When compressing large files on a Linux system, it can be handy to split them into multiple blocks of a specific size. This is especially true for squeezing a large archive onto multiple discs, or uploading a large archive online in chunks.

Linux makes this possible with tar files, as we've seen in our split tar archive into multiple blocks guide, but you can also do it with zip files.

In this guide, we'll see the step by step instructions to create a zip archive split into multiple blocks. We'll also go through the process of unzipping the split archive.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to split zip archives into multiple files
  • How to open split zip archives
Combining files into a split zip archive
Combining files into a split zip archive
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Any Linux distro
Software zip, unzip
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Split zip archives into multiple blocks

To split zip archives into multiple files, we'll use the -s (splitsize) option of the zip command. Before using the zip utility, you'll need to make sure it's installed on your system. You can check our guide on how to use zip on Linux for help with that.

Let's look at an example. This command will split a zip compressed archive into 5MB chunks:

$ zip -r -s 5m myfiles.zip example-dir/
Combining files into a split zip archive
Combining files into a split zip archive

In our example, we split three large text files into 5MB zip archives. As you can see, the files end up with names like:

$ ls myfiles*
myfiles.z01  myfiles.z02  myfiles.z03  myfiles.z04  myfiles.z05  myfiles.zip

In our command, the -r option is for recursive, which we need for zipping a directory. The -s option, as discussed, splits the zip archive into files of a specified size. In our case, we used 5 megabytes, but you can substitute any number you'd like.


SUBSCRIBE NEWSLETTER & RSS
Subscribe to RSS and NEWSLETTER and receive latest Linux news, jobs, career advice and tutorials.


Open split zip archives

To open the split zip archive that we've created, we need to use the unzip utility. If it's not already installed on your system, you can check our guide on how to unzip a zip file for help.

First, use the zip command to combine the split zip files into a single zip archive. In the example below, we combine the myfiles.zip archives into single-archive.zip.

$ zip -F myfiles.zip --out single-archive.zip
Combining the split zip archives into a single zip file
Combining the split zip archives into a single zip file

Now we can use unzip to open our combined archive.

$ unzip single-archive.zip

Closing Thoughts

In this guide, we saw how to make zip archives on Linux, and have them split into multiple blocks of a certain size. The zip command on Linux is robust enough to include this option, so splitting archives and combining them later ends up being very easy once you know the options to use.

FIND LATEST LINUX JOBS on LinuxCareers.com
Submit your RESUME, create a JOB ALERT or subscribe to RSS feed.
LINUX CAREER NEWSLETTER
Subscribe to NEWSLETTER and receive latest news, jobs, career advice and tutorials.
DO YOU NEED ADDITIONAL HELP?
Get extra help by visiting our LINUX FORUM or simply use comments below.