is using the -u option. This option can be used to update the specified list of files or add new files to the existing zip file.

> zip -u file1.txt temp

updating: file1.txt (deflated 79%)

adding: temp (stored 0%)

5. Recursively zip files in directory.

To zip a directory recursively, use the -r option with the zip command. This example is shown below:

> zip -r dir_archive documents

adding: documents/ (stored 0%)

adding: documents/1.pdf (stored 0%)

adding: documents/2.pdf (stored 0%)

adding: documents/3.pdf (stored 0%)

6. Excluding files

Let say you are zipping all the files in the current directory and want to exclude some unwanted files. You can exclude these unwanted files using the -x option.

zip exclude_archive * -x file1.txt

The above command zips all the files in the current directory except the file file1.txt

7. Faster compressing

You can compress the files very fast using the -1 option with zip command. An example is shown below with and without using fast compression.

> zip -1 fast_archive file1.txt

adding: file1.txt (deflated 79%)

>zip normal_archive file1.txt

adding: file1.txt (deflated 80%)

If you use fast compression, the archive file created will occupy more space (size) when compared to normal compression.

8. Better compression.

To reduce more amount of size the files occupied, you can use the -9 option with the zip command. This gives a better compression.

> zip -9 better_archive file1.txt

adding: file1.txt (deflated 81%)

Compare the deflated percentages in the example 7 and 8.


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