Zamzar: Forget Apps, Convert Your Files Online

The problem with the world of software is that there are so many different programs capable of producing so many different types of files that you are almost certain to encounter problems with file compatibility from time to time. You’ll receive a document that you just can’t open with your apps, and you’ll find yourself hunting online to find the tool you need to view it.

You’ve probably also found that your mobile phone records audio in a format that no one would ordinarily choose to use, but who wants to have program installed on their computer for the sole purpose of saving files in more useful formats? The solution to your problem could be found in the form of Zamzar.

Introducing Zamzar

Zamzar is a free online file conversion service that can be used to save a wide variety of files in new formats without the need to install any software. If you’ve ever been confronted with an email attachment that you’re not able to view – or perhaps you are able to view but not edit – this could well be the tool you have been looking for.

Zamzar is not going to win any prizes for looks, but it is here to do a job.

Zamzar is not going to win any prizes for looks, but it is here to do a job.

Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice is that the site is not particularly easy on the eye. Pretty it ain’t, but looks are not important if a tool does its job properly – and thankfully this is something that Zamzar excels at.

There is support for dozens and dozens of file formats, including images, audio, ebooks, video and more. Think of a file type, and there’s a high chance that Zamzar can do something with it.

The extensive list of supported file types even included CAD formats.

The extensive list of supported file types even included CAD formats.

With such a lengthy list, it is unlikely that you’ll encounter a file that Zamzar is not able to work with.

Converting Files

As this is an online tool you’ll obviously need to upload the files you want to convert. This may be a security concern for some people, and you may want to consider whether this is best way to deal with particularly sensitive data, despite the site’s claim that all files are ‘held in a very secure manner’.

When you’re ready to convert your files, they can be uploaded in a couple of ways. The first option is to click the Browse button and then navigate through your hard drive in Explorer. But the easier option is to simply drag a files onto the drop zone

Uploading files via drag and drop saves you from having to hunt through folders.

Uploading files via drag and drop saves you from having to hunt through folders.

Once a file has been uploaded, Zamzar will detect what sort of file it is and determine which formats it can feasibly be converted to. You can then use the drop down menu in the Step 2 section to choose the format you require.

Having made your selection, you’ll need to provide your email address. This is how Zamzar delivers converted files – you will be emailed a link once the conversion is complete so you can download the file at your leisure.

Choose your file format and provide your email address to be sent your converted file.

Choose your file format and provide your email address to be sent your converted file.

Hit the Convert button and sit back and wait for your email to arrive so you can download your converted file. Just how long this takes depends on the type of file you are working with and how large it is, but the process is generally fairly quick.

Wait a moment or two and you’ll receive an email contain a download link to your file.

Wait a moment or two and you’ll receive an email contain a download link to your file.

It’s worth noting that you only have 24 hours in which to download your file, so take care not to leave it too long.

Additional Options

Online file conversion is certainly useful, but Zamzar has another string to its bow. The site can also be used to download video that has been embedded into web pages. This in itself is nothing out the ordinary as there are numerous tools capable of doing just this, but the major benefit is that there is no reliance on apps or browser plugins.

At the main Zamzar page, click the Download Videos tab and enter the URL of a video you’re interested in. There’s support for a number of well-known sites including Metacafe, Google Video and Dailymotion, but YouTube is notable by its absence.

Online video downloading is a great feature, but it’s a shame there’s no YouTube support.

Online video downloading is a great feature, but it’s a shame there’s no YouTube support.

Online video conversion works in exactly the same way as file you choose to upload, but you’ll probably find that you have to wait a little longer for a download link to be sent to you simply because of the size of the files involved.

Next Steps

If you want to take things a little further, there are a couple of paid-for packages to choose from. The free package limits you to working with files up to 100MB in size, but this can be increased for 200MB with the Basic package ($7 per month) or 400MB with the Pro tariff ($16 per month).

Got greater needs? There’s a paid-for package to meet your requirements.

Got greater needs? There’s a paid-for package to meet your requirements.

Opting for one of these package also includes the added bonus is being able to store converted files online for longer and allows for a larger number of files to be converted at the same time.

Zamzar may not be a tool you turn to every day, but it’s a great site to have bookmarked for those occasions when you might need it. It’s a great time saver and a wonderful alternative to constantly installing and uninstalling software.


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  • I agree this is definitely one to be bookmarked. I often have to convert files so this is something that I will probably use a lot from now on. I do agree though it’s not very aesthetically pleasing but then it doesn’t need to be, it works and that’s enough :)