How to make a ZIP file on a Mac

How to make a ZIP file on a Mac
Pavel Ignatov/123RF

If you send or download things on a frequent basis, you have probably encountered your share of “zipped” files. These files have been compressed to cut down on the file size, making it quicker to upload or download them. If you’re a Mac user, you may want to know how to use these files to transmit data, whether for work or personal use. Here is how to make a ZIP file on a Mac.

So, what is a ZIP file?

When you need to send lots of data, you might be distraught at how long it takes. This can be especially troublesome with music or video files, which, depending on the format, could take hours to upload or download. The way around this is to compress the files, either by eliminating redundancies in the files, which can then by recreated (lossless compression) or by cutting out unnecessary bits, albeit at the cost of a perfect replica (lossy). Compressed files are packed into various archive formats such as RAR and ZIP. When you download a compressed file, you will need to extract the contents — or “unzip” them — in order to access them.

How to create a ZIP file on a Mac

Creating a ZIP file on a Mac is quick and easy, as MacOS contains a built-in utility for compressing or unzipping files.

First, find a file or group of files you want to compress. For a single file, simply right-click it and select Compress [file name].

how to make a zip file on mac create step 1

You will see a ZIP file appear in the same folder as the original, which will still be present.

how to make a zip file on mac create step 2

To compress multiple files into one ZIP file, select them all, then right-click and select Compress X items, with X being the number of highlighted files.

how to make a zip file on mac create step 4

A single Archive file will appear in the folder the originals are in.

how to make a zip file on mac create step 45

How to unzip a file

Unzipping a ZIP file is about as easy as creating one. Simply right-click the file in question, hover over Open With, and choose Archive Utility (or a third-party unzipping program, if you have one).

how to make a zip file on mac create step 6

MacOS will automatically create a new folder containing the zipped files in the same location as the ZIP file. If you want to secure your ZIP files with a password, we have a guide for that, too.