Create a compressed archive (tape archive): 

tar zcvf archive.tar.gz dir
tar jcvf archive.tar.bz2 dir
tar --lzma -cvf archive.tar.lzma

Test (list) a compressed archive:

tar ztvf archive.tar.gz
tar jtvf archive.tar.bz2
tar --lzma -tvf archive.tar.lzma

Extract the contents of a compressed archive: 

tar zxvf archive.tar.gz
tar jxvf archive.tar.bz2
tar --lzma -xvf archive.tar.lzma

tar options:

c: create
t: test
x: extract
jon the fly bzip2 (un)compression
z: on the fly gzip (un)compression

Handling zip archives

zip -r < files> (create)
unzip -t (test / list)
unzip (extract)

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