Compress files in Linux

2017/11/10 - Dwayne Hinterlang

There are many different ways to compress files, however, in my experience the options I am about to share with you are the most common.


tar is an acronym for tape-archive. It is an archiving tool by default, which really means creating a single file from a collection of files. It has a wealth of options, some of which will allow you to compress the archive.

tar cfz /path/to/my-compressed-file.tar.gz /path/to/my-folder-to-compress

c Create a new archive.

f Specify the name of the compressed file.

z Use gzip compression on the archived file.


zip is more commonly known than tar across operating systems and available on most distributions by default. It does both archiving and compression as a singular feat.

zip -r /path/to/ /path/to/my-folder-to-compress

r Recursively add items in the source folder.


7z is the swiss army knife of archiving and compression tools. The package name is p7zip. 7z is an open standard compression, it features many alternative compression options including gzip and zip used above.

7z a /path/to/my-compressed-file.7z /path/to/my-folder-to-compress

a Include all files, including already archived files.


Hopefully you are aware of some of the options available to you when you wish to compress files in linux.