Everything you need to know about how to zip a file on macOS

Allie Hawkins

If you send or download files frequently, you are likely to face the issue of how to zip a file or a folder on Mac as well as how to open a ZIP file. The files are basically compressed to reduce their size or in some cases to reduce ZIP file size that increases loading or downloading. If you are a Mac user, this article can help you with the question of how to make a ZIP file on Mac. below you will find information about how to make a ZIP file and how to open it on your Mac computer.

Quick Summary

  1. How to zip a file on Mac computer
  2. How to open a ZIP file on Mac or MacBook
  3. How to make a ZIP file via Mac Standard Archiver
  4. How to create a ZIP file on Mac with a password
  5. How to open a ZIP file protected with a password
  6. How to zip a file via the third party application

How to zip a file on Mac computer

First of all, go to the place on macOS disk where there are files or folders that need to be compressed. Then you will need to proceed with the following steps:

  1. Select the desired file/files or folders. Please note that there are several ways to do this. You can use the key combination:

    • Command + A - to quickly select all items in a folder.
    • • Hold down the Shift key and click on the first and the last file or folder in the list - to select a range of items.
    • • Hold down Command and click on the desired items - to add them one by one to the already selected.
  2. After selecting all the necessary items, click the right mouse button.

  3. In the context menu that opens, select “Compress selected file(s)(N)”, where N is the number of selected files or folders.

  4. Wait for a while as very large files or folders with a large number of files may take some time to be processed, and the new .zip file will appear. After the process is completed you will hear a system beep indicating that fact.

  5. After the archive is completed, you will see a new file in the same folder. So as you see to zip file Mac users don’t need a lot of time.

By default, it has the name Archive.zip, but you can easily rename it with just a couple of clicks: navigate to the Archive.zip, right-click the mouse and select "Rename".

how to zip a file

How to open a ZIP file on Mac or MacBook

How to unpack zip files is similar to how to create a ZIP file. By default, the Archiving Utility is launched automatically by double-clicking on the zip archive, which leads to unpacking the archive in a single folder if there is more than one file. In addition, the original zip-file remains untouched, that is, when unpacking, a copy of the contents of the archive is created. With built-in support for ZIP file Mac users can also seamlessly work with files when downloading them from Safari. After downloading a ZIP file, it will be automatically unpacked with the same Archiving Utility. In most cases, this default behavior is “what is exactly needed,” but sometimes it bothers.

How to make a ZIP file via Mac Standard Archiver

You do not need to specifically launch the archiving utility in order to use it, it is hidden in the system folder. However, there are a couple of archiving settings that you may need to change according to your wishes. The fastest way to directly access the utility is to type in a Spotlight search Archiving Utility and press enter. Double click it to launch the program. Then in the top menu bar, click the Archive Utility → Preferences. In the window that appears, you can make some changes for unzipping compressed files, as well as for creating them yourself. To change the location of ZIP file Mac users can use the following options “Save expanded files” and “Save archive”. You can also set the program's actions after archiving and unarchiving in the drop-down lists “After archiving” and “After expanding”. After making changes, the settings window should simply be closed.

how to make a zip file

How to create a ZIP file on Mac with a password

Well, we all know about the built-in archive utility in macOS and it is quite good enough in order to perform simple tasks. It easily archives and unarchives all the necessary data. However, how to make a ZIP file on Mac with a password? In order to protect with a password ZIP file Mac users have to open the Terminal and execute the following command:

  • For archiving one file with a password: zip -e [name_of_archive].zip [name_of_file].[extension]
  • For archiving a folder or multiple files with a password with specifying the path: zip -er ~/path/ [name_of_archive].zip ~/path/ [name_of_file].[extension]

Please note that is you do not specify the path, the file will be created in the user’s folder. After entering these commands, you will be prompted to enter a password. Password will not be displayed as you type it. After that, you will need to confirm the password again. As you can see, there is no magic concerning the topic how to zip a file with a password, just follow the steps above and you will see that it is rather easy.

How to open a ZIP file protected with a password

You or the recipient of the encrypted zip file do not need to worry about the Terminal. Just double-click the zip file, as usual, and enter the password when prompted. Unzipping of the file will be proceeded in the usual way.

how to open a zip file

How to zip a file via the third party application

If you think that you often create archives and unpack them and this requires additional functions, then we recommend you to try Commander One. With the help of this best ZIP for Mac solution you can not only archive files and folders into different archives but also go through the content of archive without extracting it. In addition, you do not need to open Terminal if you wish to protect your archive with a password as this feature is already implemented in Commander One. Besides that, the app can boast about other handy features, as support for online connections, built-in Terminal, work with MTP and iOS devices and many more.

zip file mac

So how to compress large files to small size or in other words, how to zip a file on Mac via Commander One? There are 2 variants on how to create a ZIP file.

If you want to make the archive in the same directory:

  1. Select the desired file/files or folders. Please note that there are a couple of ways to do so by using the hotkeys combination described above as well as with the help of the mouse.
  2. After selecting the necessary data, click the right mouse button. In the context menu that opens, select “Compress selected file(s)(N)”, where N is the number of selected files or folders.
  3. After the archive is completed, you will see a new file in the same directory.

If you need to pack files and move the archive to the new directory simultaneously, follow these steps:

  1. Set the source directory in one pane, and the target one in the second pane.
  2. Select the files and click the Archive toolbar button.
  3. Choose the type of archive or a password if necessary.
  4. The archive will appear in the target pane.

Wondering how to make a ZIP file Mac via hotkeys in Commander One, well everything is simple:

  • To compress files - Ctrl + F5
  • To compress files with options - Ctrl + Alt + F5

Commander One

  • Requirements: MacOS 10.10+. 13.1Mb free space
  • Version 2.2(3085). (6th Aug, 2019). Release notes
  • Rank 4.5 based on 89+ users, Reviews(15)
  • Category: Utilities