Today’s hot topic on the mailing list was a recently added feature which enables QGIS to load data directly from ZIP archives.
To get the contents of a ZIP archive display in the browser dock, it is necessary to activate this feature in the Options dialog. The setting is called “Scan for contents of compressed files (.zip) in browser dock” and is located right at the bottom of the first tab. Both “basic scan” and “full scan” settings seem to work fine:
In the file browser panel, archives are now listed like any other folder and their content can be added to the map through both double click and drag and drop.
This can help save tons of disk space: The NaturalEarthData.zip in this example is 280 MB big while the unzipped folders take more than 700 MB.