What Is A 7Z File (And How Do I Open One)?

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Key Takeaways

A 7Z file is an archive file created by 7-Zip. Like ZIP and RAR files, 7Z files can be used to compress files so they take up less space. They support encryption, too. To open a 7Z file, install 7-Zip, then double-click the 7Z file. Many other file extraction programs can open 7Z files, too.

You have almost certainly encountered archived files at some point—ZIP, RAR, and so on. They look like a single file, but act a lot more like a package, letting people bundle and compress multiple files and folders into a single, smaller file. 7Z files work the same way, and are particular to the popular 7-Zip compression tool.

What Is a 7Z file?

7Z is the file extension used for an archived file created using 7-Zip, a free, open-source file compression tool. 7Z is similar to other archived formats, such as ZIP, TAR.GZ, RAR, and ISO, but uses a higher compression ratio, along with AES-256 encryption.

Related: How to Password Protect Files and Folders With Encryption

7Z files make it easy to send and download files from the internet and help free up space on your hard drive with their high compression rate used when archiving. They also support ridiculous file sizes—theoretically up to 16 billion GB!

7-Zip is one of the more popular compression tools out there, but most people use it to open or create ZIP files rather than using the more proprietary 7Z files. The main reason for this is compatibility. Pretty much every system out there has a way to open ZIP files, and using 7Z files means people actually need to install 7-Zip or another third-party app that supports them to work with the files. Still, it’s a solid compression format.

How Do I Open a 7Z file?

While most operating systems have a built-in way to work with ZIP files (and some other compression formats, like ISO), they don’t have a built-in option for 7Z files.

If you’re using Windows, the best way to open one you’ve received is to use the free, open-source 7-Zip tool. It also happens to be our favorite compression tool on Windows, even if you’re just using it for ZIP, ISO, RAR, or other compression formats.

On macOS, The Unarchiver is a great tool (also free) that handles lots of compression formats, including 7Z.

On Linux, you can find various 7-Zip packages for various distros at the bottom of the main 7-Zip download page.

And if these tools don’t suit you, there are many other third-party apps that can handle 7Z files for both macOS and Windows.

Opening a 7Z File Using 7-Zip in Windows

We’re going to look at opening 7Z files on Windows here, but if you’re running macOS, you can check out our full guide on opening 7Z and other archive files on macOS.

Opening a file using 7-Zip is extremely easy and can be completed in as little as two steps.

After downloading and installing 7-Zip, navigate to the file you want to open. Right-click the file, point to the “7-Zip” submenu, and then click the “Open Archive” command.

This opens 7-zip and displays the contents of the archive. From here, you can extract the contents to another location on your hard drive using the “Extract” button at the top. Or, if there are only a few files you need from the archive, you can just drag and drop them into a File Explorer window.

Choose a new location for the file(s) to go and click “OK”.

Related: How to Unzip or Extract tar.gz Files on Windows

If you only have a couple archives to extract, downloading software might not be for you. Luckily, there’s a good online service you can use. They don’t store any of your files, and delete them within minutes of extracting them.

Head to B1 Free Archiver, and on the home page, click the big “Click Here” button.

In the popup window, navigate to the 7Z file on your computer, and then click the “Open” button.

The site starts the extraction.

After extraction is complete, you’ll see a list of all the files and folders inside the 7Z file. You can download any of the files to your computer and view any images from the website using the icons to the right.

Whatever OS you’re using, 7Z files are able to be extracted with many third-party software choices or using online applications.

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