My day job is fighting bits for a Chicagoland private school of mixed races. We have hundreds and hundreds of Macs, Windows PCs, and we’re also infected by dozens of shiny new Chromebooks (which, admittedly don’t require much effort to maintain because they don’t really do much, but that’s a separate issue). That means someone always has a question I cannot easily answer. Here’s one.
How Much Is That Zip Archive?
Let’s say you work on in a cubicle farm and a co-worker says, “Zip up those files and email them to me.” Easy peasy, right? In the Finder, select the four or five files in question, right-click and select Compress. That gives you a zip archive of the files which can be emailed with little effort.
Now, what if your cubicle farm co-worker says this, “Zip up those files and email them to me. But add a password so they’re secure.” Uh oh. Funny thing. True story. Apple built-in a password option to the archive function but didn’t bother to tell anyone about it. If you’d like to add a password to an archive then you need to get out your Terminal.app and dive into the once famous command line interface.
Bob Chesley has a nice step-by-step on how to use Terminal.app to accomplish the password protected archive, but it’s not for the squeamish Mac user, or those of us with short term memory issues (which seem to come into play the next time you want to do the same thing but can’t remember how it was done).
You could spend a few hours searching the interwebs and the Mac App Store for an archive app which also adds a password but you’d be hard pressed to find an easy one, and most of the good ones are not free. Enter EZipMaker, an inexpensive Mac utility which does one thing. It zips up an archive of files and lets you add a password. You know, the way Apple probably intended to do but just hasn’t gotten around to it yet.
EZipMaker is, well, easy to zip and add a password to files or a file or a folder of files. It works great, is priced about right, but there’s a gotcha here and there. First, EZipMaker is from a non-certified Mac app developer so you’ll need to rummage through System Preferences > Security & Privacy to allow it to run on your Mac. So, there’s that.
The interface? Well, there’s no interface. Double-click to open and EZipMaker opens the popup dialog box immediately so you can select the files you want to archive. Select them. You’ll be asked to enter the password for the archive. Twice. If there are multiple files in the selection you’ll be asked to choose Single Archives (an archived file for each) or a MultiArchive (wrapping up the whole shebang). After that, EZipMaker creates the standard OS X archive but with the password built-in, which makes it easier to share and have a measure of security (of course, you may have to send the password with the zip archive so, well, so much for security).
Not bad for not quite free.