Help with Zip Files

CAD Files for Woodworkers - Loren Hutchinson


Should You Buy CAD Software?

This article may help you make that decision.

Several people have written to me about having difficulty with handling zip files. If you are not familiar with file compression software such as PKZIP or WINZIP, I hope this page will explain how to extract drawings and open them from the files on this site.

Zip files (files that have a .zip extension in the filename) are archive files that contain one or more files within them. I use file compression to save space on my ISP's server. A CAD drawing will compress at a 10:1 ratio, making a 1Mb drawing take up the space of a 100Kb file. Most of the zip files on my site have just one archived file inside. A few have more than one. Without going into details about the different compression software (PKZIP and WINZIP), here are the steps to extracting a drawing and viewing it.


1. Download the drawing desired. Note the name of the file and where it is being stored on your hard drive.

2. Use either PKZIP or WINZIP to "open" the file. The window will display the files that are archived in the zip file. Most of the time this will be one drawing file with a .dxf (Drawing Exchange Format) extension. There might also be a .jpg (image) file or the drawing might be in the original format of the CAD program that created it.

3. Highlight the file(s) you want to extract from the zip file and use the software's menu to "extract"  (uncompress) the files and save them to your hard drive. Note the names of the files and where they are being stored on your computer.

4. Use your CAD software to open and display the drawing files extracted from the zip file.

PKZIP and/or WINZIP do not display drawings. The only function they serve is to compress and uncompress the drawings. You must have CAD software (or a graphics program that handles Drawing Exchange Formatted files) to view the drawings.


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