Chromebooks have come a long way in the last few years and for many people these Google-powered laptops are now pretty much all they need for day-to-day computing tasks.

One function that always comes in handy when you want to share a selection of files is being able to bundle them up in a zip file, which also makes the total size smaller. But, can you do this on a Chromebook? Thankfully, you can, and you won’t need any extra software either. We show you how to zip and unzip files on a Chromebook.

How to compress a file on a Chromebook

You have the option to either compress single or multiple files in ChromeOS, so we’ll start with single items first. In either case, you’ll need to have the files downloaded to your hard drive to be able to zip them, so be sure to do that before you begin. 

Open the Files app by clicking on the icon that looks like a white folder inside a blue circle. Find the item you want to compress and right click (or double finger tap) on it to open the contextual menu. 

How to zip files on a Chromebook: Creating Single Zip Files

How to zip files on a Chromebook: Creating Single Zip Files

Choose Zip selection and you’ll see the new file appear in the list with a .zip extension at the end.

How to zip multiple files on Chromebook

The process is very similar for creating a zip file that contains multiple items. Again, you’ll need the files downloaded to your device for the process to work. 

How to zip files on a Chromebook: Creating Multiple Zip Files

How to zip files on a Chromebook: Creating Multiple Zip Files

Open Files and find the items that need to be zipped. Select the one at the top, then hold the shift key and down arrow until all of the items you want to include are highlighted. If they are scattered around, with unwanted items in between, it might be a good idea to create a new folder and move all of the ones you want to zip into there. 

When the files are highlighted, right click (or two-finger tap) on any of them to make the menu appear. Click Zip selection and you’ll see a new file called Archive.zip is now available. 

How to unzip files on a Chromebook

Opening zip files in ChromeOS is easy, but not quite the same as you might be used to with Windows or macOS. When you double click on the zip file it will appear in the left column of the Files app as if you’ve inserted a flash drive or other external storage. All the contained files are displayed in the main pane, so all you need to do is highlight them, right-click or two-finger tap to open the menu, and select Copy.

How to zip files on a Chromebook: Unzipping files

How to zip files on a Chromebook: Unzipping files

Then, find the folder where you want them to live and press Ctrl+V to paste the uncompressed files. That’s it, you’re all done. 

For more ways to get the most out of your Google-powered laptop, take a look at our guides on how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook, Windows 10S vs ChromeOS or see our pick of the best Chromebooks currently available.