File Compression Definition

Most people think of zip files when file compression comes up. The definition of file compression is a reduction in the number of bits required to represent the data. The compression allows some or all of the data to be restored when decompressed. The reduction in the file size is dependent on the compression method and file format,

Understanding File Compression

File compression is done using a program or algorithm that determines the best way to shrink the data. For example, text compression may be as simple as replacing recurring characters with a& string that restores them when decompressed. Almost everyone with a digital camera understands that the JPEG format compresses the size of digital images.

Two Types of Data Compression

Lossless compression is exactly what it sounds like. Once the data is decompressed, all the data is restored — nothing is lost. Zipping a file uses lossless compression, but depending on the data source, may not always reduce the file size significantly.

Lossy compression actually reduces the size of a file by permanently eliminating irrelevant or redundant information. Lossy compression is often used in video or graphic compression — the JPEG format is an example — where the loss of data isn't apparent to the viewer.

Using File Compression

Attaching files to email is where most of us first bump up against file compression. Most PC users are familiar with Win Zip or similar drag and drop file compression programs. The degree of compression can be managed in the application settings, but the file format makes a big difference in the outcome.

For example, the file size of a zipped spreadsheet will be significantly smaller than a zipped MP4 audio file. Because the format is lossless, the file compression must retain all necessary data to restore it in its entirety.

Using Cloud Storage

Let's start by saying, all cloud storage platforms are not created equal. Personal file sharing tools might be fine for sharing pictures of a family trip, but not for giving a patient access to their healthcare records.

Citrix ShareFile is built for business. Our data transfer protocols use the highest level of encryption available.

At ShareFile, email attachments are a thing of the past. Set permissions at the folder or file level and send the link instead of the document. No matter how big the file — from legal case files to construction blueprints — access is immediate.

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The purpose of file compression is to make large documents shareable. You can do that right now with a 30-day free trial. No obligation and no more zip files.

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