9 Best Ways to ZIP an Excel File

Do you need to ZIP an Excel file to benefit from file compression to enhance storage efficiency, facilitate smoother transfers, and streamline collaborative efforts? You’ve come to the right place! Read this article until the end to learn some awesome and effortless ways to ZIP and Excel files in no time.

As businesses and individuals handle an increasing volume of data, the importance of optimizing file management cannot be overstated. Zipping Excel files reduces their size and provides an organized approach to archiving and sharing.

Whether you’re a Windows user exploring built-in functionalities, a coding enthusiast leveraging VBA or Python, or someone relying on online tools, I’ve got you covered.

Join me as I list various methods for zipping Excel files using diverse techniques. I’ll also include step-by-step instructions so you can easily follow along on your own computer. The different methods mentioned below ensure that you can choose the method that best aligns with your needs.

Why Would You Want to ZIP an Excel File?

The primary reason to ZIP an Excel file is to compress the original file so you can email it to a colleague, teacher, or friend easily. Most email clients like Gmail and Yahoo come with a 25 MB attachment limit.

By zipping your Excel file, which is crossing the 25 MB size limit, you can reduce the file size below 25 MB. Then, you can attach the ZIP file to an email and send it conveniently to the recipient.

Some third-party file compression tools like WinRAR come with a ZIP file-splitting feature. Suppose, your Excel file size is 1 GB. You can’t logically reduce the file size below 25 MB by simply zipping it.

You need to split the 1 GB file into small pieces like 24 MB each. WinRAR software can help you achieve this feat. Now, find below other major reasons to ZIP an Excel file:

  1. Suppose there are more than 50 Excel files for a specific project named ACME Automations. Now, you can create a folder named ACME Automations and put all the Excel files inside this folder. Then, ZIP the folder. The next time you need to share the Excel files of this particular project, you don’t need to sift through the whole computer. You can simply share this ZIP file. It’s a great file organization practice.
  2. Zipping files can also reduce the risk of file corruption during transfer. The compression process creates a single archive file, which is less prone to corruption compared to multiple individual files.
  3. Zipping Excel files before creating backups can simplify the backup process. You can create a single compressed archive containing all the necessary files, making it easier to manage and restore data if needed.
  4. Zipping Excel files with a password adds an extra layer of protection. It helps prevent unauthorized access to the contents of the Excel files, especially when sharing sensitive or confidential information.

Also read: 5 Ways to Lock and Unlock Formulas in Microsoft Excel

Now, you’re ready to learn how to ZIP one or many Excel files by following the steps for the following file archiving methods:

Zip Using the Windows Send To Feature

Windows Send to command is the most common method to ZIP any files on your Windows PC including Excel files.

It shows up as a right-click context menu on the Windows PC. Here are the steps to use this method:

Send to in Windows File Explorer context menu
Send to in Windows File Explorer context menu
  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the location of the Excel file you want to zip.
  2. Click on the Excel file to select it.
  3. Right-click on the selected Excel file. This will open a context menu.
  4. In the context menu, hover your cursor over the Send to option. This will open a submenu.
  5. In the Send to submenu, select the option that says Compressed (zipped) folder.
The zipped archive of Excel file
The zipped archive of the Excel file
  1. This will create a new compressed folder with the same name as your Excel file in the same location.

You should now see a new ZIP file in the same location as your original Excel file. The ZIP file will have the same name as the Excel file but with the “.zip” extension.

Zip Using the Windows File Rename Feature

You can simply convert an Excel file to a compressed ZIP file by replacing the XLSX or XLS extension with the ZIP extension. Here are the steps:

Renaming XLSX to ZIP
Renaming XLSX to ZIP
  1. Select the target Excel file.
  2. Press the F2 key on your keyboard.
  3. Now, click on the right side of the XLSX file extension name.
  4. Use the backspace to delete the file extension name.
  5. Make sure you don’t delete the period.
  6. Now, simply type ZIP in place of the XLSX file extension name.
  7. Click once on any blank space in the folder.
  8. Click Yes on the pop-up.
Zipped Excel file
Zipped Excel file

The file icon should change automatically to an archive icon or ZIP file icon.

The recipient must follow the same steps mentioned above to convert the zipped Excel file to a decompressed Excel file. They simply need to replace the ZIP extension with the XLSX extension.

You may not see the file extension renaming option unless you’ve made the following changes to your Windows File Explorer earlier:

Change folder and search options
Change folder and search options
  1. Open the Windows File Explorer.
  2. Click on the View tab on the ribbon menu.
  3. Click the Options drop-down menu.
  4. Select the Folder and search options button.
Folder Options
Folder Options
  1. On the Folder Options dialog, click the View tab.
  2. Under the Advanced settings section, uncheck the “Hide extensions for known file types” checkbox.
  3. Click Apply and then hit the OK button to apply the changes you’ve just made.

Zip Using the Windows File Explorer

The ribbon menu of the Windows File Explorer also comes with an archiving tool so you can ZIP multiple Excel files at once. Follow these steps:

Share button on the File Explorer
Share button on the File Explorer
  1. Go to the directory that contains the Excel files.
  2. Select all the Excel files that you want to compress.
  3. Click on the Share tab on the ribbon menu.
The Zip command on Send
The Zip command on Send
  1. Hit the Zip command button inside the Send commands block.

Windows will archive the selected Excel files. You should see a new zipped folder containing the Excel files in the same directory as the uncompressed ones.

Zip Using Google Drive

This method is only suitable for two or more Excel file compressing. Here’s how:

Downloading Excel files from Google Drive
Downloading Excel files from Google Drive
  1. Go to Google Drive.
  2. Upload the target Excel files by dragging and dropping them onto Google Drive.
  3. Now, select all the uploaded Excel files and right-click.
  4. Click on the Download option on the right-click context menu.
Google Drive zipping Excel files
Google Drive zipping Excel files
  1. Google Drive will start zipping the Excel files.
  2. Once done, the download will begin.

Zip Using Third-Party File Compression Software

You’ll find WinRAR or 7-Zip as the dedicated file compression software in most business organizations and education institutes.

Here’s how you can use WinRAR to ZIP an Excel file:

Add to archive for WinRAR
Add to archive for WinRAR
  1. Go to your Excel file and click on it.
  2. Right-click to get the context menu.
  3. There, you should see the third-party archiving tool, like WinRAR.
  4. For WinRAR, the option to compress the files is Add to archive. Click on that.
Archive name and parameters
Archive name and parameters
  1. The Archive name and parameters dialog will open.
  2. There, type a new name inside the Archive name field, if you want.
  3. Choose the ZIP option as the Archive format.
  4. If you need to split a large Excel file into small zipped archives, click the Split to volume… drop-down and choose a file size.
  5. If you wish to protect the archive with a password, click the Set password… button.
  6. Enter a password that you can remember.
  7. Click OK on the Enter password dialog.
  8. Now, click OK on the Archive name and parameters dialog to start the archiving process.
Zipped an Excel file using WinRAR
Zipped an Excel file using WinRAR

Once the process is over, you’ll see the compressed ZIP file in the same file directory as the original Excel file.

Zip Using an Online File Compression Software

There are various online file compression tools offering free conversion of Excel files to a zipped archive. Find below the steps you should follow:

Choose File
Choose File
  1. Go to the Convert XLS to ZIP tool of Onlineconvertfree.com.
  2. Click the Choose File button.
  3. Navigate to the Excel file you want to compress, select it, and click Open.
Convert to ZIP online
Convert to ZIP online
  1. Now, hit the Convert button.
  1. Click the Download button to get your ZIP file.

This method is more suitable for you if the Excel file you’re uploading online doesn’t contain sensitive data. Refrain from uploading an Excel file online for file conversions if it contains confidential data.

Zip Using a PowerShell Script

Microsoft PowerShell is an advanced command line interface of Windows PCs since the Windows XP operating system.

It enables you to perform advanced automation, .NET Framework integration, and configuration management. You can execute the Compress-Archive command on PowerShell to ZIP your Excel file.

Here’s how it’s done:

Launching PowerShell
Launching PowerShell
  1. Go to the folder where you’ve saved the target Excel file.
  2. Press the Shift key and right-click on any blank space in the directory to open the context menu.
  3. There, click on the Open PowerShell window here option.
Writing and executing a PowerShell script
Writing and executing a PowerShell script
  1. Copy and paste the following PowerShell script into the command line interface:
Compress-Archive "zipexcelfile.xlsx" "zipexcelfile.zip"
  1. Press Enter.
  2. The PowerShell tool might flash a blue screen.

The compressed folder will now appear in the directory where you executed the command.

In the above PowerShell script, ensure you change the input ("zipexcelfile.xlsx") and output ("zipexcelfile.zip") file names appropriately.

PowerShell archiving multiple Excel files
PowerShell archiving multiple Excel files

Suppose, your folder has more than one Excel files for archiving. You can use the following PowerShell script instead:

>> # Specify the names of the XLSX files you want to zip                                                                >> $fileNames = @("file1.xlsx", "file2.xlsx", "file3.xlsx", "file4.xlsx")                                               >>                                                                                                                      >> # Specify the name for the zip file                                                                                  >> $zipFileName = "output.zip"
>>
>> # Combine the source path and file names to get the full file paths
>> $filesToZip = $fileNames | ForEach-Object { Join-Path $sourcePath $_ }
>>
>> # Use the Compress-Archive cmdlet to create a zip file
>> Compress-Archive -Path $filesToZip -DestinationPath (Join-Path $sourcePath $zipFileName)

Zip Using macOS Archive Utility

Just like the Send To feature to archive files in Windows, macOS Archive Utility does the same in a MacBook or iMac. Here are the steps you should know:

Compress Excel file on Mac
Compress Excel file on Mac
  1. Navigate to the folder containing the target Excel file for compressing.
  2. Select the Excel file.
  3. Right-click on the file.
  4. A context menu will show up.
  5. There, click on the Compress “File_Name.xlsx” command.
Zipped file on Mac
Zipped file on Mac

macOS will compress the selected Excel file and create a ZIP archive just below the original file.

Zip Using Excel VBA Editor

You can use the following Excel VBA script to save the workbook as a ZIP file to a pre-configured directory.

Sub CompressWorkbook()
    Dim sourceWorkbook As Workbook
    Dim destinationFilePath As String

    ' Set the source workbook
    Set sourceWorkbook = ThisWorkbook ' Assumes the code is in the workbook you want to compress

    ' Specify the destination file path (including the .zip extension)
    destinationFilePath = "D:\Excel\output.zip" ' Change this path as needed

    ' Save the workbook as a zip file
    sourceWorkbook.SaveAs destinationFilePath, FileFormat:=xlOpenXMLWorkbook

    ' Close the workbook (optional, depending on your needs)
    sourceWorkbook.Close SaveChanges:=False
End Sub

Find below the steps to create the VBA macro:

A VBA macro to compress Excel workbook
A VBA macro to compress Excel workbook
  1. Press Alt + F11 to launch the Excel VBA Editor.
  2. Click the Insert button on the Excel VBA toolbar.
  3. Select the Module option.
  4. Copy and paste the above VBA script inside the blank module.
  5. Click the Save button.
  6. Follow onscreen instructions to save the workbook as a Macro Enabled Workbook or XLSM file.
  7. Close the Excel VBA Editor.
Running a VBA Macro
Running a VBA Macro
  1. To run the macro later, press Alt + F8.
  2. Select the CompressWorkbook macro.
  3. Hit Run to save the Excel workbook as a ZIP file in the given destination.

Conclusions

These are all the effortless ways to ZIP an Excel file for personal or professional needs.

If you prefer using the Windows native programs, you can use the Windows Send To command, File Rename, and File Explorer to ZIP Excel files.

Suppose, you’re okay with third-party options and uploading files on the internet, you can use WinRAR, Google Drive, and the Onlineconvertfree web app.

If you’ve had previous experience running commands using a Terminal app, you can check out the PowerShell-based method as well.

When you’re using a MacBook or iMac, you can use the macOS Archive utility to ZIP your Excel files.

Finally, if you’re an Expert Excel user and don’t mind writing a few lines of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) codes, you must try the VBA-based method of zipping Excel files directly from the worksheet.

Did this article help you? Do you know another way to ZIP Excel files that I didn’t mention here? Or do you simply want to share feedback about this Excel tutorial? You can share your voice by commenting below.

About the Author

Tamal Das

Tamal Das

I'm a freelance writer at HowToExcel.org. After completing my MS in Science, I joined reputed IT consultancy companies to acquire hands-on knowledge of data analysis and data visualization techniques as a business analyst. Now, I'm a professional freelance content writer for everything Excel and its advanced support tools, like Power Pivot, Power Query, Office Scripts, and Excel VBA. I published many tutorials and how-to articles on Excel for sites like MakeUseOf, AddictiveTips, OnSheets, Technipages, and AppleToolBox. In weekends, I perform in-depth web search to learn the latest tricks and tips of Excel so I can write on these in the weekdays!

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Comments

4 Comments

  1. Roland Vogler

    Thanks for your article. I have a question: xlsx files are already zipped based on their file type. Zipping a zip file a second time doesn’t really bring much profit. Or am I wrong?
    Regards Roland

    Reply
    • John MacDougall

      Yes, you are correct an xlsx file is really just a zipped set of XML files. You can see this by changing the extension from xlsx to zip.

      Tbh, this article exsists because people search how to do it. But I did test is out and it reduced my example file size by about 10%.

      Reply
  2. Renaud

    why not mention the .xlsb format, which achieves way more compression than zipping a .xlsx which is already zipped.
    and the .xlsb format offer faster open/write times when filled with a lot of data…

    Reply
  3. JACOB B GROSS

    .XSLX files are already compressed; little reduction in size will be gained for putting them into a Zip file.

    Reply

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