OS X has a built-in file archive utility. Select a file or files in the Finder, right click, select Compress, and you get a zipped archive of the files. Is there a better, easier, faster way to archive files on a Mac than that? Actually, there is.
Zip Me Up, Baby
Apple kept the zip archive method as simple as possible for the great unwashed masses of Mac users who needed a quick way to collect a few files together.
Unfortunately, that’s all Archive in OS X does. You can’t view archived files without opening the archive first.
There’s not even password capability or compression versions or encryption. Worse, the zip archive from OS X isn’t always compatible with our Windows brethren and sistren.
If you’re on a budget but need more than what OS X’s archive can do, try the Archive Expert.
This is an inexpensive but feature laden utility that only does archives. Open, view, create– but it has bells and whistles that make it this week’s Mac Value App.
Look at the options.
Unlike OS X’s archive tool, Archive Expert lets you browse, extract, create, modify and even split up multiple file archives. The app is menu driven so simply select the file, then click the archive selections you need.
Of course, that’s exactly why Apple keeps the zip archive so simple. Too many choices can be confusing. For example, Archive Expert extracts these file formats.
zip, rar, 7z, lha, zipx, stufflt, hqx, bin, gzip, gz, tgz, tar-gz, bz2, bzip2, bz, txz, tar, iso, cdi, nrg, mdf, gtar, z, taz, tar-z, lzma, xar, xip, ace, arj, arc, pak, spk, zoo, lbr, lqr, lzr, pma, cab, rpm, deb, alz, dd, cpt, pit, now, sea, msi, cpio, cpgz, pax, warc, ha, adf, adz, dms, f, lzx, dcs, pkd, xms, zom, p, nsa, pdf
Whoa. Most of those I didn’t even know existed. But that’s just the extraction options. Archive Expert also compresses in zip, 7z, gzip, tar, bzip2 and more. But it also gives you multiple compression levels.
Archives are easily password protected, and each archive has basic file information for size, compressed size, modified date, compression type and more. Even photos will display EXIF information (ditto for audio and video files).
Probably the coolest feature for me is the ability for Archive Expert to display the contents of an archived file without opening the file first in the Finder. Files can be previewed using OS X’s Quick Look tool (select file, press Spacebar).
And, importantly, Archive Export zips up files that are easily opened by Windows Users. Well done, priced right.