Self-Extracting Zip File: How to Create a Self-Extracting File

Self-extracting zip files is a convenient way to send users the exact file they need without downloading an installer. These files are often used when distributing software or other digital content through websites and email attachments.

For instance, when sending an email newsletter, you want to include a file for your users to download. But you don't want to force them to download many extras that they may not need. Once the self-extracting zip file is downloaded, the email client automatically extracts it and saves only the files relevant to what they needed.

This article will cover the basics of creating a self-extracting zip file with a program like WinZip that can be uploaded and extracted automatically on your web server.

What is a self-extracting zip file?

A is a type of compressed file that includes additional executable Windows program (.exe) code so that you can extract the contents without needing to use an external program or application.

The zip file contents will contain everything it needs to unpack itself and create subfolders for all downloaded files. When you run the executable program, it unpacks all of the other files in the folder automatically into their new location - saving you time and effort from having to uncompress each one.

How to create a self-extracting file using WinZip

To create a self-extracting zip file using WinZip, there are just a few steps you need to follow:

Step 1. Download WinZip from the official WinZip website, then open WinZ

Step 2. Click on the Create button in the toolbar and choose Self-Extracting Archive from the dropdown list

Step 3. A New Self-Extracting Archive dialogue box will open up, leaving you with two options: create a new archive or create an archive using an existing file as your source. If you create a new archive, it's important to note that this will create a blank folder for all of your downloaded files to be placed into when extracted by the user.

To create a self-extracting zip file that includes already existing files, click on 'Browse' and select the files you want to be included in your self-extracting zipped file. You can also add folders to create subfolders for your downloaded files to be placed into as well. After selecting the files, click OK, and you will see that this information has been added to the New Self-Extracting Archive dialogue box, which means you can now create your self-extracting zip file by clicking on OK at this point.

Step 4. Now enter a name for your archive file – make sure there aren't any spaces in the archives name, or if there are, add an underscore "_" in front of it.

Step 5. Click Save to create your new .exe self-extracting zip file with all of your selected files packed inside.

How do I create my own self-extracting zip file with my files?

If you'd like to create a self-extracting zip file with your files, the process is very similar to what we've just discussed. But instead of selecting an existing .zip archive as your source, create the folder or folders that contain all of your desired files.

When creating a new self-extracting zip file, make sure there are no spaces in the name, and if there are, add an underscore "_" in front of it. Otherwise, WinZip will create a new folder for everything to be extracted into, and you won't get the same results as when using an existing folder from before. Once this is done, create your archive by following steps 1 – 5 above.

Get started with WinZip today

Having discussed a step-by-step guide on creating a self-extracting zip file, you are now in a position to create your files easily. To create a self-extracting zip file using  WinZip, download the latest version of WinZip from the official website and create your own zipped download. You can also download the free trial to familiarize yourself with the program.

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