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Regardless of the type of file you're sending to someone, if you're using the Internet to send the file, whether via email or a web-based sharing service, another habit you should get into is compressing your files before sending them. When it comes to the web, file size still matters a lot and is a major determining factor in how long it takes to send and receive a file or whether you can send the file at all. Compressing a file does just what it sounds like. It makes the file smaller. Fortunately, Windows 7 has the built- in ability to compress files in the most popular compression format, the ZIP format. Let's see how it works. I have here at my desktop the three PDFs I created in the previous movie as well as the Word document they were created from.
Now I could easily open a new email message and drag all these files into the message as separate attachments. But you're going to find that compressing multiple files into a single attachment generally results in all the files getting to their destination without corruption or errors, much more frequently than sending everything uncompressed as individual attachments. But this isn't to say that you shouldn't compress single files. Even if I were only sending a single word processing document, I would probably still compress it, especially if it's a large document. Word processors are notorious for not being very efficient with the amount of space their files take up.
So to zip these files, I simply select them all by dragging a rectangular marquee to touch them all. Now right click on any of the selected files and choose Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder. Now don't let the wording of this command fool you. You are not really sending the files anywhere. You are creating a ZIP file containing compressed versions and copies of the selected files. So l will select Compressed (zipped) folder and just like that I have this ZIP file on my desk. At this point I'd like to rename the file to something little less generic and more descriptive. I will call this Handbook Copies, and you can tell it's a compressed file because the photo looks like it has a zipper on it.
So now I have this single file I could attach to an email that's a little smaller in size than the original collection of documents. If I select these documents and right-click and choose Properties, I can see that their size on the disk is 840KB, not really that big. But if I do the same for Handbook Copies, I can see its size on disk is only 764, so just a little bit less. You'll see a much larger difference in files sizes when you're compressing more files. Now a question often arises here is how does compression work? Well, to explain that in very basic terms, compression programs examine the contents of a file and try to locate redundant information, which it can then use a sort of shorthand to compress.
For example, I will just type some letters here in Notepad like AAAAAIIIIIIEEEE. So let's say I wanted to compress this exclamation. Well, a compression algorithm might look at this and say okay, there are 5 As, so I will write 5A, and there are one two three four five six Is so we will write 6I, and there are four Es. So the compressed version of this might be 5A6I4E, which is much shorter than spelling out the entire thing.
Now again, this is a highly simplified explanation how compression works, but I think it's a fair representation. Go ahead and close that. All right, so what happens when you are on the receiving end of a compressed or a zipped file? Well again, Windows 7 will require no additional software to expand or unpack a ZIP file. Let's say I just received a ZIP file and I have copied it my desktop. First let me drag these other files that we compressed into the Recycle Bin, so we are not confused here. Now to see the contents of a ZIP file just double-click it. That opens a window showing you what it contains, but you haven't technically unzipped the file yet.
Now I can actually open a file in here by double -clicking it. I will open up the Word document. But currently this file and any other file that's in a ZIP file is in a Read Only state, meaning, I can't save any changes I might make to it. Notice it says Read Only up here in the title bar. That means if I change some text, for example, if I change the revised date and I click Save, notice I am prompted to save a copy of this file somewhere, instead of Word just saving the change to the file that I am working on. Let me cancel that. Now it's really not that big a deal, but if you want to work with the original files you were sent in the ZIP file, you need to expand or unzip them.
I am going to close Word without saving, and again here I am looking at the zipped file window, and in here I will click extract all files. I am prompted to choose a location to save the files. I will keep them on my Desktop inside of a folder called Handbook Copies, and Windows will automatically open that folder when it finishes extracting everything. So I will click Extract. There is the folder we just extracted. Notice it looks different than the ZIP version of it, and now I am looking at the contents of the folder here. So now I will open that Word file again, and notice it no longer says Read Only in the title bar.
So if I make that change that I did previously and click the Save button, it just saved my change to the file I am working on, instead of prompting me to save a copy. So that's how to both create and work with zipped files in Windows 7. Mac OS X also has ZIP creating and opening capabilities built-in. So if you have to send files to Mac users, you can still zip them up and know that they will be able to open them.
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