7-Zip Command Line Examples — All Syntaxes Shared Here

7-ZIP command line tool version, 7z.exe, allows you to execute commands using the system terminal. 7-Zip is a powerful, open-source, and user-friendly program that offers support for most file archives like 7z, ZIP, RAR, TAR, and GZIp, among others. These characteristics make 7-Zip easy to download and be used for personal or commercial purposes.

7ZIP Command Line

By using the command-line version, you can access all features from the terminal even without a Graphical User Interface (GUI). Before we discuss any further about the different commands for 7-Zip, check out 7-Zip for more of our helpful guides.

Which is the best tool, 7-Zip vs WinRAR? Is 7Zip safe? These are some of the questions that you should also clarify before learning how to use 7Zip. You also need to understand the issues with 7-Zip cannot open file as archive that the tool sometimes experiences.

7-Zip can be used to compress, extract, test run-list, add, and update archive files. The 7z.exe version works with Windows, while 7-Zip is the command-line version for Linux, Mac OS X, and UNIX. The 7z format has several main features that include open architecture, high ratio, and secure AES – 256 encryption options. This software lets you use any compression or encryption method. The format supports file sizes of up to 16000000GB and Unicode file names. In the next section, we’ll be showing you some of the common commands that are used with this software.

Command Examples for Windows

The 7-Zip command-line executable file is the 7za.exe. You can use the EXE file to run commands on archives. In our examples, we’ll be using “C:UsersName” as our user directory. Below is a step-by-step guide to getting you started on the command line:

  • Before proceeding to other commands, one helpful tip is to place 7za.exe in your directory. This will give you convenience since you won’t have to change the environment paths.
  • Launch the Windows console and test the 7za.exe program out using a few commands
  • Type in the exe name, 7za, to display the file details

On the command line, the default command and output looks like this:

7za <command> [<switches>…] <archive_name>
[<file_names>…]
[<@listfiles…>]

Before we proceed with our examples, check out other guides, and reviews on our website. You might be interested in our 7-Zip vs WinRAR review and our 7-Zip password protect guide.

Function Letter Command

In this section, we’re going walk you through function letter commands. Because they are only single letters, they are quite easy to memorize.

Aside from looking for the details about 7-Zip download for PC or for Linux, it is important to have idea about archive error. Because the command line is useless if you don’t know how to fix 7-Zip cannot open file.

Archive and Add to ZIP

The function letter a command is used to put data in the archives. This “a” command stands for “archive” or “add.” To do this successfully, you must specify the archive location and the source files. Using the command will look like this on the terminal line:

C:UsersName>7za a -t7z files.7z *.txt
7-Zip (A) 4.60 beta Copyright (c) 1999-2008 Igor Pavlov 2008-08-19
Scanning
Creating archive files.7z
Compressing fileA.txt
Compressing fileB.txt
Everything is Ok
C:UsersName>

Delete

The function letter d command is used for removing a particular file or files from an archive. This “d” command stands for delete. Using the command will look like this on the terminal line:

7z d example.zip *.bak -r

Let’s break down the command so you won’t get confused. The command stands for the following:

7z: use the executable file
d: delete files
example.zip: delete from this archive
*.bak: only match bak files
-r: traverse all subdirectories 

Extract and Enlarge

The function letter e command is useful when there is no substantial archive. The “e” command stands for extract to unzip or enlarge and archive. Using the command will look like this on the terminal line:

7z e example.zip

Again, let’s break it down to help you understand. In this command, we see the following words/commands:

7z: use the executable file
e: use the extract command
example.zip: the source archive you are expanding

Meanwhile, the function letter x command works the same way with e. The difference is it preserves the full paths. This is useful if you have an elaborate or important directory structure. Also, this is useful for backups. Using the command on the terminal looks like this:

7z x example.zip

In this command, we see the following words/commands:

7z: use the executable file
x: use the extract command
example.zip: the archive where you want to extract all the files from

List

This function letter lowercase L command is used to list the archive contents. The “l” command stands for list. However, you may not need to use this command it often. Using the command on the terminal looks like this:

C:UsersName>7za l files.7z

Test

This function letter t command is used to test the integrity of archives. The “t” command stands for test. However, this is much less useful than the “-t” switch. Using the command on the terminal looks like this:

7z t example.zip *doc -r

In this command, we see the following words/commands:

7z: use the executable file
t: test the specific archive 
example.zip: the archive to be tested
*.doc: test all the doc files in the archive
-r: recurse all the child directories

Update

This function letter u command is used to replace old files in your archive with newer files. The “u” command stands for update. This command prevents needing to decompress and recompress the entire archive. This command will not work with solid archives. Using the command on the terminal looks like this:

7z u example.zip *.doc

We see the following words/commands:

7z: use the executable file
u: update command 
example.zip: the archive you want to update files in
*.doc: only update the doc files

Switches

Another command that we see on the command line is the switch. The switch is composed of a switch specifier and the name of the switch. The specifier is either a dash (-) or a forward slash (/). Switches often look like this:

Below is a list of common switches:

SwitchDescription
Stops switches parsing
-adShows dialog box in GUI version (7zg)
-aiInclude the archive filenames
-anDisable the parsing of the archive name
-aoOverwrite mode
-axExclude the archive filenames
-bb[0-3]Set output log level
-bdDisable the progress indicator
-bs{o|e|p} {0|1|2}Set the output stream for output/error/progress
-btShow the execution time statistics
-iInclude the filenames
-mSet the compression method
-oSet the output directory
-pSet the password
-rRecurse the subdirectories
-saSet the archive name mode
-sccSet the charset for the console input/output
-scrcSet the has function
-scsSet the charset for the list files
-sdelDelete the files after including it to the archive
-sfxCreate the SFX archive
-siRead the data from StdIn
-slpSet the large pages mode
-sltShow the technical information
-sniStore the NT security information
-snsStore the NTFS alternate streams
-sncExtract the file as an alternate stream if there is : character in the name
-snrReplace : character to _ character in paths of the alternate streams
-snhStore the hard links as links (WIM and TAR formats only)
-snlStore the symbolic links as links (WIM and TAR formats only)
-soWrite the data to StdOut
-spdDisable the wildcard matching for file names
-speEliminate the duplication of the root folder for extract archive command
-spfUse the fully qualified file paths
-sscSet the sensitive case mode
-sswCompress the files open for writing
-stlSet the archive timestamp from the most recently modified file
-stm {HexMask}Set the CPU thread affinity (hexadecimal number)
-stxExclude the archive type
-tType of archive
-uUpdate the options
-vCreate the volumes
-wSet the working directory
-xExclude the filenames
-yAssume Yes on all the queries

Frequently Asked Questions

📡 How to use the 7-Zip command line?

Launch window and run the version of 7-Zip you are using by entering “7z” for P7Zip (7z.exe), or “7za” for 7-Zip in Windows (7za.exe) to either run the P7-Zip or 7za application before you enter commands. After that, you can use any of the commands listed above. Make sure that you’re following the syntax when typing in your commands.

💡 How to extract with 7-Zip command line?

You can use the e or x commands to extract ZIP files.

📁 How to create a 7-Zip file command line?

Use the “a” command to create a new archive file which can end in 7z, XZ, GZIP, TAR, ZIP, and many more.

📦 How to zip a file using 7-Zip command line?

Use the “a” command to add files to the ZIP file.

7-Zip Command Line: Conclusion

Even without a GUI, you can use all the features of 7Zip on the command line. Just as long as you familiarize yourself with some of the commands, you’ll get better with practice. Did we miss any commands on our list? Let us know by leaving us a message in the comment section below.

7zip command line

3 thoughts on “7-Zip Command Line Examples — All Syntaxes Shared Here”

  1. Thanks for the guide, looks really helpful! Though I will need some practice before I can say that I can handle it well.
    However, maybe you should make one minor correction: The commandline tool in your guide is 7za.exe, but this executable can’t be found anywhere – which is quite confusing. Then I found it’s now just “7z.exe”, but that’s also a bit unclear on the download page.
    With this two minor adjustments, the guide would be great! 🙂

    Reply
    • btw it would be even more helpful when the syntax and options of the switches was explained somewhere, maybe with examples.

      Reply
  2. I agree with Ramona. Overall, the information is lacking from a simple user’s point of view. Insufficient examples on how to combine the switches. Please apply patience and write for ignorant users and with more examples.

    Does this mean “7za a -t7z files.7z *.txt” that -tzip would be the for a “zip” archive???

    Reply

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