How to Extract Zip Files on a Chromebook

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Chromebooks can handle most of the compressed file formats without extensions or apps. That’ll take care of most of your needs. But if you need some additional features, there are always some extensions and apps. This tutorial explains all of those options in detail.

Supported Compressed File Formats

First, let’s take a look at the file formats supported by Chrome OS.

  • .zip
  • .rar
  • .tar
  • .tar.gz (.tgz)
  • .tar.bz2 (.tbz2)

Extracting Zipped Files Without an Extension or App

There is a slight problem here. Chrome OS actually does not extract zip files, at least yet. It allows you to open them, just like you open a USB drive or a memory card, and access files and folders inside.

To open a zip file, double click the file. You will see it open as a new tab on the Files app. Here is how it looks:


You will see the contents of the zip file listed on the Files app. You can copy paste or move files to the Downloads folder or Google Drive within the app.

Extracting Files on Google Drive

We can do this with the help of an extension. ZIP Extractor allows you to unzip (extract or decompress) files in Google Drive. According to the developer:

* The ZIP file can come from your computer or from Google Drive.
* You can choose which files in the ZIP file to extract.
* After extracting the ZIP file, you can share the extracted files with others


You can install the app from here.

As you can see, managing zip files on a Chromebook is not fully functional yet. Not at least as much as we expect it to. But, I am sure Google or the development community will soon come up with a better Chrome Packaged App that handles zip files better. But the ideal scenario will be adding zip file management functionality directly to the Files app.

  1. it’s a great feature!

    just to correct you though, entering the terminal is ctrl + alt + t. ctrl + t only opens a new tab. i’m guessing it was just a typo though.

    also, when enabling this in the terminal, it also turns on ntfs support, so if you have a large external hard drive, it now loads in the file manager.

    lastly, before this update it was not intuitive to move files between folders on the file manager. now you can with cut, copy, and paste!

  2. Thanks for the shout-out, Dinu.

    So far as I’m aware, this would also be available on the Series 5. Maybe a Series 5 owner will let us know. For some reason, I think the Acer is being held back on this dev build (it’s the only machine not up to 0.14.811.15) :

    +Robb. I like the NTFS observation. William mentioned that to me as well, and I failed to really take in what he meant.

    P.S., Dinu, I like the new (or at least recent, right?) Google+ follow widget.

    P.S.P.S. When do you guys think we’ll see Docs’ offline capability? (Google technically has until September 23 — end of summer.)

  3. I also got excited when I saw the copy and paste buttons on the screen capture (and then I felt stupid about it…).

    So far the only thing that I really miss on my chromebook is a way to easily sort and resize my pictures locally before I upload them to picasa web. This could be part of the Picasa pluggin somehow.

    1. I hear you on both accounts. As for the local picture editing capability, I just finished the annoyance of uploading/editing a photo in Picasa, myself, so I feel your pain. I also imagine the Picasa plugin could have the capability baked in.

      1. if i remember correcetly, chrome os has a built in basic image editor on the way as mentioned in the chromium os bugs. it’s supposed to offer basic resize, rotate, crop features.

        1. Awesome. I sure hope so, as those basic features are usually all I want, anyway.

        2. Great!!!
          thx for the info.

  4. Does this work with the acer chrome book????

  5. Tar.gz files don’t open on double-clicking

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