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7-Zip

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Version 18.05 Released 30th April 2018

I have used this free and Open Source file archiver for years, and still use it daily to backup my files to DropBox and USB flash drives. I also use it to archive my web site so that my site’s visitors can download the entire site and browse it when offline.

Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available from the official download page where you can get the installer without any nonsense with malware or PUPs.

Bugs can be reported on the 7-Zip Discussion forum.

Changes since version 18.01

Changes since version 16.04

Main features of 7-Zip

Compression

Even in these days of enormous hard drives, flash drives with capacities measured in Gigabytes, and widely available high-speed broadband, file size is still a significant issue for uploading large files to web sites, and for those who pay for bandwidth or have slow connections, files sizes for downloading are also very significant.

7-Zip will compress most file types to its *.7z format better than standard Zip. Just how much better depends a great deal on the files being compressed. On the 7-Zip Home page, the program’s author, Igor Pavlov states:

“Compression ratio results are very dependent upon the data used for the tests. Usually, 7-Zip compresses to 7z format 30-70% better than to Zip format. And 7-Zip compresses to Zip format 2-10% better than most other Zip compatible programs.”

The file types that I need to compress are:

  1. PagePlus and WebPlus files. 7z format is typically about 93% of 7-Zip’s Zip format.
  2. Mixed file types including HTML and PDF. 7z format is typically about 85% of 7-Zip’s Zip format.
  3. OpenType font files. 7z format is typically about 52% of 7-Zip’s Zip format.
  4. Mostly HTML with some small images. 7z format is typically about 33% of 7-Zip’s Zip format. For plain text and HTML using the PPMd compression method yields better results than the default LZMA2 method, which is generally best for other files types.
  5. Image files. Compressing image files such as JPG rarely saves space. It is only a convenient way to group a large number of images in a single folder. However, there is one notable exception — where many of the images are duplicates, the 7z format may be significantly smaller than ZIP. If you need to backup large numbers of very similar JPG files such as CCTV images, you might find that 7z compression has significant benefits. I have not been able to test this.

Shell Menu

When 7-Zip is installed, a submenu is added to the Windows Explorer shell menu, Right-clicking on a folder or on selected files will offer options for compressing them to an archive. Right-clicking on an archive will offer options for extracting the contents. This is the way that I usually work to compress folders or files to new archives.

It’s also a convenient way to inspect Serif files such as *.ppp or *.wpp files, which are just zip archives with a different extension.

There’s no need to change the file extension — just select the file, right-click, and from the 7-zip submenu of the context menu, select “Open Archive.”

This will open the file in the 7-Zip file manager, displaying its contents of folders, XML files, and images. Right-click again on an XML file to edit it on Notepad or your favourite text editor. Double-click a Preview.png to edit it in your favourite image editor. Save the edits, close the 7-Zip file manager and update the archive to save the changes to the Serif Application file.

Don’t mess up though, or you might not be able to open the file in its application.

The same method can be used to examine and extract the executable files that are used to install Serif programs. Extract the contents to any convenient folder and run Setup.exe from there to speed up installation and repair since the archive has already been extracted. Just running the *.exe file would first extract the contents to a temporary folder, then run setup.exe, then delete the temporary folder. Installing from a DVD it is even slower than running the *.exe file from the hard drive.

Drag and Drop

Double-clicking on an archive will open it in the File Manager. This is a convenient way to view the contents of an archive, to delete files, to view them in a text editor or image viewer, or open them in their associated program. Archives downloaded from the Web can be opened in the file manager before deciding where to extract the contents.

Files can be dragged from Windows Explorer and dropped into the file manager to add them to an existing archive, or to update the archive with more recent files.

Files can be dragged out of the archive and dropped into any folder in Windows Explorer to extract them from the archive.

Archives can be protected with a password too, but be aware that archiving the same file again directly from the right-click menu will remove the password protection.

The column headings can be rearranged or hidden from view.

The Tools menu of the file manager offers options for configuring the file types to associate with it, and a checklist of items to include on the Windows Explorer shell menu.

An Editor such as Notepad can be assigned to edit files such as HTML instead of opening them in their associated application.

Any of 87 languages can be selected for the interface including Thai, Sinhala, Tamil, Vietnamese or Welsh, as well as the more usual choices.

Up to 10 folders can be added to your favourites with quick access keys Alt 0-9.

Conclusions

The 64-bit installer is just 1.34 Mbytes, and the 32-bit installer is just 1.08 Mbytes. Download and install it now to start saving time and bandwidth. The size of the download may be saved at once with the first set of files compressed using 7-Zip instead of the standard Zip format.

Many forums, including Serif CommunityPlus support the 7z format for file attachments. Use 7-Zip to compress large files and keep them below forum upload limits or use it to upload any file types that are not supported.

Serif application files are already compressed and won’t compress much more, but other file types like *.eps may compress to 5% or even smaller with 7-Zip. This large file compressed to a little over 4% using LZMA2 compression.


Page last updated on 01 May 2018