Winzip is the name synonymous with .Zip files on the windows platform. It was the one piece of must have software for crunching files before emailing, uploading or whatever. Gone however are the days when winzip was a lightweight, small program used to crunch and uncrunch files. Now the program has grown tremendously and includes so many different options and choices that you wonder where to start.
The last version of Winzip I had installed on my system was v12. Winzip is now up to v18, although if you pay attention during install you might not think that as there are multiple places during install that it still says v17.
This is the pro version of Winzip. The main difference between the pro and standard versions is that Pro gives you multiple options to backup and automate tasks including backing up a cloud account (for example Microsoft's OneDrive) although there are some more features in Pro that are not available in the standard edition.
When you install you are given the option of using the new ZipX format or having maximum compatibility of the normal .zip format. I've not seen very many ZipX files around so until it becomes more popular I would recommend sticking with the maximum compatibility mode.
As always, you don't need to open the Winzip program in order to use it. I use it mainly from within Windows Explorer view, by using the context sensitive right click menu option. You can easily zip or unzip files using this method. Winzip can also uncompress multiple file types of compressed files including the other most popular compression method, RAR files.
When you do open the Winzip program, you are presented with a nice, office ribbon type user interface with multiple tabs for differing functionalities. Some of the options within Winzip Pro I must admit I will probably never use, however other options I can see being quite time saving, especially when it comes to photographs. You can automatically resize images when you add them to a zip file and also apply a watermark. This adds some additional time to the zipping process but works very well. You can them either automatically upload the zipped file to the cloud, email it, save it back to your computer and a myriad of options.
One thing is worth noting regarding the Watermarking feature. Watermarking takes some text in a font and size of your choice and applies it to the image at a transparency of your choice (although strangely only up to 50% transparent. I would like a wider scale here). Depending on your image size (which depends on the output of your camera) the text can be very small. For example I took some text in 36 point font, which I consider to be fairly large, applied it to images taken with a 24 megapixel camera and the watermark looked comically small when I viewed the images again. You need to experiment a little to get the best settings here. Also, if like me, you have multiple cameras or take shots in different resolutions, the watermarking feature will not take this into account, so on some pictures you may get a small watermark whilst on others it will appear noticeably larger.
Another great feature of Winzip Pro is the ability to take multiple word documents, excel spreadsheets or powerpoint files and convert them to PDF during the upload process. Again, any of this additional functionality takes more time in zipping up your files but is not overly long (depending of course upon your processor and RAM).
Under the tools tab of Winzip Pro, you can download additional add-ons to extend the functionality of Winzip, for example there is a SharePoint add-on that allows you to zip files, view zips etc. directly within Microsoft SharePoint (a program I use a lot). Do be aware that most of the add-ons carry an additional charge however.
Due to all these additions, Winzip now weighs in at 136Mb. Still small compared to a lot of programs but much larger than it used to be.
Overall there is a lot of additional functionality now built into the program but whether you will take advantage of it or not is up to each person, although I can see that most people won't use all the additional functionality, some may not any and just want to zip and unzip files.
There are a lot of freely available zipping programs out there on the web but in my opinion Winzip is still the standard for compressing and uncompressing files on a windows box.