What does it mean if a file is zipped?

Question

What does it mean if a file is zipped?

Answer

This question was answered on November 30, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

A zipped file is one that has been compressed. The size of the file is most likely much smaller than the original size (may be as little as half). Zipping files compresses them by removing redundant data from them - eg indicating that a given character is repeated twenty times may only take up two or three bytes instead of twenty. Zip files are created using a standard compression algorithm and so are readable by a variety of different compression programs (winzip is the most popular).

Zipping files makes them smaller and therefore quicker to send via email or to download from the internet. When a zipped file is received it must then be unzipped to restore the original code in order for it to be used.

It is also possible to create a zip archive where one zipped file contains the compressed copies of a number of files. When unzipped this will recreate all of the files that were contained within it. This makes the format useful for sending a group of files that belong together

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Author

Posted by Michael of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on November 30, 2004