TL; DR: The standard in file management, compression, and sharing for more than 25 years, WinZip continues to innovate and adapt to new technologies with the 2016 release of WinZip 21. Winning our Developers’ Choice™ award for usability in compression software, WinZip 21 Pro boasts a streamlined user interface that increases productivity by connecting your files across devices, network locations, and cloud services. WinZip offers applications for all platforms and devices — all while continuing to focus on the evolving tenets of file compression, security, sharing, and management.
We’ve all had the same problem, whether on our phone, iPod, laptop, or server — no more space to store that new song, image, or application.
Digital hoarders can rely on WinZip, a long-respected name in file compression that continues to release new products and adapt to new devices and communication methods, as well as storage needs and device limitations.
Their latest release, WinZip 21, capitalizes on offloading files to cloud services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud, to maximize space on users’ devices, according to Vice President of Product Development Bill Richard.
“We’ve gone beyond just a compression tool,” he said. “WinZip has evolved along with the industry to constantly improve, take advantage of new technologies, and make working with compression, security, and file management much simpler.”
WinZip’s 4 Cornerstones to Being a Complete File Management Solution
Even though WinZip is primarily known for zipping and unzipping files, Bill and the team of WinZip developers seek to create a well-rounded product. Beyond compression, WinZip provides tools for file security, sharing, and management.
“One of the things we’ve always tried to think of is offering WinZip as a tool for the big picture that facilitates the goal you’re trying to achieve, rather than just being a compression tool,” he said. “File compression is just one process a user performs to accomplish a specific daily task. We’ve tried to make it so you can accomplish all your daily tasks in one place without having to switch between a number of different tools.”
1. Compression: Zip More File Formats Without Losing Quality
WinZip provides easy access to compression tools by making sure frequently used actions are just a click away on their dynamic user interface. WinZip Express even lets users zip files from other applications including Windows Explorer and Microsoft Office and Outlook, along with scanners and photos.
The WinZip 21 release debuted an extended MP3 compression format that shrinks the audio files by an average of 10 to 15 percent, even though Bill said he has seen a number of files come in 20 to 25 percent smaller.
“If you think about it, an MP3 file is already a compressed audio file,” he said. “We’ve got technology now that continues to squeeze out even more — and we do it using loss-less compression.”
2. Security: Safeguard Your Information With Encryption and Watermarks
When introducing AES encryption to the WinZip platform, the development team brought in one of the industry leaders who worked on the original standard.
“Encryption is not something you can work on as a hobby,” Bill said. “You really need to be an expert in the field.”
Now, WinZip includes 128- or 256-bit encryption that is certified for FIPS 190 and 140, meaning companies using WinZip meet government security requirements.
“You can’t pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading about something being hacked,” Bill said. “WinZip is a key tool in protecting the privacy and security of your business information.”
3. Sharing: Send and Store Files on Social Media, Email, and Cloud
WinZip 21 introduced several tools for sharing large files or links across email, social media, instant messaging, and cloud services. Users can add multiple accounts of the same service, such as those for work and personal use, and access those files seamlessly through a single interface.
The program’s built-in emailer supports IMAP for Gmail and Outlook and lets you combine contacts across your accounts into a consolidated address book. To avoid email data limits, WinZip will upload large zip files to the cloud and insert the link into an email message.
“We’ve extended file management tools not only to your local and network files but to your cloud accounts as well,” Bill said.
4. Management: Seamlessly Access Network Locations and Cloud Storage
Bill, like most of us, has many personal household documents and records. He keeps them in a Dropbox folder he automatically accesses through WinZip — freeing up ample space on his computer’s hard drive.
“WinZip will interact with files in cloud services as naturally as if they were local to my system,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about having local copies of anything.”
Through WinZip, users can easily create and delete folders, copy, move, delete, and rename files, whether on their device, elsewhere on the network, or in the cloud.
Why WinZip is Our Developers’ Choice for Usability
According to Bill, the WinZip family of applications is built to balance simplicity and functionality, appealing to all levels of technical experiences and needs.
“We bring everything down to a couple of clicks for the typical user,” he said. “One of the key things to WinZip’s success has always been our ease of use.”
New User Interface Adapts to Increase Productivity and Visibility
The latest version of WinZip unveiled a dramatically different interface to more closely match how current Microsoft products operate. The familiar icons and menus help users navigate to the tools they need, according to Bill.
WinZip brings those tools to the forefront in the Actions panel, a window that dynamically displays certain features based on the context of the user’s actions.
“We strive to make sure the product is technologically advanced,” Bill said. “Most importantly, it has to be easy for people to use and for administrators to manage and distribute.”
Cross-Platform Support for Mobile and Touch-Enabled Devices
Everything in WinZip 21’s interface was designed to be used on a touch-enabled device or with a mouse, Bill said, adding that WinZip was one of the first software programs designed for 2-in-1 devices.
“If you have a notebook that also converts into a tablet, WinZip understands the orientation and lets you configure your work areas,” he said. “You can optimize the way things are displayed in landscape and portrait modes, or whether you have a keyboard connected.”
In addition to desktop PCs and 2-in-1 devices, WinZip has applications for macOS and iOS, Android, and Windows 10 devices.
“As we continue to develop our mainstay Windows desktop product, we use the technologies we learn in all the other environments to enhance the user experience across all platforms,” Bill said.
Syncing Multiple Cloud Accounts Frees Up Local Storage
The ability to interact with cloud services, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, directly through WinZip saves users time and maximizes storage.
According to Bill, this is particularly useful for customers using portable stick computers, where storage space is at a premium.
“With WinZip as a key program on the stick device, you now have the ability to access all your files from the cloud instead of locally,” he said. “Once you’re finished with a file, WinZip will get rid of the temporary copy and give all the space back.”
25+ Years of File Compression: WinZip Adapts to New Issues and Tech
Even though the tech landscape has changed dramatically, Bill said WinZip continues to face the same basic challenge: How can their customers securely maximize their electronic storage space?
“The more the world has changed, the more it has remained the same,” he said. “The problem always remains but just gets shifted to some new paradigm.”
Starting with big servers, WinZip adapted their compression tools to help users store files on increasingly smaller technology — from CDs and DVDs to cloud platforms, tablets, and smartphones.
“We’re constantly looking at the technical horizon and trying to speculate where the world is going,” Bill said. “How can we take advantage of the changes in a way that WinZip can help the end user? We want the user to continue to think more about the end result of what they’re trying to accomplish and less about how they got there.”