Compressing (zipping) files does two things, it combines all the selected files/folders into one file as well as minimizes the file size of the original file into a newly created zip file. When emailing photos or sharing files online it is best to compress all files together and sent as one file instead of sending 50 different files. There are however certain files that you’ll notice once compressed don’t actually zip down the file size, this is because some files already come compressed.

How to Quickly Zip Files on a Mac

compress zip files mac into a rar files

Compress (Zip)

Unfortunately it is incredibly difficult to compress a file, and could take many failed attempts to get it to zip properly. The necessary steps are as follows, however be sure to follow every step precisely.

  1. Right-click (or control + click) on the file or folder you want to zip and select Compress “[file/folders name here]”.

If you’ve followed these arduous instructions properly then your Mac will create a zip file :P .

To compress multiple files/folders into one zip file simply select all the files you want to compress, right-click and select Compress. Depending on the size and number of items being compressed it could take a few minutes. A window will pop up showing the progress and remaining time.

This is the easiest way to zip files on a Mac, however there are no options to set a password and it does not allow compressing to .rar (another form of a .zipped file) or splitting files into multiple smaller pieces.


Password Protect a Zip file on a Mac

There are quite a few options out there as to how you’d like you zip your files. Macs do come with a way of setting a password on a newly created zip file, however it requires the use of Terminal. Not everyone is comforable using terminal so I’ll although go through some other applications that help in the creation of password protected zip files.


Zip files with Terminal

unarchiver, password protect zip files mac rar

Password Protected

Terminal is a Utility that comes pre-installed on Macs and can be found in /Applications/Utilities or by searching for it in Spotlight. While in terminal you’ll have to navigate to the location of the file that you want to zip. The easiest way to navigate to the folder is to first type “cd” into terminal and then drag the folder where the file that you want to zip is located. So it would look something like this:

cd /Users/Damien/Desktop/Compress

Press Enter. Now type in:

zip -e filetobezipped.txt

Replace “ziparchivenamehere” with what you’d like to archive to be named. Replace “filetobezipped.txt” with the name of the file you are compressing into a zip file. You must also enter the file format of the file. If you don’t know the file format, right-click the file and select “Get Info”. The full file name will be in be shown in the “Name & Extension” section of the Get Info window.

Press Enter and Terminal will ask you to enter and then verify a password for the zipped file. Once entered a password protected zip file will be created in the folder. To add multiple items to the zipped file simply continue to type more file names after “filetobezipped.txt”.


3rd party Applications for Zipping

There are other Applications out there that not only allow you to password protect your zipped files but also split the files into multiple zipped files which when unzipped will combine back together. Keka is a free application that can password protect and split zipped files; it supports compressing to 7z, Zip, Tar, Gzip, Bzip2, DMG and ISO.

Winzip and Stuffit are also available however are not free.


Why is the zip file size the same after being compressed?

You may not notice any size difference when compressing files like JPG, PDF, audio and video files because these files are already compressed. Other files, for example, documents and applications will show a reduced file size. While zipping JPG, PDF, audio and video files may not compress file size it does make it easier to share by putting all of the files into one file.

The default zip format may not be the best format if you want to maximum compression rate. If you’re looking to shrink the file size as much as possible you may need to look to one of the paid applications above as they allow compressing to multiple different formats, like .rar for instance.