How you can Make a ZIP File on a Mac

Even if you don't have to compress files, ZIP archives are still handy. We'll show you how to create them on macOS.

Create a zip file on a Mac

If you want to create a ZIP file on your Mac, there are several different options. macOS has built-in tools, but there are also third-party apps that you can use to create ZIP archives on your Mac.

This guide explains what a ZIP file is and how you can create one in macOS.

What is a ZIP file?

A ZIP file is a compressed archive that contains several files. It uses ZIP as a file extension. You can "compress" an entire directory structure into one file, hence the name.

There are many reasons to create a ZIP file. It is most common when you want to reduce the size of your files. Because a ZIP archive compresses your files, you will get a smaller file size when you put your files in a ZIP archive.

Related: How Does File Compression Work?

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How does file compression work?

How does file compression work? Learn the basics of file compression and the difference between lossy and lossless compression.

The other reason users create a zip file is because they want to combine their files. Let's say you need to send ten pictures. Instead of sending these individually, you can put them all in a ZIP archive and send the archive as a single file instead.

As mentioned above, macOS has built-in support for both extracting and creating ZIP archives. This feature is built right into Finder, and you can access it from the context menu (there are apps that you can use to further improve Finder's functionality).

How to create a ZIP archive in macOS:

Create a zip file on a Mac

  1. Keep all of the files you want to add to your ZIP archive in a single folder.

  2. Open the folder containing your files in Finder.

  3. Select the files you want to add to the ZIP archive, right click on a file and select Compress X elements (Where X. is the number of items you selected).

  4. macOS creates a ZIP file with all the selected files. This ZIP file is saved in the same folder as your original files.

If you want to see how much disk space you've saved by compressing your files into a zip file, you can do a quick comparison by right-clicking your zip file and selecting Get Info. Use the file size there and compare it to the original size of your files.

If you need to extract your zip file, double-click the zip file. MacOS extracts the contents into a folder.

How to create a ZIP file using the Mac Terminal

Another way to create a zip file on a Mac is to use the terminal. In this utility, you can use a command to create a zip file with the specified files.

If you prefer commands to graphical user interfaces, you should opt for creating ZIPs on macOS. This also allows you to create ZIP archives of files from different directories without first moving them to a single folder.

Create a zip file with the terminal

This procedure uses the terminal to create a zip file with no password protection:

Use the terminal to create a zip file

  1. Open Terminal on your Mac.

  2. Use the CD Command to go to the folder that has the files you want to add to your zip file.

  3. Once in this folder, use the following command to create a zip file. The following command will sample.zip is the name of the source ZIP and mydocument.txt is the file to be added to the ZIP.
    zip sample.zip mydocument.txt

  4. The terminal creates the ZIP archive and stores it in your current folder.

Create a password-protected ZIP file with the terminal

You can use the terminal to create password-protected ZIP files. That way, anyone trying to extract the contents of your zip archive will have to enter the correct password before they can do so.

You can create a secure ZIP archive in the terminal as follows:

Create a password-protected ZIP file with the terminal

  1. Start the terminal.

  2. Use CD to get to the folder where your source files are located.

  3. Enter the following where secure.zip is the resulting zip file and passwords.txt is the file to be added to the ZIP.
    zip -er secure.zip passwords.txt

  4. As soon as you hit EnterThe terminal will ask you to enter the password for your new zip file. Enter the password and press Enter. You have to do this twice. Also, keep in mind that you won't see your password as you type it into the terminal.

  5. Your password protected ZIP file should now be ready.

Unzip a ZIP file with the terminal

You can also use the terminal to unzip ZIP archives:

Extract a zip file on a Mac

  1. Open a terminal window.

  2. Enter the following and press Enter. Make sure to replace myarchive.zip with the actual name of the zip code you want to extract.
    unzip myarchive.zip

  3. The terminal should decompress the entire contents of your zip code.

Here's how to compress files on your Mac using a free third-party app

The built-in methods aren't the only way to create ZIPs on a Mac. They also have a few apps that can help you create and extract archive files on your Mac computer.

One of these apps is B1 Free Archiver, which allows you to create ZIP files as well as your own B1 archive file format.

How to create an archive with this app:

ZIP files with an app on a Mac

  1. Download, install, and launch the B1 Free Archiver app on your Mac.

  2. Use the built-in file manager to select the files you want to add to your archive.

  3. click Create above.

  4. click Search To choose a folder to store your archive in, choose a format from the Archive format Menu and press begin.

  5. Optionally, you can configure other options such as: B. splitting your archive into several parts and using a different compression mode.

Archive files: they are more than just compressing files

There are many reasons to use ZIP on your Mac. With several options for creating ZIP archives in macOS, you can quickly and easily store all of your individual files in a compressed archive.

Of course, ZIP files can also come on the large page. If you are dealing with situations where files need to be kept under a certain size, you may need to use a different type of archive file. We haven't covered RAR files in this article, but you can break these into parts to get arbitrary file size restrictions.

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About the author

Mahesh Makvana
(86 articles published)

Mahesh is a tech writer at MakeUseOf. He has been writing technical guides for about 8 years and has covered many subjects. He loves teaching people how to get the most out of their devices.

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