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How to open zip files

Zip files are simply a way of sending multiple files in one folder (directory), often taking up less space than the original. They are sometimes called compressed or archive files. Most computers and most operating systems can 'unzip' or 'extract' these files very easily.

Windows 10 now comes with 'compressed folder tools' that make it easy. For screenshots showing you how to use them, see below.

After you download a zip file, you will find an icon that looks similar to one of these:-

Zip Icons

Right-click on the icon and choose 'unzip', 'decompress', 'expand', 'unpack' or 'extract', depending on what you see.

If you are not offered such a choice, the icon probably looks blank or is a question mark. This means you need to install unzipping software. There are a number of free ones available, including PeaZip, WinZip, 7-Zip and Stuffit. Download and install one, then follow the instructions provided.

As an aside, eBooks are another variety of zip file, but the eReader automatically takes care of the unzipping and the display order process so the user is unaware of this happening. Do not try and unzip an eBook, you will just end up with a load of useless files.


If you use Windows OneDrive and have set it to automatically save or synchronise files in "the cloud", this can cause problems with all zip files. A small marker is added by Windows during this process that permanently corrupts the file. This cannot be fixed. You must temporarily disable the automatic cloud saving and save it on your own machine. Click the gear icon to go to OneDrive's settings and select "Pause syncing". Once you have unzipped the file on your own machine this problem will not re-occur.

Kindle Fire

This is not the best way to see the maps, but you can put them on the Kindle Fire, if you want to carry them about. The links to move around all work, but as you are not using a mouse, they are not all visible.

Download and unzip the file on your computer. You now have a folder called "Name_of_Map". Plug the Fire into the computer and copy this folder into Fire > Internal Storage > Downloads.

On the Fire, open Documents > Local Storage > Downloads > Name_of_Map and then start.htm or AAStartHere.htm. The start page will open in the Silk Browser and you can navigate from there as normal. I suggest you create a bookmark in Silk for the start page, giving it a sensible name. You cannot open it from Silk without this, because opening Downloads will not show the maps, as they were side loaded, not downloaded.

Windows 10

These screenshots show the zip file being downloaded to a Windows 10 computer using Chrome, but it works in the same way with Edge.

In the bottom left-hand corner of your screen, you can see the progress of the download.


When it has finished, click the box and choose 'show in folder'.

You will now see the file and that a pink 'Extract' Tab has appeared at the top of the window.

Extract all

Follow the instructions that appear.
You will now have two folders.

The right folder

If you wish, you can safely delete the zip file, once you have an unzipped copy.

Windows 11


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