There was a time when the only kind of archive tool Mac users had was Stuffit. Back in the day, Stuffit was good for collecting files and folders together in a single archive file, the old .sit.
When OS X came along, so did the Unix archive tool .zip, somewhat compatible with the zip files in the Windows world. Stuffit is still around but most Mac users coast along fine with the built-in zip archive. There is a better way. A BetterZip. Here’s six ways BetterZip is better than what comes with OS X.
I’ve been collecting useful Mac utilities since long before there was an OS X for Mac users. My Mac is stuffed with archives of old files in Stuffit format, .zip format, rar and tar and more. An archive utility wraps up files and folders, sometimes compresses them, often adds encryption.
I once asked the question, How Many Ways Can You Compress Files On Your Mac? As it turns out, plenty.
BetterZip is the utility I use the most to archive files on my Mac because it does the most, is the easiest to use, and seems to archive and extract in about every format I run into.
Most of us get along fine with OS X’s .zip archive or, for old timers, Stuffit’s archives. BetterZip does it all better by opening and extracting archives from a long list of formats.
ZIP, SIT, TAR, GZip, BZip2, RAR, 7-Zip, CPIO, ARJ, LZH/LHA, JAR, WAR, CAB, ISO, CHM, RPM, DEB, NSIS, BIN, HQX, DD. Alright, some are not so common.
Extract What You Need
Your Mac’s .zip archive neatly wraps up whatever files and folders you want to park in an archive. To get them out, just double click. The only problem is that everything comes out.
BetterZip has a better way. The window utility lets you view what’s inside the archive without opening it up. Simply drag and drop whatever file or folder is inside the archive over to your Mac’s desktop. No double clicking. No messy of files all over.
OS X’s archive utility is about as easy to use as it gets. Select your file or files or folders, right click your Mac’s mouse, select Archive. Seconds later you have an Archive.zip file ready for storing or distribution.
Creating archives in BetterZip is a drag and drop process. Create the zip file in the format of your choice, then drag and drop the files you want to archive into the zip file. Save the archive and you’re done.
As Mac users, most of us are familiar with both the Stuffit archive format, and OS X’s .zip format. BetterZip does that better by providing a few more options.
Supported archive formats include ZIP as well as the popular GZip, and TAR, BZip2, compressed TAR, 7-ZIP. Most of us will only need ZIP, but our geeky friends will like the flexibility.
One of the nice things about archiving files is the ability to provide a password protected archive. BetterZip protects the data inside the archive with an optional password.
Additionally, the archive can use the WinZip compatible AES-256 encryption for added security, and compatibility with Windows PC users.
Since BetterZip uses a utility window to peer into an archive, you can use that same utility to update, or add to an archive without opening it up first.
Simple select the archive in BetterZip, remove or add files to the archive, even rearrange files inside the archive, treating it just like a folder on your Mac.
It Does Windows
Unfortunately, not all file formats Mac to Windows and back again are created equal. Mac files carry plenty of meta data that’s different than Windows files.
BetterZip can strip Mac files and resource forks to make some files more compatible with Windows.
Quick Look Bonus
As if that’s not enough to make it obvious that BetterZip is better than Stuffit and far better than the .zip archive tool in OS X, there’s also a Quick Look plugin. This handy utility works like OS X’s Quick Look. Press the space bar to peer inside an archive.
Archiving is easy on OS X but it’s made better with BetterZip, the utility Apple should have included on every Mac.