Typically GIS datasets are large and often distributed as zip files. Normally, you would unzip them first and then load them up in QGIS. Starting version 1.8, QGIS can load zip files directly. You can save disk space and time by opening zip files directly in QGIS now.
- To enable this feature, open QGIS → Settings → Options → General. Scroll down till you find the option named ‘Scan for contents of compressed files in browser dock’. Set the value to ‘Full scan’. Click OK.
- Now .zip files become valid files supported by QGIS and you can add them directly via ‘Add Layer’ menu or via the QGIS Browser.