How to Unzip Files in Linux Explained with Examples

The Linux zip program is compatible with all the major operating system.

How to Unzip Files in Linux

In this article, we will explain how to use the unzip command in Linux to easily list, test and extract compressed ZIP archives.

So you’ve been sent a zip file and now you’re stuck figuring how to unzip it’s content on Linux? You can use the unzip command to extract (unzip) the file on Linux.

First you have to install unzip, because it is not installed by default in most Linux distributions.

Install unzip command on Fedora / CentOS / Redhat

yum install unzip

Install unzip command on Ubuntu / Debian / Linux Mint

apt install unzip

How to Unzip a ZIP File in Linux with the unzip Command

Using unzip command in Linux is absolutely simple. You need to tell unzip the name of the ZIP file which you want to unzip.

unzip <archivename>

For example, in the directory, where you have zip file named, to unzip it the command would be:

 extracting: file1.txt             
 extracting: file2.txt

Just like zip, unzip has a -q (quiet) option, so that you do not need to see the file listing as the files are extracted.

unzip -q

In addition, a good practice is to unzip to directory in Linux command line. This way, all the extracted files are stored in the directory you specified. If the directory doesn’t exist, it will create one.

unzip -d my_files/
 extracting: my_files/file1.txt    
 extracting: my_files/file2.txt

You can list the content of the zip file without even extracting it with the -l option.

unzip -l
  Length      Date    Time    Name
---------  ---------- -----   ----
        0  2020-08-25 23:37   file1.txt
        0  2020-08-25 23:37   file2.txt
---------                     -------
        0                     2 files

Sometime you may want to test a zip archive without extracting it. To test the validity of the zip file, pass option -t as shown below.

unzip -t
    testing: file1.txt      OK
    testing: file2.txt      OK
No errors detected in compressed data of

This option extracts each specified file in memory and compares the CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check, an enhanced checksum) of the expanded file with the original’s stored CRC value.


Now you know how to unzip files in Linux. For detailed information you can head to the command’s man page. To create a ZIP archive on a Linux system, you can use the zip command.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.

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