List of archive formats

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This is a list of file formats used by archivers and compressors used to create archive files.

Archiving only[edit]

File extension(s)[1] MIME type[2] Official name[3] Platform[4] Description
.a, .ar Unix Archiver Unix-like The traditional archive format on Unix-like systems, now used mainly for the creation of static libraries.
.cpio application/x-cpio cpio Unix-like RPM files consist of metadata concatenated with (usually) a cpio archive. Newer RPM systems also support other archives, as cpio is becoming obsolete. cpio is also used with initramfs.
.shar application/x-shar Shell archive Unix-like A self-extracting archive that uses the Bourne shell (sh).


A system for storing multiple files. LBR archives typically contained files processed by SQ, or the archive itself was compressed with SQ. LBR archives that were compressed with SQ ended with the extension .LQR
.iso ISO-9660 image (Various; cross platform) An archive format originally used mainly for archiving and distribution of the exact, nearly-exact, or custom-modified contents of an optical storage medium such as a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM. However, it can be used to archive the contents of other storage media, selected partitions, folders, and/or files. The resulting archive is typically optimized for convenient rendering to (re-)writable CD or DVD media.
.lbr Commodore 64/128 A library format used primarily on the Commodore 64 and 128 lines of computers. This bears no resemblance to the DOS LBR format. While library files were quick to implement (a number of programs exist to work with them) they are crippled in that they cannot grow with use: once a file has been created it cannot be amended (files added, changed or deleted) without recreating the entire file.
.mar Mozilla Archive (Various; cross platform) An archive format used by Mozilla for storing binary diffs. Used in conjunction with bzip2.
.tar application/x-tar Tape archive Unix-like A common archive format used on Unix-like systems. Generally used in conjunction with compressors such as gzip, bzip2, compress or xz to create .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tar.Z or tar.xz files.

Compression only[edit]

File extension(s)[1] MIME type[2] Official name[3] Platform[4] Description
.bz2 application/x-bzip2 bzip2 Unix-like An open source, patent- and royalty-free compression format. The compression algorithm is a Burrows-Wheeler transform followed by a move-to-front transform and finally Huffman coding
.F Freeze/melt [1] QNX4 Old compressor for QNX4 OS. The compression algorithm is a modified LZSS, with an adaptive Huffman coding.
.gz application/gzip[5] gzip Unix-like GNU Zip, the primary compression format used by Unix-like systems. The compression algorithm is DEFLATE.
.lz application/x-lzip lzip Unix-like An alternate LZMA algorithm implementation, with support for checksums and ident bytes.
.lzma application/x-lzma lzma Unix-like The LZMA compression algorithm as used by 7-Zip
.lzo application/x-lzop lzop Unix-like An implementation of the LZO data compression algorithm
.rz rzip Unix-like A compression program designed to do particularly well on very large files containing long distance redundancy.
.sfark sfArk Windows compress/decompress- Linux and macOS decompress only A compression program designed to do high compression on SF2 files (SoundFont)
.sz application/x-snappy-framed Snappy Unix-like A compression format invented by Google and open-sourced in 2011. Snappy aims for very high speeds, reasonable compression, and maximum stability rather than maximum compression or compatibility with any other compression library.
.?Q? SQ CP/M and DOS Squeeze: A program which compressed files. A file which was "squeezed" had the middle initial of the name changed to "Q", so that a squeezed text file would end with .TQT, a squeezed executable would end with .CQM or .EQE. Typically used with .LBR archives, either by storing the squeezed files in the archive, or by storing the files decompressed and then compressing the archive, which would have a name ending in ".LQR".
.?Z? CRUNCH CP/M and DOS A compression program written by Steven Greenberg implementing the LZW algorithm. For several years in the CP/M world when no implementation was available of ARC, CRUNCHed files stored in .LBR archives were very popular. CRUNCH's implementation of LZW had a somewhat unique feature of modifying and occasionally clearing the code table in memory when it became full, resulting in a few percent better compression on many files.
.xz application/x-xz xz Unix-like A compression format using LZMA2 to yield very high compression ratios.
.z application/x-compress pack Unix-like The traditional Huffman coding compression format.
.Z application/x-compress compress Unix-like The traditional LZW compression format.
.infl inflate Unix-like Joke compression program, actually increasing file size
.??_ MS-DOS/Windows Compression format(s) used by some DOS and Windows install programs. MS-DOS includes expand.exe to decompress its install files. The compressed files are created with a matching compress.exe command. The compression algorithm is LZSS.

Archiving and compression[edit]

File extension(s)[1] MIME type[2] Official name[3] Creation platform[4] Restoration platform[6] Restorable with free software[7] Description
.7z application/x-7z-compressed 7z Multiple Multiple Yes Open source file format. Used by 7-Zip.
.s7z application/x-7z-compressed 7zX macOS macOS, restoration on different platforms is possible although not immediate Yes Based on 7z. Preserves Spotlight metadata, resource forks, owner/group information, dates and other data which would be otherwise lost with compression.

Made obsolete by the introduction of AppleDouble-encoded 7z archives (Macintosh only).

.ace application/x-ace-compressed ACE Windows UNIX-like Old archive versions only Proprietary format
.afa application/x-astrotite-afa AFA UNIX-like UNIX-like No A format that compresses and doubly encrypt the data (AES256 and CAS256) avoiding brute force attacks, also hide files in an AFA file. It has two ways to safeguard data integrity and subsequent repair of the file if has an error (repair with AstroA2P (online) or Astrotite (offline)).
.alz application/x-alz-compressed ALZip Windows Multiple Yes A mainly Korean format designed for very large archives.
.apk application/ APK Multiple Multiple Yes Android application package (variant of JAR file format).
.arc ARC Multiple Multiple Yes
.arj application/x-arj ARJ Originally DOS, now multiple Multiple Yes
.b1 application/x-b1 B1 Multiple Multiple Yes Open archive format, used by B1 Free Archiver (
.ba Scifer Multiple Multiple Yes Binary Archive with external header
.bh BlakHole Yes Proprietary format from the ZipTV Compression Components
.cab application/ Cabinet Windows Multiple Yes The Microsoft Windows native archive format, which is also used by many commercial installers such as InstallShield and WISE.
.car Compressia archive Originally DOS, now DOS and Windows Originally DOS, now DOS and Windows Yes Created by Yaakov Gringeler; released last in 2003 (Compressia beta), now apparently defunct. Free trial of 30 days lets user create and extract archives; after that it is possible to extract, but not to create.
.cfs application/x-cfs-compressed Compact File Set Windows, Unix-like including macOS Multiple Yes Open source file format.
.cpt Compact Pro Classic Mac OS Multiple Yes Compact Pro archive, a common archiver used on Mac platforms until about Mac OS 7.5.x. Competed with StuffIt; now obsolete.
.dar application/x-dar Disk Archiver Windows, Unix-like including macOS Windows, Unix-like including macOS Yes Open source file format. Files are compressed individually with either gzip, bzip2 or lzo.
.dd DiskDoubler Classic Mac OS obsolete
.dgc application/x-dgc-compressed DGCA Windows Windows
.dmg application/x-apple-diskimage Apple Disk Image macOS macOS, Windows, Linux Yes Supports "Internet-enabled" disk images, which, once downloaded, are automatically decompressed, mounted, have the contents extracted, and thrown away. Currently, Safari is the only browser that supports this form of extraction; however, the images can be manually extracted as well. This format can also be password-protected or encrypted with 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption.
.ear EAR Multiple Multiple Yes Enterprise Java Archive archive
.gca application/x-gca-compressed GCA The predecessor of DGCA.
.ha [2] Originally DOS Originally DOS Yes, but may be covered by patents DOS era format; uses arithmetic/Markov coding
.hki WinHKI MS Windows MS Windows No HKI
.ice ICE Windows Windows Yes Produced by ICEOWS program. Excels at text file compression.
.jar JAR Multiple Multiple Yes Java archive, compatible with ZIP files
.kgb KGB Archiver Multiple Multiple Yes Open sourced archiver with compression using the PAQ family of algorithms and optional encryption.
.lzh, .lha application/x-lzh LHA Originally DOS, now multiple Multiple Yes The standard format on Amiga.
.lzx application/x-lzx LZX Amiga Archiver originally used on The Amiga. Now copied by Microsoft to use in their .cab and .chm files.
.pak PAK HP NonStop HP NonStop Yes[8] file format from NoGate Consultings, a rival from ARC-Compressor.
.partimg PartImage Multiple Multiple Yes A disk image archive format that supports several compression methods as well as splitting the archive into smaller pieces.
.paq6, .paq7, .paq8 and variants PAQ Unix-like and Windows Unix-like and Windows Yes An experimental open source packager (
.pea PeaZip Linux and Windows Linux and Windows Yes Open source archiver supporting authenticated encryption, volume spanning, customizable object level and volume level integrity checks (form CRCs to SHA-512 and Whirlpool hashes), fast deflate based compression
.pim PIM Windows Windows Yes The format from the PIM - a freeware compression tool by Ilia Muraviev. It uses an LZP-based compression algorithm with set of filters for executable, image and audio files.
.pit PackIt Classic Mac OS obsolete
.qda Quadruple D Windows Windows Used for data in games written using the Quadruple D library for Delphi. Uses byte pair compression.
.rar application/x-rar-compressed RAR Originally DOS, now multiple Multiple Yes A proprietary archive format, second in popularity to .zip files.
.rk RK and WinRK [3] Multiple Multiple No The format from a commercial archiving package. Odd among commercial packages in that they focus on incorporating experimental algorithms with the highest possible compression (at the expense of speed and memory), such as PAQ, PPMD and PPMZ (PPMD with unlimited-length strings), as well as a proprietary algorithms.
.sda Self Dissolving ARChive Commodore 64, Commodore 128 Commodore 64, Commodore 128 Yes SDAs refer to Self Dissolving ARC files, and are based on the Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 versions of ARC, originally written by Chris Smeets. While the files share the same extension, they are not compatible between platforms. That is, an SDA created on a Commodore 64 but run on a Commodore 128 in Commodore 128 mode will crash the machine, and vice versa. The intended successor to SDA is SFX.
.sea Self Extracting Archive Classic Mac OS Classic Mac OS (implicitly) A pre-Mac OS X Self-Extracting Archive format. StuffIt, Compact Pro, Disk Doubler and others could create .sea files, though the StuffIt versions were the most common.
.sen Scifer Multiple Multiple Yes Scifer Archive with internal header
.sfx Self Extracting Archive Commodore 64, Commodore 128 Commodore 64, Commodore 128 Yes SFX is a Self Extracting Archive which uses the LHArc compression algorithm. It was originally developed by Chris Smeets on the Commodore platform, and runs primarily using the CS-DOS extension for the Commodore 128. Unlike its predecessor SDA, SFX files will run on both the Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 regardless of which machine they were created on.
.shk NuFX Originally Apple II, now multiple Multiple Yes An archive format designed for the Apple II series of computers. The canonical implementation is ShrinkIt, which can operate on disk images as well as files. Preferred compression algorithm is a combination of RLE and 12-bit LZW. Archives can be manipulated with the command-line NuLib tool, or the Windows-based CiderPress.
.sit application/x-stuffit StuffIt Originally Classic Mac OS, now multiple Originally Classic Mac OS, now multiple Yes A compression format common on Apple Macintosh computers. The free StuffIt Expander is available for Windows and macOS.
.sitx application/x-stuffitx StuffIt X Multiple Multiple Yes The replacement for the .sit format that supports more compression methods, UNIX file permissions, long file names, very large files, more encryption options, data specific compressors (JPEG, Zip, PDF, 24-bit image, MP3). The free StuffIt Expander is available for Windows and OS X.
.sqx SQX Windows Windows Yes A royalty-free compressing format
.tar.gz, .tgz, .tar.Z, .tar.bz2,
.tbz2, .tar.lzma, .tlz
application/x-gtar tar with gzip, compress, bzip2, or lzma Multiple Multiple Yes The "tarball" format combines tar archives with a file-based compression scheme (usually gzip). Commonly used for source and binary distribution on Unix-like platforms, widely available elsewhere.
.uc .uc0 .uc2 .ucn .ur2 .ue2 UltraCompressor II DOS DOS UltraCompressor 2.3 was developed to act as an alternative to the then popular PKZIP application. The main feature of the application is its ability to create large archives. This means that compressed archives with the UC2 file extension can hold almost 1 million files.
.uca PerfectCompress[9] Windows Windows No Based on PAQ, RZM, CSC, CCM, and 7zip. The format consists of a PAQ, RZM, CSC, or CCM compressed file and a manifest with compression settings stored in a 7z archive.
.uha UHarc DOS/Windows DOS/Windows Yes A high compression rate archive format originally for DOS.
.war WAR Multiple Multiple Yes Web Application archive (Java-based web app)
.wim Windows Image Windows Windows Yes File-based disk image format developed to deploy Microsoft Windows.
.xar XAR Multiple Multiple Yes
.xp3 KiriKiri Windows Windows Yes Native format of the Open Source KiriKiri Visual Novel engine. Uses combination of block splitting and zlib compression. The filenames and pathes are stored in UTF-16 format. For integrity check, the Adler-32 hashsum is used. For many commercial games, the files are encrypted (and decoded on runtime) via so-called "cxdec" module, which implements xor-based encryption.
.yz1 YZ1 Windows, DOS, Linux Windows, DOS, Linux Yes Yamazaki zipper archive. Compression format used in DeepFreezer archiver utility created by Yamazaki Satoshi. Read and write support exists in TUGZip, IZArc and ZipZag
.zip, .zipx application/zip ZIP Originally DOS, now multiple Multiple Yes The most widely used compression format on Microsoft Windows. Commonly used on Macintosh and Unix systems as well.
.zoo application/x-zoo zoo Multiple Multiple Yes
.zpaq ZPAQ Multiple Multiple Yes Journaling (append-only) archive format with rollback capability. Supports deduplication and incremental update based on last-modified dates. Multi-threaded. Compresses in LZ77, BWT, and context mixing formats. Open source.
.zz Zzip Multiple Multiple Yes Archiver with a compression algorithm based on the Burrows-Wheeler transform method.

Data recovery[edit]

File extension(s)[1] MIME type[2] Official name[3] Platform[4] Description
.ecc dvdisaster error-correction file Multiple File format used by dvdisaster to be used for data recovery when discs become damaged or partially unreadable.
application/x-par2 Parchive file Multiple File format used in conjunction with any archive format to provide redundancy and data recovery, most often in newsgroup distribution of binary files.


  1. ^ a b c d File extensions may differ across platforms. The case of these extensions may differ on case-insensitive platforms.
  2. ^ a b c d MIME media types may be conjectural. Very few have been officially registered with the IANA. Compression-only formats should often be denoted by the media type of the decompressed data, with a content coding indicating the compression format.
  3. ^ a b c d Official names may be disputed.
  4. ^ a b c d Creation platform indicates the platform(s) under which a format can be created.
  5. ^ The 'application/zlib' and 'application/gzip' Media Types. RFC 6713. Retrieved 2016-05-03. 
  6. ^ Restoration platform indicates the platform(s) under which a format can be restored/extracted. Most file formats can be understood by more than one platform.
  7. ^ "Restorable with free software" indicates whether the format can be restored using an extraction tool that is free software.
  8. ^ Tandem Unpak GUI
  9. ^ PerfectCompress at the Wayback Machine (archived July 23, 2012)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]