When Mac OS X came along early in the 21st century, Apple provided a free Archive tool in the Finder which would compress files, archive files, and unarchive and decompress archives.
Today, Mac users can choose from a few dozen archive tools with features that go well beyond Apple’s built-in Archive tool.
To Zip Or Browse?
Apple’s Archive utility zips files into archives and unzips archive back to the original files. But that’s about all Archive does.
Since the zipping of an archive is already built-in to OS X, most Mac users will find value in an app that does what Apple’s does not.
The Archive Browser is self explanatory. The app lets you browse an Archive without opening it first.
The advantages of browsing first are obvious. The Archive Browser lets you view the contents of common archive formats, including .zip, RAR, Tar, Gzip, as well as Stuffit, and many others.
Browse? Yes. The Archive Browser is a browser which lets you see the files inside an Archive, including photos, file data information, and much more. And, when you need to open a file, it can extract all the files in an archive or just a selected file.
Here’s how it looks when viewing a photo within an archive.
To view the contents of a password protected archive, The Archive Browser will prompt you for a password and provide a recommended encoding to open the archive for viewing.
While viewing and extracting files within an archive is a desirable function, one obvious feature that’s missing is the ability to add a file to an archive of other files.
That alone would make it worth the price of admission (you’ll spend more at Starbucks).
One thing I don’t understand about The Archive Browser is why it continues to run on my Mac when I close an opened archive.
Alright, as nice as The Archive Browser is, if you’re on a very tight budget and don’t mind a spartan interface, try The Unarchiver. It’s free, does mostly what The Archive Browser does, but without the visual preview function.