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Tutorial | Opening and Using Zip Files

This quick and Easy tutorial will walk you through downloading and unzipping your new favorite designs


Zip files are a great way to transfer data. When you download cut files, most of the time you will receive a zip file. These contain all of the included file types and help compress all of the data so it will take less space when uploading and download faster.


If you're new to zip files, this is a great place to start your new cut file journey. We'll have you uploading your new goodies in no time so you can get to cutting. 


Where's My Download?


So you just found a design you want to make and you've clicked the Download button. Now what?


If you're on a Mac, you're new files should be on your desktop (and maybe already unzipped, but we'll get to that in a bit).


If you're on a PC, usually you'll find your file in the Downloads Folder:


How to find the Download Folder on a PC


There are a couple of quick ways to find your downloads:

  • click on the Windows icon at the bottom left corner of your screen which will pop out the menu on the left here, then click on This PC
  • open any folder and click Downloads in the left hand menu there
  • search for the name of the file you just downloaded using the Search Bar on the upper right corner of the open folder


If it's not in the downloads folder and you're using a browser like Chrome, a bar will pop up at the bottom of the web explorer window showing that the folder has downloaded. You can double click on that to open it and figure out where it's hiding.


Unzipping on a PC


Ok, so you found your file. It should look like a file folder with a zipper on it. This just means it's all zipped up and compressed so before we can use any of the files in it, they need to be extracted.


If you want to double check what's inside the folder before you extract it, you can double click on it to show the contents. You should see something like this:


Zip file preview of the contents 


Now go back to the Downloads folder, or the location you downloaded it. (Make sure the icon has a zipper on it.)


Now you'll right click the zip folder and a menu will pop up:


Unzipping a zip file - extract all


Click on Extract All... and a new window will pop up:


Unzipping a file - Extract All Destination Pop-Up


In the new window you can browse to choose a different location to keep your folder, change the folder name or just extract it with the same name as the zip file in the same location.  


If you check Show extracted files when complete, it will pop up a new window with the folder open for you.  Great option if you need to access your files fast.


Once the extraction is done, you'll have two folders with the same name - the usable folder and the original zip file. Deleting the zip file or not is up to you. If you purchased it from Etsy or here, you have a permanent link so you can re-download it as long as you have an account.


I like to move the zip file into the extracted folder just in case anything happens to the files. I've accidentally saved changes over the original file before. If that ever happens, you can always just extract the original files again.  


Unzipping on a Mac


Mac user? You got easy! Downloads automatically go to your desktop and unzipping is as easy as a double click on the folder.


Want to choose whether or not your zip files open automatically? It's a handy little check box. Click Safari in your open web browser, then Preferences. At the bottom of the General Tab, you'll see a checkbox that says, "Open 'safe' files after downloading." If you tend to only download from the same sites, this can be a time saver, but if you'd like to stay on the safe side you can un-check it.




There are a couple of alternate programs you can use if your computer doesn't have the software built in or you just want to use something else.  The most popular are WinZip and 7zip.  I actually use 7zip for the added options.  


When you right click to extract the file you'll see an option on the menu for 7zip.  When you choose that a sub-menu will pop up:


Extracting zip files with 7-Zip


Click Extract Files. You can leave the default to save to a folder with the same name or change the name and location in the pop up.


Choosing "Extract Here" will actually pull all of the files and folders out of the zip file and leave them loose in the folder you are in.  This option works if you are extracting in a new folder you created for this file.  


Other options that come in handy using 7-Zip:

  • Add to - create a zip folder, plus if you already have one created but added something to the original, when you select this it automatically adds any new files to the original zip
  • Compress to .. and email - exactly what it says, it zips the folder than opens your email if you Outlook to start a new email
  • Test Archive - tests the zip file for any errors or corruption 


So what are you waiting for?  


You're ready to start unzipping those cute designs and using them. So warm up your Silhouette or Cricut and prepare for some fun!


Still having trouble with your files or getting a pesky corrupt notification? Click here to learn why and how to fix it.


Have any questions I forgot to cover? Leave a note below or shoot me a message and let's talk about it.


Happy crafting!


Cricut and Silhouette User Tutorial on How to Use and Open Zip Files