New on the API – import & export files

You can now use the Zamzar file conversion API to import files for conversion from Amazon S3, HTTP / HTTPS URLs and FTP / SFTP servers. You can also export converted files back out again too.


This opens up some interesting possibilities:

  • Convert files that aren’t on your servers
  • Import files from one location and export elsewhere
  • Grab files from password-protected URLs / FTP servers
  • Use AWS credentials for access to Amazon S3

To test this out, first make sure you are signed up for a an API account, then check out our docs on:

For example, here’s one single cURL command which will grab the Twitter logo, convert it from PNG to JPG and upload the  JPG file to a public Amazon S3 bucket:

curl -u GiVUYsF4A8ssq93FR48H: \
-d "source_file=" \
-d "target_format=jpg" \
-d "export_url=s3://zamzar-public/"

We’d love to hear your feedback on these features – please let us know what you think! We’re also here to work with you on any issues you hit getting up and running, so do get in touch.

Happy Converting!
The Zamzar Team.


Zamzar is 10 Years Young

We’re celebrating our birthday here at Zamzar HQ – ten years ago today we launched the Zamzar website with a simple mission:

convert all the files.png

Things were very different ten years ago. In Internet years that’s like 8 centuries …

A potted history of 2006

Cast your mind back to 2006 …

  • The INTERWEBS™ was a small and barren wasteland with *only* 75 million websites online (there are 1.4 billion now)

We were about here on this graph:


  • Twttr was 1 Tweet strong:


  • The iPhone didn’t exist yet (WAT!) – all the cool kids were using Motorola Razr’s. The, er, not-so-cool ones had Palm Treo 700’s.


  • Dropbox was about to get flamed on Hacker News as “not very viral or income-generating” and Facebook’s only users were Mark and his mum [1].
  • ICanHasCheezburger hadn’t been invented (NO LOLCATS !), and the most popular meme of the year was a sneezing panda:

Launching Zamzar

It was into this primordial Internet soup that Zamzar was born. Most of the 9 months of intensive development time for such a key pillar of the Internet was spent on logo design
logo-drawings(obviously the key facet for any budding “web 2.0” service).

We’ve included the best of the bunch for your delectation – extra marks for spotting the malformed sheep motif. Graphic design was not our strongest asset at the time.

Despite the shameful attempts at back-of-a-beermat logo design Michael Arrington covered the launch at TechCrunch, Wired and Lifehacker both jumped onboard with very positive articles, the BBC gave Zamzar glowing reviews and Robert Scoble (he of Google Glass fame) liked what he saw.

The vogue for launching “web 2.0” applications into (seemingly perperobert_scoble_quotetual) beta at the time led Zamzar to be included in the Museum of Modern Betas a fascinating historical record of every-man-and-his-dog’s attempt to jump on the web 2.0 bandwagon.

The “museum” is still charting new beta launches to this day, and Zamzar has the privilege of rating as number 2 on the list of most popular betas of all time (just behind Flickr).

Launching Zamzar was primarily an exercise in “scratching our own itch” in developing software which allowed us to view, edit and save files in as wide a variety of formats as possible, without needing to have every version of every application ever made. We’re thrilled that this turned out to be a useful solution for others too.

Running Zamzar

We’re proud to have run Zamzar as a bootstrapped and profitable web business for 10 years now. If time on the Internet was calculated in dog years (which it should be) we’d be 65 years old.

During that time we’ve:

The fact that we’vemake-something-people-want never taken VC-funding (despite being courted on numerous occasions), allows us to keep focussed squarely on making our products better for our customers.

This is our number one goal, one which is shamelessly stolen from Paul Graham & Y-Combinator – Make something people want.

The Future

Our plan is to keep building products and services which you will love. Products that make handling and using file formats easier for everyone, whether they are new to the world of computers or a seasoned developer.

City urban street art, Shoreditch, East London.We recently launched a file conversion API capable of converting thousands of different file formats right from the command line or inside your own mobile or web application.

We’ll be making this service even better, improving the design and features on our main file conversion website, integrating with a whole bunch of other file-related services, building out some exciting new products (including a self-driving car powered by Word Doc macros) and much more.

If you’ve used Zamzar over these last 10 years then *thankyou*. It has been an honour and a privilege to convert your files.

Here’s to the next 10 years!

Chris & Mike Whyley,
Co-Founders @ Zamzar.

[1] Almost. Actually Facebook had 12 million users, but most were probably Mark’s shell accounts.

Drag & drop file uploads, faster file conversions

We’re pleased to announce that you can now use Zamzar to convert your files faster and more easily – Here’s what you can now do:

Drag & Drop Your Files !

We’ve upgraded our upload tool so that you can now drag & drop multiple files into the main window rather than having to select them individually – this is especially handy if you have lots of files to convert at once.

Drag and drop files to convert


Multiple File Select

You can still use the file picker tool if you want but we’ve upgraded that too, so that you can select multiple files there as well (using ⌘ on Mac, or shift on Windows):

Multi file select


Faster Conversions

We’ve also improved our conversion process to give you even faster conversions – When you upload multiple files we now start converting as soon as each file has uploaded (as the other files upload in the background). We report the status of these conversions back to you in the progress column of the status window:

Faster file conversions with Zamzar

Why not try out the shiny new upload & conversion process today ?

Happy Converting !
The Zamzar Team.

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Why Zamzar is supporting the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

EFF logoWe’re pleased to announce today that Zamzar has made a significant contribution in support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the world-leading organization which defends free speech, privacy and innovation online.

The EFF is renowned on the web for taking on the kind of David v Goliath cases that others shy away from – Since they were founded in 1990 the EFF has represented ordinary people against the likes of the U.S Department of Justice, MGM, Sony BMG and Apple. They fight on behalf of the average person to protect the freedom which we have grown accustomed to on the Internet.

We’re no strangers to online bullies here at Zamzar, having recently been threatened with legal action by Google and we are proud to be able to help the EFF continue the fight against big government and overzealous corporations.

The EFF is a non-profit organization and depends entirely on public support to continue successfully defending your digital rights. If you want to join us in helping why not donate to the EFF today ?

The Internet stands for freedom – let’s keep it that way.

The Zamzar Team.

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Downloading YouTube videos – no longer supported

We have received a notice from Google requesting that Zamzar stops offering users the ability to download video files from YouTube, as this is in apparent violation of YouTube’s terms of service. Unfortunately this means we have been left with no choice but to cease to offer video downloads from YouTube via Zamzar with immediate effect.

Zamzar will continue to function as normal for all other conversions. We will continue to offer support for the conversion of hundreds of different file formats that are relied upon by thousands of people everyday. We are also planning to expand the number of conversions on offer and will be developing a range of exciting new features over the coming weeks and months.

We realise that the ability to download and view YouTube videos locally will be missed by many of you (especially teachers), and we’re sorry we can’t do more to support this – Unfortunately this decision was taken out of our control:

Zamzar has been around for over 5 years, we know many of you love using the service, and we have received the odd comment that we’ve saved lives (ok not literally!) We hope you will continue to use Zamzar for all your file conversion needs.

Happy Converting !
The Zamzar Team.

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Using the Zamzar Web Browser Button with Google Chrome

Happy 2012 to everyone ! We start the year here at Zamzar HQ with the curious case of the button, the browser and the global international mega-corp …

The Button

The Zamzar Web Browser Button has been around for a few years now, and is the best way of converting your files at the touch of a button from within your web browser. If you don’t have it already stop everything and get it here now !.

The Problem

Recently some of you who use the button reported it isn’t working in the Google Chrome web browser when trying to convert YouTube videos.

We’ve taken a look into this problem and there is a bug in Chrome which is causing this to break. If you want the juicy technical details you can see them here, but in layman’s terms we can tell you:

    “Google broke it”.

How to fix it

Fortunately there is a simple way to fix the problem … unfortunately it’s something you need to do rather than us.

Step 1 – Open a new tab in Chrome and click “Apps” at the bottom of the browser

Step 2 – Right click the YouTube app and select “Remove from Chrome”

Step 3 – Click uninstall

Step 4 – Restart the web browser

Step 5 (optional) – Sing joyfully

Hopefully this will help if you come up against the problem whilst we wait for Google to pull their fingers out and fix things in Chrome 🙂

Happy Converting !
The Zamzar Team.

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We’re improving Zamzar …

Our rocket scientists have been working hard to make Zamzar better for you over the past few months.

Here’s a quick rundown of the things we’ve been fixing in recent months.

If you’ve noticed any other bugs, or want us to improve anything else with the service please let us know.


  • PDF to JPG – In some cases we noticed that very large files (500+ pages) were failing to convert.
  • Keynote to PPT – Some Apple Keynote presentations had issues when being converted into Microsoft Powerpoint.
  • DOCX to DOC – Some larger .docx files were failing to convert correctly to the .doc format.
    Note: We’re still aware of an issue whereby some files with a non-Latin alphabet fail to convert. Our engineers are working to fix this.
  • PDF to XLS – A bug in our conversion process caused a number of these conversions to fail. We’ve now fixed this to improve conversion success for these files by over 40%
  • PUB to PDF – Files with very long filenames were failing, an issue which we’ve now fixed.

Video conversions

    We fixed an issue which had been preventing video file conversions from the popular video sharing website at GodTube. Yay !

    Notification Emails

    • Delivering to your inbox – We’ve improved the way we send email notifications for conversions so that less of them end up in your spam folders.
    • Look & Feel – In some email providers (most notably Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail) Zamzar conversion emails looked wonky. We’ve now tidied them up to look all nice and shiny.

    Happy converting,
    The Zamzar Team.

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