How to Unzip ZIP Files in Google Drive Without Downloading Them First

Saikat Basu 11-12-2019

Wherever you are, you need a tool that can unzip compressed files. ZIP files are, after all, the digital couriers of the web — second only to PDFs when it comes to sharing files.


On the desktop, you have utilities like WinZip and 7-Zip. But what if the ZIP is on Google Drive?

Working With ZIP Files in the Cloud

Imagine someone sent you an archived set of documents or photos in an email. Or shared a compressed ZIP file from a cloud folder. You can take the “normal” route and download it to your desktop, decompress the file, and then work with the contents.

Or you could do this all in the Google Drive folder with ZIP Extractor.

ZIP Extractor is a Chrome extension that extracts files from a ZIP archive in Google Drive. This extension can be an invaluable time-saver if you do a lot of cloud work and want to bypass the inconvenience of unzipping.

Install the Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store. Or open your Google Drive account > New > More > Connect more apps. Search for ZIP Extractor and install it.


How to Unzip ZIP Files in Google Drive Without Downloading Them First ZIP Extractor

Now, you can select any archived file in Google Drive for extraction. Select the file and right-click to Open with the ZIP Extractor for ZIP files stored in Drive. On first use, the extension will ask you to authorize ZIP Extractor to access to Google Drive. After that, the unzip operation takes a couple of steps:

How to Unzip ZIP Files in Google Drive Without Downloading Them First Unzip

  1. The ZIP Extractor screen gives you the option to select the files to extract. By default, all files are selected.
  2. Choose Extract Now to extract into a new folder inside the current folder. You can change the destination folder. 
  3. The extracted file is saved in a folder with the same name as the ZIP file.

Use the ZIP Extractor interface to view the extracted file, share the file, or extract another file. Now, you can work with the extracted files in Google Drive. Do remember that the decompress occurs in the cloud, so the strength of your bandwidth determines the speed of the process.

Take Care of Unzip Operations in the Cloud

ZIP Extractor is a simple but capable extension that extends the utility of your Drive. Yes, there are some small gaps — for instance, it does not directly give you the option to directly download the unzipped files to your desktop — but that’s only a small itch.

Looking for more Google Drive tips? Check out these Google Drive tools and these tips for working with PDF files on Google Drive 10 Tips to Do More With Your PDF Files on Google Drive Google Drive is a full-featured office suite. Some of its key features include the PDF capabilities built into the cloud app. Read More  to get more out of the platform.

Do you work with a lot of compressed files in the cloud? Does ZIP Extractor work as a time saver for you?

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  1. alan
    January 21, 2020 at 8:31 am

    If you have a chromebook, don't use an extension. Use the chromebook's own file manager which will open the zipfolder in your google drive cloud. You can then select all in the folder (ctrl+a), deselect any individually by clicking holding down the ctrl key, then copy (ctrl+c) and paste (ctrl+v) (after possibly navigating to a new location or creating a new folder if desired). After all the unzipped files have been copied to your google drive folder, you can delete the zip folder. This technique is especially useful if your camera photos automatically load to your google photos and you want to organise some of them into folders on your google drive. Chromebooks are great for this sort of thing due to the great included file manager app, just ignore the app store suggestions, you already have the file manager on a chromebook.

  2. Shou
    June 23, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Doesn't work. It DOWNLOAD the zip tomyour computer/ipad (so consuming your data plan), and then tries to unzip and upload. It fails (in iPad), so data plan used to download, and not even in that way, you get your job done :-(

  3. matt b
    June 15, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    as other comments say, this is crap as it downloads then reuploads. a con.

  4. Neeraj
    September 7, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    while convenient, it's most inefficient of bandwidth. It downloads all files to one's PC first, unzips there, then re-uploads!

    • Shalini Khanna
      September 23, 2017 at 2:53 am

      VERY TRUE.
      This looks like yet another cunning promo in guise of a typical 'helpful' HOW-TO article. As one of the early early-adopters of GSuite three years ago, and having used it since, I can very confidently say that NO FREE app - Google/Gsuite or 3rd party/marketplace app would extract your entire archive in the cloud and let you selectively or individually download files. If some do, they'd deliberately max the archive file size limit to a ridiculous 10-50 megs just so that you know it can be done but it has to be purchased for it to make any sense.

      • Kris Mancino
        May 11, 2018 at 11:21 pm

        Absolutely true, Zip extractor has a massive number of good user rating, and surprisingly it is also recommended by Gsuite in their marketplace apps. Considering that it actually downloads the zip files to local storage and then re-uploads, it is nothing better than snake-oil. One can easily accomplish that by downloading normally and re-uploading without any 3rd party tools.
        It is quite disappointing and shameful that such blatantly misleading service providers can get away so easily with conning people right under Google's own nose, unless of course Google is well aware of it and wont bother because there is a huge benefit/profit it wont want to lose.

        • fruoyu
          September 18, 2019 at 1:22 pm

          I agree with these comments. This app is a shady marketing gimmick and has ZERO benefit if all you're looking for is direct unzipping into GD.

          I just uploaded a HUGEE excel file (few gigs) zipped into just a few of hundred MBs and desperately needed to unzip it without a big data plan. So I tried this BUT IT DOWNLOADED AND UPLOADED! I am angry!

          THIS MISLEADING makeuseof ARTICLE should be clearly labelled as such! Why are you promoting crap????

      • Brittney
        April 28, 2020 at 4:05 pm

        Is there a paid app that works? I cannot find anything paid or free that does what this is supposedly supposed to do.