Integrated functionality of Windows
In Windows operating systems it is possible to open a file in ZIP format without the need for any third party program. I say this from the moment Windows manages ZIP files as compressed folders, like the classic file grouping folders.
What you will need to do to open a ZIP file via the built-in Windows functionality is to simply locate the ZIP file you want to open and double-click with the left mouse button on it. A window will open to display the compressed folder, through which you can carry out the basic operations: you can open any file inside the ZIP file by double clicking on it or extract all the contents in a path of your choice.
To extract the contents of the ZIP file, on newer Windows systems (Windows 8 or later), click on the tab Extract, at the top center of the window. Then click the button Extract everything. If you can't find the tab, you can also proceed by right-clicking on the ZIP file and selecting the entry Extract everything from the context menu that will appear.
A window will open asking you to select the file extraction path (usually the files are extracted to the same location where the ZIP file is located) and you will have to confirm the extraction with the button Extract. This will create a simple folder that will contain the contents of the ZIP file.
Among the many programs to open ZIP files, I recommend using 7-Zip. It is an excellent program with complete functionality and efficient in the management of compressed archives, even if its interface is spartan and reduced to the essentials. 7-Zip also manages the opening of many archive formats, such as RAR, CAB, GZIP, 7Z or ZIP files. You can download it for free on Windows only.
In order to get the program, go to its official website via the link I provided and click Download corresponding to the version you want to download: 64-bit x64 if you have a system with 64-bit infrastructure; or choose the 32-bit x86 version.
Then open the file 7zxxxx-x64.exe (64 bit) o 7zxxxx.exe (32 bit) to start the installation procedure. Click the button SI on the User Account Control window that opens; then click install and as soon as the loading bar is full, click the button Close. If a PC restart window appears, click on the button SI.
Now, to open a ZIP file, you simply need to right-click on the ZIP file and select the entry 7-Zip> Open from the context menu. When the program opens, you can decide, for example, whether to open the contents of the archive by double clicking on it or extract it using the button Extract, choosing the destination path using the button [...] and then pressing on OKAY.
However, you will surely have noticed that opening ZIP files via 7-Zip is only done via the context menu. 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 via Instruments and then options. In the tab System, highlights the item zip and double-click the adjacent column or column All users.
Integrated functionality of macOS
On macOS operating systems it is possible to open (or rather unzip) a file in ZIP format without having to install any software.
The procedure to do 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. Automatically the contents of the archive will be extracted to the same folder where the ZIP file is located. Simple right? However, the integrated functionality can also be limited. I will therefore recommend some software to download on your Mac to perform this operation of opening ZIP files.
I told you previously about 7-Zip, the free open source program for Windows. You will be pleased to know that its main development code (p7zip) was used for the development of a program, also free, called Keka, for the management of compressed archives (such as ZIP files) for macOS systems. This program is available for download through its official website. By sharing the same core as 7-Zip, the program in question 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 common compressed archives is for the sole opening of these; In fact, Keka only manages the creation of 7z, Zip, Tar, Gzip, Bzip2, DMG and ISO archives. In your specific case, it will definitely suit you to open ZIP archives.
To download it, open the link I gave you and click on the green button on the left that says Download Keka. Once the download is finished, open the Keka-XXXX.dmg package and drag the program icon to the folder Applications macOS, as suggested by the window that just appeared.
Now you will have to set the association between Keka and files with ZIP extension. To do this, right-click on a ZIP file and select the entry Get information (or the combination cmd + i from the keyboard). From the window that opened, expand the entry Open with and, from the drop down menu, select cake; then press the button Edit everything and then Continue to confirm the association of the ZIP file with Keka software.
From now on, whenever you double-click on a ZIP file, Keka will automatically extract its contents to the same folder where the compressed archive is located.
To create ZIP files instead, you will simply have to open the Keka application (you will find it in the list of software and applications installed on your macOS, by clicking on the Launchpad). Select now the ZIP file icon at the top, choose the compression level and drag the files into the Keka window to create a ZIP compressed archive.
If you also want to be able to view the contents of a ZIP compressed archive, before proceeding with its decompression, I recommend that you download iZip. This software is distributed on macOS systems for free, through its official website. What is its peculiarity? It is precisely that of allowing you to mount a ZIP compressed archive as if it were a virtual memory unit, to then be able to browse its contents and extract only what you need. How do you say? You're excited about this software and want to download it to your Mac? Then continue with the reading so as to explain step by step the procedure to obtain it.
First open the link to the official iZip website I provided and click on the green button Download Now. Once the download is complete, open the package izip.dmg and drag the program icon into the folder Applications macOS, as suggested in the window.
To associate ZIP files with the iZip software, you will need to proceed as I suggest: right-click on any ZIP archive and select the item Get information (or the combination cmd + i from the keyboard). From the window that is shown to you, expand the entry Open with and select Zip from the drop-down menu; then press the button Edit everything and then Continue to confirm the association of iZip with ZIP files.
By double clicking with the left button of your mouse on a ZIP file, a window will appear, on which you will have to press the button apri. Two windows will then be opened: one is related to the ZIP file that has been mounted as if it were a removable drive, through which you can browse the contents of the ZIP archive; the second window relates to the iZip software, through which you can manage some features.
First of all, from the explorer window, you can safely transfer all the contents of the ZIP archive or individual files, simply by dragging them to any folder of your choice. You can also double-click on them to open them directly from within the compressed archive.
Instead, through the iZip window you can decide to perform some functions: you can close the ZIP archive by pressing the button with the eject symbol; you can set a password on the ZIP file, via the button with a padlock symbol; you can open the ZIP archive explorer screen via the button with a magnifying glass; you can finally create a new ZIP file or open one using the corresponding buttons New e Open.
Other programs to open ZIP files for free
There are so many programs and applications useful to open ZIP files for free. I will show you below a list with some of the most popular software that I recommend you download to your computer.
- PeaZip (Windows / Linux) - it's great software free open source that handles many compressed archive formats, including the ZIP format. You can download the version that requires installation or the version portable, which does not need it.
- 8 Zip Lite (Windows) - is an application free for Windows 8 and later which allows you to manage ZIP formats only on your computer. Being an app, it can be easily downloaded and installed via the Windows Store.
- ZipGenius (Windows) - is software cittàn compatible starting with Windows 7 and later. It handles many compressed archives, such as RAR, CAB, 7z and ZIP files.
- The Unarchiver (macOS) - is an application free available on macOS downloadable from the Mac App Store. It allows the extraction of compressed archives with a simple double click of the mouse on them. Through its settings panel it is possible to modify the extraction behavior of the contents of a compressed archive according to your preferences.