And, there’s a couple of other ways that do zip archives even better. One to create archives, and the other to use archives. These are the tools Apple needs to put into OS X.
Zip It, Open It, Use It
Let me do the easy one first. OS X’s zip archive tool is built-in, free, useful, but underpowered. Why? Apple doesn’t trust users to handle the complexities of zip archives.
First of all, the zip archive tool is easy to use– to create a zip archive of files and folders, and to open an archive to reveal the contents.
Unlike Windows which lets you move files in and out of an archive, though, OS X doesn’t let you use an app to browse a zip archive’s contents.
Zipster changes that and actually improves on the Windows operation.
Zipster works in the background to let you use an app to open and copy or move files to and from a zip archive without opening the archive first. You can even do that within an app. That’s the way it should be done and shame on Apple for not making it work that way.
Second, here’s a look at my favorite Mac zip archive tool. Apple’s zip archive tool in OS X’s Finder is free but it doesn’t work like BetterZip.
Like Zipster, BetterZip lets you look inside a zip archive of files and folders without having to double-click to open then entire archive’s contents. Betterzip looks at the archive and lets you move files to the Finder or Desktop, drag and drop.
Unlike the built-in archive tool in OS X, BetterZip creates archives in a bunch of popular formats– ZIP, TAR, Gzip, BXip2, XAR, 7-ZIP, RAR, and others. And it unzips archives in even more formats– ZIP, SIT, TAR, XAR, GZip, BZip2, RAR, 7-Zip, CPIO, ARJ, LZH/LHA, JAR, WAR, CAB, ISO, CHM, RPM, DEB, NSIS, BIN, HQX.
In just a couple of clicks you can create a WinZip compatible AES 256-bit encrypted archive that’s password protected. If you share files and folders with Windows or Linux users, BetterZip rips out all the useless metadata that OS X installs and which befuddles non-Mac users.
Yes, files within an archive can be previewed using OS X’s Quick Look feature. IF there’s a better archive management tool around, I don’t know what it is. The only thing I’d like is an option to create Stuffit compressed archives (which is why Stuffit has a price tag, I guess).