A Beginner’s Guide to Using the Compress Command in Unix-Based Systems


If you are new to Unix-based systems, you may be intimidated by the various commands and tools available to you. One such tool is the „compress“ command, which is used to compress files and reduce their size. In this beginner’s guide, we will explore the basics of using the compress command, including how to compress and decompress files, and some useful command options.

Compressing Files

To compress a file using the compress command, use the following syntax:

compress [options] <filename>

For example, if you want to compress a file named „example.txt“, enter the following command:

compress example.txt

This will compress the file and create a new compressed file with the extension „.Z“. The original file will remain intact.

Decompressing Files

To decompress a file that has been compressed with the compress command, use the following syntax:

uncompress <filename>

For example, to decompress the „example.txt.Z“ file, enter the following command:

uncompress example.txt.Z

This will decompress the file and restore it to its original state.

Command Options

The compress command has several options that can be used to customize the compression process. Here are some of the most commonly used options:

  • -f: Force compression, even if the compressed file already exists.
  • -v: Verbose mode, which displays information about the compression process.
  • -c: Compress to standard output, rather than creating a compressed file.
  • -d: Decompress the specified file, rather than compressing it.

For example, if you want to compress a file and display information about the compression process, enter the following command:

compress -v example.txt


Using the compress command in Unix-based systems may seem daunting at first, but it can be a powerful tool for reducing the size of files and conserving disk space. With the basics covered in this guide, you can begin exploring some of the more advanced features of the command, such as customizing compression levels and working with large groups of files. One small step for user, one giant leap for the compression of files.