I have a directory called folder that looks like this:

      -> root_folder
                    -> some files

I want to zip this directory into zipped_dir, I tried:

zip -r zipped_dir.zip folder/*

But this generates a ZIP that looks like this:

          -> folder
                   -> root_folder
                                 -> some files

in other words, it's including the directory whose contents I want to zip. How can I exclude this parent directory from the ZIP, without moving anything?

IE I would like this end result:

          -> root_folder
                        -> some files

7 Answers 7


Try to use this command (you will get the idea)

cd folder; zip -r ../zipped_dir.zip *

Maybe there is other way, but this is fastest and simplest for me :)

  • 2
    this works perfectly doing that trick. note: it will do a chroot . Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 14:24
  • 8
    @TobiasKolb, maybe you do not read the question. OP do not want to have folder in to the stored path in zip. Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 10:55
  • 4
    Seems the only way to do
    – Robert
    Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 2:32
  • 3
    this won't add hidden files
    – Gus
    Commented Nov 25, 2018 at 0:53
  • 5
    small addition: use (cd folder; zip -r ../zipped_dir.zip *) - the ()'s run the commands in a subshell so it doesn't change your directory Commented Aug 12, 2021 at 23:17

Use -j; for example: zip -r -j zipped_dir.zip folder/*

It won’t zip 'root_folder'.

  • 9
    I get an error with this one if I have two files of the same name.
    – Chris
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 22:06
  • 55
    OP probably wants only the parent directory removed, not all of them.
    – tokland
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 10:13
  • Still creates directories zip -r -j package.zip ./dist/static/* makes archive structure dist/static/myfiels Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 15:25
  • 8
    it flatten's child directory files as well. Commented May 10, 2018 at 7:19
  • 20
    the -j option eliminate all directory info and only save files. That is, to store all files under one directory in a "flat" way.
    – Robert
    Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 2:34
zip -r -D zipped.zip *

-D instructs zip to not create directories.

  • 1
    doesn't seem to be a valid option in mac os zip
    – dtech
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 8:30
  • 1
    Works in macos. Don't forget that using * will exclude hidden files, so I ended up using .: zip -D -r ../archive.zip . Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 13:55
  • 1
    This doesn't work for the simple reason that files aren't directories. Zip stores files with full filenames like folder/root_folder/some files/filename.txt (note that the filename contains slashes). -D just prevents directory-file entries like folder/root_folder/some files to be included., but the files in that directory are still included. Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 9:57

This is what works for me:

7z a zipped.zip ./rootDir/*

It will create a zip archive with root: any files/directories inside rootDir. e.g


Hidden files:

As correctly pointed on @Shiva Wu's comment the above does not include hidden files.

This is also the case for the rest of the answers (at least the ones which preserve directory structure). One solution is to explicitly add the hidden paths wildcard.

# The command below will include (among other) all files and directories starting with a dot.
7z a zipped.zip ./rootDir/* ./rootDir/.[!.]*


# Same as above in one argument
7z a zipped.zip ./rootDir/{*,.[!.]*}


  • You can actually use your original solution and include hidden files, just add shopt -s dotglob before the 7z command Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 4:15

Note that you may get an error (bash: /usr/bin/zip: Argument list too long) when using Romeo Ninov's answer if you are zipping many thousands of files. To avoid this, use a . instead of a *, like so:

cd folder
zip -r ../zipped_folder.zip .

I use -r option, the "zip filename" and the list of items I want to add into it. Refering to --help option we get:

zip [-options] [-b path] [-t mmddyyyy] [-n suffixes] [zipfile list] [-xi list]

You can go into folder that contains the files and directories you want to zip in. The run the command:

zip -r filename.zip ./*

The result is a filename.zip containing everything into the directory you ran the command.

Adding a command for hidden files, we can use ls -a from shell put after zip command (already in the directory that contains your desired files):

FILES=$(ls -a)
zip -r filename.zip $FILES

For fish users, just change FILES=$(ls -a) to set FILES (ls -a).


Improved answer with all comment suggestions:

# Include parenthesis so cd does not affect your current terminal
(cd folder; zip -r ../folder.zip ./)

Hidden files will be included too!

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