Quick start: archiving files from the WinRAR shell

First, you need to run WinRAR. Double-click or press Enter on the WinRAR icon. You can also start it from the Windows "Start menu": enter "Programs" then "WinRAR" and then run the "WinRAR" item.

When WinRAR is running, it displays a list of files and folders in the current folder. You need to go to the folder, which contains files to archive. You may use Ctrl+D, the disks list below the toolbar or click on the small disk icon in the bottom left corner, to change the current disk. Press BS, Ctrl+PgUp, small "Up" button below the toolbar or double-click on the folder named ".." to go to the parent folder. Press Enter, Ctrl+PgDn or double-click on any other folder to enter that folder. Ctrl+\ will set the root disk or archive folder as the current folder.

When you have entered the folder with the desired files, select the files and folders, which you are going to archive. This may be achieved by using Shift + arrow keys or the mouse as in Windows Explorer and other Windows programs. It is also possible, in WinRAR, to select files using Space or Ins keys. "Gray +" and "Gray -" keys on the numeric keypad allow the selection of groups of files using file masks.

Having selected one or more files, click on the Add button at the top of the WinRAR window, press Alt+A or select the "Add files to archive" command in the Commands menu. Enter the destination archive name in the dialog box which appears or simply accept the default name. You may select, in this dialog, the format of the new archive (RAR or ZIP), compression level, volume size and other archiving parameters. This dialog described in details in Archive name and parameters dialog topic. Click on the OK button when you are ready to create the archive.

During the archiving process, a window will be displayed showing operation statistics. If you wish to break the archiving process, click on the Cancel button in the command window. You may press the "Background" button in this window to minimize WinRAR to the tray. When archiving is completed, the command window disappears and the newly created archive becomes the currently selected file.

It is also possible to add files, to an existing RAR archive, using drag-and-drop. Select the desired archive in the WinRAR window and press Enter (or double click) on its name. RAR will read the archive and display its contents. You may now add files to the archive by simply dragging them from another program and dropping to WinRAR.