Python Utilities

Use python to zip a file and directory

A compressed file contains many files, directory and subdirectories. Many applications are available to create a compress file of any large file or directory and retrieve files or folders by extracting a compressed file. When we want to transfer any large or folder over the Internet then it is better to compress the content before transferring. This makes the task faster. You can use python scripts for compressing and extracting any large file or directory. zipfile module of python is used to do the task. How you can use python3 to compress any file or directory is shown in this tutorial by using various examples.

Example-1: Compressing a single file

Create a new file named ‘zipcode1.py’ and add the following code. zipfile module is imported to compress the file. temp.zip is assigned as zip file name with write mode and next, the original filename, temp.txt and compress type are given as parameters in the write method.

import zipfile
zip_file = zipfile.ZipFile('temp.zip', 'w')
zip_file.write('temp.txt', compress_type=zipfile.ZIP_DEFLATED)
zip_file.close()

Run the script

$ python3 zipcode1.py

The size of temp.txt is 27 bytes and after compression, the size of temp.zip is 2 bytes.

Example-2: Compressing a particular directory

Create a new file named ‘zipcode2.py’ and add the following code. A directory may contains many files, folders and subfolders. To read the content of the directory, os module of python is imported with zipfile module to compress the directory. In this script, mydir directory is used for compression.

# import required modules
 
import os
import zipfile
 
 
# Declare the function to return all file paths of the particular directory
def retrieve_file_paths(dirName):
 
  # setup file paths variable
  filePaths = []
   
  # Read all directory, subdirectories and file lists
  for root, directories, files in os.walk(dirName):
    for filename in files:
        # Create the full filepath by using os module.
        filePath = os.path.join(root, filename)
        filePaths.append(filePath)
         
  # return all paths
  return filePaths
 
 
# Declare the main function
def main():
# Assign the name of the directory to zip
  dir_name = 'mydir'
   
  # Call the function to retrieve all files and folders of the assigned directory
  filePaths = retrieve_file_paths(dir_name)
   
  # printing the list of all files to be zipped
  print('The following list of files will be zipped:')
  for fileName in filePaths:
    print(fileName)
     
  # writing files to a zipfile
  zip_file = zipfile.ZipFile(dir_name+'.zip', 'w')
  with zip_file:
    # writing each file one by one
    for file in filePaths:
      zip_file.write(file)
       
  print(dir_name+'.zip file is created successfully!')
   
# Call the main function
if __name__ == "__main__":
  main()

Run the script

$ python3 zipcode2.py

The size of mydir is 21 bytes and after compression, the size of mydir.zip is 2 bytes.

Example-3: Compressing a directory given by command line argument

Create a new file named ‘zipcode3.py’ and add the following code. To read the command line value, another python module sys is imported with os and zipfile modules.

# import required modules
 
import os
import sys
import zipfile
 
# Declare the function to return all file paths of a particular directory
def retrieve_file_paths(dirName):
 
  # setup file paths variable
  filePaths = []
   
  # Read all directory, subdirectories and file lists
  for root, directories, files in os.walk(dirName):
    for filename in files:
      # Create the full filepath by using os module.
      filePath = os.path.join(root, filename)
      filePaths.append(filePath)
       
  # return all paths
  return filePaths
 
 
# Declare the main function
def main():
 
  # Check two arguments are given at the time of running the script
  if len (sys.argv) != 2 :
    print ("You have enter the name of the directory to zip")
    sys.exit (1)
   
  # Set the directory name from command argument
  dir_name = sys.argv[1]
   
  # Set the zip file name
  zipFileName = dir_name + ".zip"
   
  # Call the function to retrieve all files and folders of the assigned directory
  filePaths = retrieve_file_paths(dir_name)
   
  # print the list of files to be zipped
  print('The following list of files will be zipped:')
  for fileName in filePaths:
    print(fileName)
   
  # write files and folders to a zipfile
  zip_file = zipfile.ZipFile(zipFileName, 'w')
  with zip_file:
    # write each file seperately
    for file in filePaths:
      zip_file.write(file)
       
  print(zipFileName+' file is created successfully!')
   
# Call the main function
if __name__ == "__main__":
  main()

Run the script

$ python3 zipcode3.py

test is given as directory name in the command line argument. The size of test is 21 bytes and after compression, the size of test.zip is 2 bytes.

I hope, this tutorial will help you to use python for compressing any file or directory.

About the author

Fahmida Yesmin

Fahmida Yesmin

I am a trainer of web programming courses. I like to write article or tutorial on various IT topics. I have a YouTube channel where many types of tutorials based on Ubuntu, Windows, Word, Excel, WordPress, Magento, Laravel etc. are published: Tutorials4u Help.