Zip files are used for all sorts of reasons but often, the prime reason is to send large files where there is a file limit or when it’s going to be downloaded over a slow internet connection. A zipped file can be significantly smaller than the actual file size but its size will depend on the original file. Realistically, you cannot expect a 5GB file to be compressed to a 1GB file.
If you have a large file that you want to zip, consider breaking it down into smaller zipped files.
Split single file into multiple ZIPs
A single file can be compressed into several ZIPs. The data on the original file isn’t lost or corrupted. The app that you use to compress it will take care of everything but you do need to tell the archiving tool you want the file to be split into more than one archive.
- Download and install 7-zip. You can use other compression apps but we’re going with this one because it offers a simple GUI for end users.
- Navigate to the file that you want to zip, and right-click it.
- From the context menu, select 7-zip>Add to archive…
- Open the ‘Split to volumes, bytes’ dropdown.
- Select one of the volume options, and click OK.
- The archives/zips will be created.
Split volumes, bytes explained
If you select the smallest value in the Split volumes, bytes dropdown, the file will be split into several smaller files. If you select a slightly higher value, the file will be split into fewer files. A higher split value means fewer files, and a lower split value means more files. The files are all numbered in sequence.
You cannot tell 7-zip how many files to split the one large file into. The app will decide based on the split volume that you’ve selected. If the resulting zipped files are still too large, change the split volume size to a smaller value.
You cannot enter a custom split volume size. You can only use the presets that are given in the dropdown.
The zip process will take longer since the file is being split. The app needs to make sure that the file isn’t damaged in the process and that it can still be extracted and used.
There are other apps that can split a file into multiple zips so if 7-zip isn’t working the way you need it to, you can look for alternatives. 7-zip does also have a command-line version so if you’re comfortable using the command-line, you can try using the app through it.