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What is Zip file?

ZIP is a file format that compresses data without sacrificing quality. One or more compressed files or folders can be included in a ZIP file. The ZIP file format supports a variety of compression algorithms, the most common of which is DEFLATE.

As a replacement for the previous ARC compression format, the Thom Henderson developed this format in 1989, and it was first introduced in PKWARE, Inc.’s PKZIP utility. Other than PKZIP, several software utilities soon supported the ZIP format.

Under the name “compressed folders”, since 1998, Microsoft has provided ZIP support which is present in all the versions of Windows.

Where as in Mac OS X 10.3 (via BOMArchiveHelper, which is now know by the name of Archive Utility) it was used and later they provided built-in ZIP support for MAC as well. In the same way that Windows and Mac OS X have built-in support for ZIP, most free operating systems do as well.

The file extensions.zip and.ZIP, as well as the MIME media form application/zip, are commonly used for ZIP files. 1st Many applications, typically under a different name, use ZIP as a base file format.


Robert Mahoney, a friend of Katz’s, suggested the name “zip” (which means “fly quickly”). They decided to give the impression that their product would be quicker than ARC and other compression formats available at the time.

On February 14, 1989, PKWARE and Infinity Design Concepts issued a joint press release releasing the.ZIP file format made available for the public domains.

The .zip Version history

There are many.ZIP File Format Specification which also has its own version number, which may or may not conform to the PKZIP tool’s version number, especially with PKZIP 6 or later.

Other businesses or organisations are slowly adopting the PKWARE specifications.

In the late 1990s, the format specification of the .zip files has been released on the PKWARE.com website which were issued under the title “APPNOTE -.ZIP File Format Specification.” Also the specification was not released for some versions.

On the PKWARE website, the URL for the online specification was updated many times.


The .Zip Document container files are conforming Zip files,” according to ISO/IEC 21320-1 “Document Container File – Part 1: Core,” published in 2015. It necessitates the following ZIP file format restrictions that are imposed in the Zip files. They are:

  • The ZIP archives can only be stored uncompressed or with the “deflate” compression tool (i.e., compression method may contain the value “0” – stored or “8” – deflated).
  • Encryption capabilities are not permitted.
  • SES’s digital signature features are not permitted.
  • PKPatchMaker’s “patched info” features are not allowed.
  • Archives cannot be divided into several volumes or segmented.


. Multiple files can be stored in a ZIP file. ZIP helps us to compress our files in a variety of ways, as well as easily store them without compressing them.

Since each file is stored separately, various files in the same folder can be compressed in different ways. The extraction or addition of the new ones are possible without compressing or decompressing the entire archive because the reason that the files in a ZIP archive are compressed individually.

This is in contrast to compressed tar files, which do not lend themselves to random-access processing. A ZIP file contains a directory at the top. This tells us what files are in the ZIP file and where they are in the ZIP file. This enables ZIP readers to load a file list without having to read the entire ZIP folder.

Extra data not linked to the ZIP archive can be used in ZIP archives.

To safeguard against data loss, the ZIP format employs a 32-bit CRC algorithm and contains two copies of the archive’s directory structure.

For redundancy, the ZIP file entries often contain this detail in a local file header.

For instance, we could begin with a ZIP file containing files A, B, and C. Then, file B is removed, and file C is modified. Simply add a new file C to the end of the original ZIP file, and create a new central directory that only contains file A and the new file C.

The “Extra” data fields are crucial to the ZIP format’s extensibility. The WinZip-compatible AES encryption, file attributes, and higher-resolution NTFS or Unix file timestamps, “extra” fields are used in order to support the ZIP64 format.

The “Extra” field can be used to add additional features. The specification needs ZIP tools to ignore any Extra fields they don’t know.

The ZIP format uses four-byte “signatures” to identify the file’s different structures. A signature is attached to each file entry. Each entry in the central directory begins with the 4-byte central file header signature, which indicates the end of the central directory record.

The ZIP specification contains no BOF or EOF markers. A ZIP entry, which can be easily recognized by its local file header signature, is usually the first element in a ZIP file. This isn’t always the case, as the ZIP specification doesn’t require it; for example, a self-extracting archive would start with an executable file header.

Since the format allows other data to be between chunks and file data streams to contain such signatures, scanning may result in false positives.

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