How to Zip and Unzip Files and Folders on Mac

Mac user trying to compress a folder

Macs come with a robust built-in compression tool that can help you compress and decompress files and folders. In addition, it is very easy to use! For additional functionality, you can always try a third-party app as well.

First, let’s talk about the built-in archive utility tool. It is not an application, but a functionality deeply integrated into the Finder application.

How to compress files and folders on Mac

To start, open the “Finder” application and find the files or folders you want to compress. If you select multiple files, hold down the Command key while selecting files.

Once the selection has been made, right-click it to display the context menu. Here, click on the “Compress” option.

Click Compress to compress files on the Mac

If you are using multiple files, the Compress option will also tell you how many files you have selected.

Once the compression process is complete, you will see a new compressed file in the same folder. If you have compressed a single file or folder, the archive will have the same name, with a “.zip” extension.

If you have compressed several files, you will see a new file with the name “Archive.zip”. You should rename the file to make it easier to find.

RELATED: The fastest ways to rename files on macOS

You can now move the compressed Zip file to another folder or send it as an email attachment.

How to decompress files and folders on Mac

Decompressing an archive is even easier. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Zip file that you downloaded from the Internet or something that you have compressed yourself.

Go to the archive in the Finder application and double-click the Zip file. After several seconds, the file or folder decompresses in the same folder.

Double-click the Zip file to decompress the file or folder on the Mac

If it was a single file, you will see that the file will return to its original state, with the name intact. If you decompress a folder or a Zip file containing several files, it will appear as a folder with the same name as the archive.

How to change the settings of the archive utility

Even if the Archive Utility does not have a visible user interface, you can change some of its settings. To do this, open Spotlight on your Mac (Command + Space) and search for “Archiving utility”.

Search the archive utility in Spotlight search

Once it opens, click on the “Archive Utility” item in the menu bar, then click on the “Preferences” option.

Click Preferences in the Archive Utility menu

Here you can change the behavior of the archive utility in the Finder application. You can create a new default destination for all compressed files and decompress as well as choose to move the archived files to the Trash.

Archive Utility Preferences

Third-party alternative: the de-archiver

If you are looking for more features or want decompress different formats like RAR, 7z, Tar, etc., try The Unarchiver. It is a completely free utility that supports more than a dozen popular and obscure archive formats.

The list of Unarchiver formats

The application allows you to change the default extraction destination. In addition, it allows you to choose to create a new folder to extract the files, automatically open the folders when the extraction is complete and activate an option to move the archive to the Trash once the extraction is complete. .

RELATED: How to open 7z and other archive files on OS X

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