A quick guide to compress files/folders by command


To create .tar.gz or .tgz archive files, also called tarballs.

to compress an entire folder or a single file

tar -czvf archive.tar.gz /path/to/directory-or-file

The options:

- -c: create an archive
- -z: compress the archive with gzip
- -v: Display progress during the creating.
- -f: allow you to specify the filename of output file

compress a folder into a file:

 tar -czvf archive.tar.gz stuff

compress multiple folders at once

tar -czvf archive.tar.gz /folder1 /folder2 /folder3

compress with exclude f/d

tar -czvf archive.tar.gz /folder --exclude=*.mp4 -exclude=/folder/sub

compress harder with bzip2 instead of gzip

tar -cjvf archive.tar.bz2 /folder

extract from a .tar/.tar.gz

tar -xzvf archive.tar.gz

extract to a new location

tar -xzvf archive.tar.gz -C /path/to/new

extract from a .tar.bz2

tar -xjvf archive.tar.gz


compress a folder, this will result in a much higher compression rate, but takes longer to compress and decompress.

tar -cJvf etc.tar.xz /folder

extract from a tar.xz file

xz -d file.tar.xz OR
unxz file.tar.xz


Zip format is natively supported on Windows, this one is especially present in cross-platform environments

compress a list of file

zip file1 file2 file3

compress multiple folders

zip -r /folder1 -r /folder2

compress with exclude

zip file -r /folder -x /folder/sub/\* -x /folder/another-sub/file