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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekend Widget: Zip Utilities

I'll often get e-mails or phone calls asking me how to deal with ZIP files. If you are working in the world of graphics and don't know how to deal with ZIP files, you are going to have a huge struggle in front of you. It is a computer skill you must understand!

A zip file is a compilation of one or more files stored inside of a single, highly-compressed file. There are basically two things you need to know how to do: zip files and unzip files. In order to accomplish these tasks, you need utility software.

Windows XP, Windows Vista and the forthcoming Windows 7 all have built-in support for zip files. They will refer to them as "compressed folders" and they allow you to navigate inside the zip file as if it were a folder. Note that they don't support every single zip file in existence. That is because some of the utilities have a proprietary flavor of zip compression that will probably only work in that company's product. Unless you have control over both the zipping and unzipping of files, it is best to avoid those proprietary flavors of compression.

While the tools you need are built in to Windows, I'm going to recommend a couple of other utilities that simplify the process and give you a lot more features. First up is 7zip. It is an open source product that is available for free and it supports a wide variety of compressed file formats in addition to zip. Since most of you are using CorelDRAW, you might want to use a Corel product to handle your zipping and unzipping needs. WinZip is a Corel product. You can download a free trial or purchase the full version. While it isn't free, it is a very feature-rich product that is worth purchasing. By purchasing, you are also supporting Corel Corporation. This indirectly keeps money in their coffers to add more and more to CorelDRAW.

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