How to use the 7-zip file manager with the NVDA screen reader

What is the 7-zip file manager?

7-zip is a free and open source utility used to compress files into archives. This can also be referred to as ”zipping” (or compressing) files/folders into a particular format (such as a zip file). These files/folders can then later also be “unzipped” (or uncompressed).

Where can I obtain a copy of 7-zip file manager from?

You can download a copy of the 7-Zip program from the following link at

After you have downloaded it and set it up

To start your copy of 7-zip file manager, press the Windows key, then go to the all apps/ programs section on your computer. The name of this section will depend on your operating system. 7-zip will show up under this section.

When you first open up 7-zip file manager, you will be presented with some drive letters that are on your computer. This will depend on which drives are connected to your computer/laptop. For example C: drive, D: drive and so on. You can arrow down or up this section to pick a drive. To go into any of the drives you can press the Enter key and you will be taken inside that drive. When you are inside the drive, you will be given a list of folders/ files that you can navigate through with the down or up arrow keys. Press the Enter key again on a folder and you will be taken within that folder again. This cannot be done to a file.

To go back out of each folder, you can use the Backspace key or do it through the View/Up One Level Backspace menu.

You will also notice that there is an old style menu that goes from left to right and when activated with the Alt key, a submenu will drop down for each section. It is a matter of using the left and right arrow keys to navigate the main menus and the down or up arrow keys to navigate the submenus.

Zipping and unzipping a zip file

In most cases, you will either be zipping up files - to compress space on your hard drive, or to move them to another drive. This may even be via email. There may be cases where you want to send them to a friend. Think of the zip file like a briefcase -  where all of the files are put into it that you want to send - then zipped up to send them. When it gets to the other end, they will unzip the file and see the contents that you have sent to them. This could be photos, documents and so on.

You can either zip up a bunch of files or you can zip up a whole folder. This will depend on what you want to do with them.

Zipping up a bunch of files to send via email

If you want to zip up a whole folder and send it via email, the easiest way (within the 7-zip file manager) is to locate the folder you want to send. Next, if your keyboard has it, press the applications key until the context menu comes up. Next, arrow until you hear NVDA say 7-zip submenu. Use the right arrow key to open this submenu, then arrow down to the options that you want. The folder name when zipped will be given the name of the original folder, but in whatever zip format you choose). In most cases you will zip the folder/files into a zip file, then email them. The file name will be the name of the folder when you go to email it. For example Compress to "Van Morrison Payin'" and email. When you see the menu as above, press the Enter key then your email client will come up and attach the zip file for you. Then, it is a matter of just entering in the email address to the person who you want to send it to and the subject line, then sending it.

Just zipping the whole folder

You do not have to email it every time. There is an option there as well just to zip the folder into a zip file. Using the applications key to get to this menu, (while on the folder in 7-zip file manager), choose the option (for example) called add to "Van Morrison Payin'".

The name of your zip file will be different to the one mentioned above.

If there is no application key on your keyboard, you can also use the Shift + F10 key to bring up the context menu.

Zipping up certain files only (to email or back them up - for example photos)

If you do not want to send a whole folder to someone, you can also send them certain files within that folder or place that you are looking in. If this is the case, you can use the Shift key + the up or down, left or right arrow keys to select the files you want.

Then, it is a matter of zipping the files (either to send via the email function or just zipping them to back them up and moving them onto a removable drive.

Unzipping the file that was sent to you

In most cases, you would put your zipped file onto your desktop, so that it is easier to find after it has been emailed to you. Locate the zip file that was sent to you, then press the Enter key on it. If there is already the 7-zip file manager program on your computer/laptop, when you press the Enter key on the zip file, it may show the following. (For example the name of the folder that was sent to you - usually the file name). Select the file name folder, then press the Enter key on it. You will now see the contents of the zip file.

From here, you can select all of the files, then copy them to another location if you want to. You can also use the Applications key to open the zip file. When the context menu comes up, you will be given different options. The first option will be to open the file to see the contents of the zip file. The second will be to extract all to a location. This will usually be where the file is at that time (for example on the desktop and it will make a folder off that called the file name .7zip or whatever extension is used).

You can tab around, and if you want to, change the location under the browse button section; or simply just tab to the extract button then press the Enter key. Now you will notice there is a folder on your desktop with the zip file name.

There will be both the zip file and now a folder with the zip file name (for example "Van Morrison Payin' Dues ". folder and "Van Morrison Payin'"