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VBA code to Zip and Unzip files and folders

VBA Code Snippets

Recently, I have been working on a project which requires the zipping and unzipping files and folders.  Zip files are now a common method of compressing files and folders for sharing.  As software becomes more complex, file sizes increase, however there is often a limit to the file size an e-mail provider will allow.  For example, Google currently allows a maximum file size of 25MB to be sent.  Putting all the attachments into a single zip file can help get around this issue, as the files are compressed to be smaller.

The code snippets below are based on a section from Excel 2016 Power Programming with VBA by Michael Alexander/Dick Kusleika and from Ron de Bruin’s site.

Whilst working with Zip files, I wanted to make a reusable procedure which I could call when ever required.  The code below was created for that purpose.  These code snippets do not create, delete or check for the existence of the files or folders which it uses.  Check out the following code snippets to cover these areas:

UPDATE: As discussed in the comments section below.  Do not declare a String variable to hold the file paths, this will not work with the Shell.Application.  Declare a Variant variable to hold the file paths, this will ensure the code runs smoothly.

Create a zip file from a folder

This procedure has only a few steps:

  1. Create an empty zip file
  2. Copy the files from the folder into the zip file
  3. Wait for all the zip files to stop compressing
Sub CreateZipFile(folderToZipPath As Variant, zippedFileFullName As Variant)

Dim ShellApp As Object

'Create an empty zip file
Open zippedFileFullName For Output As #1
Print #1, Chr$(80) & Chr$(75) & Chr$(5) & Chr$(6) & String(18, 0)
Close #1

'Copy the files & folders into the zip file
Set ShellApp = CreateObject("Shell.Application")
ShellApp.Namespace(zippedFileFullName).CopyHere ShellApp.Namespace(folderToZipPath).items

'Zipping the files may take a while, create loop to pause the macro until zipping has finished.
On Error Resume Next
Do Until ShellApp.Namespace(zippedFileFullName).items.Count = ShellApp.Namespace(folderToZipPath).items.Count
    Application.Wait (Now + TimeValue("0:00:01"))
On Error GoTo 0

End Sub

To call the procedure above the following code can be used within another procedure.  Change the paths to be the folder you wish to zip and the name you want the zip folder to be called.

Call CreateZipFile("C:\Users\marks\Documents\ZipThisFolder\", "C:\Users\marks\Documents\")

This procedure will overwrite any zip folder with the same name.

Unzip a zip file to a folder

Unzipping is a much easier process and only requires the files to be copied from the zip file into the folder.

Sub UnzipAFile(zippedFileFullName As Variant, unzipToPath As Variant)

Dim ShellApp As Object

'Copy the files & folders from the zip into a folder
Set ShellApp = CreateObject("Shell.Application")
ShellApp.Namespace(unzipToPath).CopyHere ShellApp.Namespace(zippedFileFullName).items

End Sub

To call the procedure above the following code can be used within another procedure.  Change the paths to be the name of the zip file you wish to unzip and the folder you wish to put the unzipped files into.

Call UnzipAFile("C:\Users\marks\Documents\", "C:\Users\marks\Documents\UnzipHereFolder\")

How does this code actually work?

It is rarely explained how this code creates a zip file.  Let me show you.

Create an empty zip file just using windows.  Right-click in a folder and select New-> Compressed (zipped) folder.

Create Zip folder with Windows

Now open that file in Notepad.  The section of code (highlighted in blue) informs windows this file is a zip file.  The file is empty, so there is no code from other files in there.

Open Zip folder in notepad

The code below is the line which inserts that same character string at the start of the file.  As a result, Windows believes this is a zip folder.

Print #1, Chr$(80) & Chr$(75) & Chr$(5) & Chr$(6) & String(18, 0)

Even if we’ve created a zip file, we still need to get the files into it.  The native VBA code is not able to copy to/from a zip file, so the code uses the Shell.Application to copy the files.  Using the Shell.Application is similar to using the Windows environment, which is able to copy and paste files into a zip folder.

It is these two things together which really drive the functionality of this code.


Want to Learn VBA & Macros?

If you want to automate Excel and save time, my recommended resouces for learning VBA Macros are:

35 thoughts on “VBA code to Zip and Unzip files and folders

    • Excel Off The Grid says:

      Hi Yasser,

      Possible causes for the ’91’ error could be:
      (1) The file name and file path to the zip file is not correct
      (2) The file path to the unzip location folder is not correct
      (3) The word ‘Set’ is missing from the start of the following line of code:
      Set ShellApp = CreateObject(“Shell.Application”)

    • Resulter says:

      Hi guys,
      I am trying so hard to make my code below running and I can’t figure out why I am getting Run-time error 91!

      My variables are declared as variants (as they should be), the paths are correct and folders are created.

      The purpose of this code is to ask for folder with zipped files and then extract all ZIP files into the existing path e.g. “c:\test\NEW_PROJECT\”

      Sub create_new_project()
      Dim oApp As Object
      Dim FolderWithZipFiles As Variant
      Dim UnzipedDirPath As Variant
      Dim ProjectPath As Variant
      Dim ZipName As Variant
      Dim ZipPath As Variant

      ProjectPath = “c:\test\”
      UnzipedDirPath = ProjectPath & “NEW_PROJECT\”
      FolderWithZipFiles = GetFolder

      ZipName = Dir(FolderWithZipFiles & “\*.zip”)
      Do While ZipName “”
      ZipPath = FolderWithZipFiles & “\” & ZipName

      Set oApp = CreateObject(“Shell.Application”)
      oApp.Namespace(UnzipedDirPath).CopyHere oApp.Namespace(ZipPath).Items
      End Sub
      Function GetFolder(Optional strPath As String) As Variant
      Dim fldr As FileDialog
      Dim sItem As String
      Set fldr = Application.FileDialog(msoFileDialogFolderPicker)
      With fldr
      .Title = “Choose a folder with ZIPed analyzes”
      .AllowMultiSelect = False
      .InitialFileName = strPath
      If .Show -1 Then GoTo NextCode
      sItem = .SelectedItems(1)
      End With
      GetFolder = sItem
      Set fldr = Nothing
      End Function

      Can anyone help me please? I spent few hours solving why the hell I get the Run-time 91 error. Thanks a lot!

      • Excel Off The Grid says:

        Hi Resulter,
        I can see a few issues with the code:

        (1) Do While ZipName “”
        needs to become
        Do While ZipName <> “”

        (2) If .Show – 1 Then GoTo NextCode
        Needs to become
        If .Show <> -1 Then GoTo NextCode

        (3) Add the following line just above the Loop command:
        ZipName = Dir

        Then it should work.

        • Resulter says:

          Hi Excel Off The Grid,
          points 1 and 2 are actually the way you proposed in my code. It has just been copied here in some strange way. I certainly have marks in the correct place as you proposed. The last point makes sence and I added it to my code but it still didn’t solve my issue with run-time error 91.

          I also tried to convert the type of variables by CVar() like this:
          oApp.Namespace(CVar(UnzipedDirPath)).CopyHere oApp.Namespace(CVar(ZipPath)).Items

          Still getting the error 91 and dunno why 🙁

          • Excel Off The Grid says:

            After making the changes I noted above I was able to get files to unzip – I will send you the exact code.

            This makes me think it is not an issue with the VBA code, but an alternative issue.

  1. Yasser says:

    Thank you very much for your reply
    I have my files on desktop >> the compressed file is “TestFolderZipped” and there is a folder named “TestFolder” on the desktop too
    And the excel file on the desktop too
    And I used this code

    Sub Test_UnZipFile()
    Dim strPath As String

    strPath = ThisWorkbook.Path & “\TestFolder\”
    If Len(Dir(strPath, vbDirectory)) = 0 Then MkDir strPath

    Call UnZipFile(ThisWorkbook.Path & “\”, strPath)
    MsgBox “Done…”, 64
    End Sub

    Sub UnZipFile(zippedFileFullName As Variant, unzipToPath As Variant)
    Dim shellApp As Object

    Set shellApp = CreateObject(“Shell.Application”)
    shellApp.Namespace(unzipToPath).CopyHere shellApp.Namespace(zippedFileFullName).items
    End Sub

    • Excel Off The Grid says:

      If you define the strPath as a Variant rather than a String, it should work.
      Replace this:
      Dim strPath As String

      With this:
      Dim strPath As Variant

      Let me know if that solves it.

  2. Yasser says:

    Thanks a lot .. That worked fine and great
    But why Variant
    Is this line : ThisWorkbook.Path & “\TestFolder\” is considered String?

    • Excel Off The Grid says:

      Somebody may correct me on this, but I believe it’s because the Shell.Application views it as a folder object rather than a String, which is why it needs to be a Variant. By passing a String between the procedures it remains as a String, therefore it is necessary to create it as a Variant initially.

  3. Ashwin says:

    Want small help from vba experts, have data with multiple clients mapped to employee in Excel which later I am saving in . PDF file format of every client mapped on the basis of employee for I. G.


    Now want to zip on the basis of emp and send email to emp

    Kindly suggest

    • Excel Off The Grid says:

      Hi Ashwin – as this is not a support forum, I can only help readers with specific problems if and when I have time.

      I have received your file, but not had chance to look at it yet. I hope to look at it later today.

      As it appears you want a faster resolution than I can provide, I suggest you try the Mr Excel forum. Alternatively Ron de Bruin’s site provides code you could adapt.

  4. Abou says:

    Dear All

    Hope you are fiine.

    I have an issue with my vba code. Would it be possible to help.

    Indeed, when I run the macro I have this issue: Argument not optional

    Many thanks for your support

    Sub Unzip()

    ‘Dim fpath1 As String

    Dim fpath, fpath2 As String
    Dim fname00, fname01 As Range

    Set fname00 = Range(“E1”)
    Set fname01 = Range(“E2”)

    ‘fpath1 = Worksheets(“DB”).Range(“E6”).Value

    fpath2 = Worksheets(“DB”).Range(“E10”).Value

    For i = 1 To 3

    fpath = “G:\DGI\Commun\Risk Management\04. Gestion des risques\16.Compliance Reports Zest\” & fname00 & “\” & fname01 & “\” & “Reports” & (i) & “.zip”

    Call UnzipAFile(fpath, fpath2)

    Next i

    End Sub

    Sub UnzipAFile(zippedFileFullName As Variant, unzipToPath As Variant)

    Dim ShellApp As Object

    ShellApp = CreateObject(“Shell.Application”)

    Shell.Namespace(unzipToPath).copyhere Shell.Namespace(zippedFileFullName).items

    End Sub

    • Excel Off The Grid says:

      Hi Abou,

      From looking at your code there appear to be a few of issues:

      1) fpath and fpath2 need to be created a Variant variables, rather than String variables. (See Yasser’s question above).

      2) ShellApp = CreateObject(“Shell.Application”) needs have Set at the start because it is an object. It becomes:
      Set ShellApp = Create….etc.

      3) Both instances of Shell.Namespace in the last line of code should be changed to ShellApp.Namespace

      Then I think it should work.

  5. Rick says:

    hi all,
    apologies for my ignorance but I just cant get this to work. I have a folder named “New Folder (2)” this folder contains 20 pdf documents.
    I have coding that will count the files in the folder. I then want it to, if the file count is over 10, create a zip folder, add all the files to it, save the zip folder in the current location and delete all the original pdf’s. (leaving only the zip folder in New Folder (2))

    I have trawled the internet and have several problems with any and all codes that I have found.
    using this code (which ive copied and pasted) lets start with my first error

    I press F8 to step into the code and it just beeps at me, nothing happens.

    forgive my complete stupidity but help!

  6. Rick says:

    Thanks Mark. I used the above code for create zip file (ill be honest I didn’t understand the on error bit so I left it out). still works so im happy.
    thanks for this great info. next step-delete the files once i’ve zipped. time for a search!
    thanks again

  7. Subi says:

    Hi , All,
    I have a query .
    I have 2 folders (101,102) in a folder
    ‘both 101& 102 folder contains some files
    Sub NewZip(sPath)
    ‘Create empty Zip File
    If Len(dir(sPath)) > 0 Then Kill sPath
    Open sPath For Output As #1
    Print #1, Chr$(80) & Chr$(75) & Chr$(5) & Chr$(6) & String(18, 0)
    Close #1
    End Sub

    Sub Zip_All_Files_in_Folde(s As String)
    Dim DefPath As String
    Dim strDate As String
    DefPath = “D:\subi\”
    For i = 100 to 103
    Dim oApp As Object
    Dim FileNameZip, FolderName

    FolderName = DefPath & i ‘ “d:\kyc\100” ‘ the zipping folder name ‘<< Change
    strDate = Format(Now, " dd-mmm-yy h-mm-ss")
    FileNameZip = DefPath & "" ' to be the zipped folder

    'Create empty Zip File
    NewZip (FileNameZip)
    Set oApp = CreateObject("Shell.Application")
    'Copy the files to the compressed folder
    oApp.Namespace(FileNameZip).CopyHere oApp.Namespace(FolderName)
    Set oApp = Nothing
    Set FileNameZip = Nothing
    Set FolderName = Nothing
    End Sub

    My issue is while zipping the 102 folder zipping with out any contants.
    If I tried
    oApp.Namespace(FileNameZip).CopyHere oApp.Namespace(FolderName).items
    instead of
    'oApp.Namespace(FileNameZip).CopyHere oApp.Namespace(FolderName)
    all the files will be zipped . But my requirement is if i unzipped the 101 folder with the option extract here, 101 folder should be extracted with its contents in it.

  8. Dan Harrier says:

    I also had the Error 91.

    My zippedFilePath was being imported from a global variable set prior: “Public ZipFilePath as String”, which was set to “C:\MyZippedFiles\”.

    Once it reset is as “Public ZipFilePath as Variant”, it worked fine.

  9. Srimanta says:

    Hi All,

    The unzipping code is working fine for me. But i have another issue that after unzipping i am moving the file to a certain folder. I am using the below syntax for this unzipping and file moving
    ShellApp.Namespace(unzipToPath).CopyHere ShellApp.Namespace(zippedFileFullName).items

    Before unzipping i don t know the file name so unable to check that file already exists or not in the target folder. so after executing this line some times file replace windows is coming , so manually i have to click the replace file option. I have used Application.DisplayAlerts = False, still getting the replace file window. Please help me here.
    Thanks in advance.

  10. Ben Houghton says:

    Thanks for this code.
    I tried running it in Word 2007, on a Win10 machine and when the code gets to the copyhere statement I get a ‘message :-
    ‘Please insert the last disk of the multi-volume set and press OK to continue’ so I’m guessing there’s something about the file header it doesn’t like, but what?

    • Excel Off The Grid says:

      My advice would be to upgrade to a 365 subscription, and make use of all the new features 🙂

      Word 2007 is a very old version, which I don’t have. Without recreating the issue, I’m not sure I can help much further.

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