Electronic Team uses cookies to personalize your experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our cookie policy. Click here to learn more.

How to zip a file on Mac – the easiest way

Olga Weis Olga Weis Aug 4, 2021

If you have a lot of old records and information taking up space on your computer, you can compress them into a small archive. macOS allows you to compress information directly from the OS. You can also get third-party ZIP programs for Mac, like Commander One, that can be more efficient.

How to zip a file on Mac computer

Creating a ZIP archive on Mac is easy, and with compression tools built right into macOS, there is no need to download additional ZIP utilities for Mac or plugins to quickly create ZIP archives and compress a single file, a group of files, or an entire folder.

If you are not familiar with creating ZIP archives on Mac, here's how to do it accurately and quickly:

Open Finder.

Select a file to be added to the archive.

 Select a file
Activate the context menu for working with files.

Select the option Compress.

 Compress files

After that, a new archive appeared in the same Finder folder. It can be used in any convenient way: send it over the Internet, leave it in storage, transfer it to an external drive.

How to zip a folder on Mac computer

To compress multiple files and/or folders, create a new folder (Shift + Cmd + N) in Finder or on your desktop and name it whatever you want the ZIP on Mac to be called.

Drag and drop the files you want to zip.
Right click the folder, choose the Compress selected file(s)(N).
After completing archiving, drag the created folder to the trash can.

If you do not want to create and delete folders while zipping files on Mac, select all the items, right click them and select Compress selected file(s)(N), where N is the number of files you selected.

How to make ZIP files on Mac and save them in another place

You can change the destination of your compressed files by opening an application that performs compression. It's called the Archive Utility and can be found using Spotlight search.

Open the Archive Utility.
Click the Archive Utility drop-down menu at the top of the screen and select Preferences.
Click the option that says Save expanded files, select Into, and then choose a new destination. (By default, it saves the Mac ZIP files in the same location as the original file.)

How to сreate a ZIP file on Mac from the command line

An unusual but efficient way to create ZIP file on Mac is in the Terminal. It is the Windows equivalent of the command line and allows macOS users to execute various commands. This is how you can create a ZIP file on Mac using the command line only:

First you need to open Terminal.
Use the following command to zip files on Mac: zip mydocument.txt.
Terminal will create and place a ZIP archive in your current folder.

Another easy way to create an archive from the command line is to use the drag and drop feature supported in the Terminal, enter ZIP command as usual, and then drag the file (s) to compress into the Terminal window.

Advantages of using a third-party software for creating a ZIP file on a Mac

The simplest function of creating a ZIP file on Mac is integrated into the operating system itself. Unfortunately, it does not allow setting parameters and serves solely for combining files and compressing their size. The built-in archiver may find it too tough for dealing with an encrypted archive or, say, a file that is split into several volumes for ease of transfer. That is why for those who often deal with archives, it makes sense to install an additional ZIP utility for Mac.

Programs from third-party developers have much more functionality. They are able to perform numerous tasks, work with a wide range of extensions, and have convenient integration into the context menu. For instance, Commander One. In fact, the program is a cool file manager with wide functionality.

Commander One
4.7 Rank based on 889 + users Reviews(524)
Requirements: macOS 10.13
Version: v3.7(3831), Released 25 Sep, 2023 Release notes
Category: Utilities

But besides that, it is a powerful tool for unpacking and creating archives in formats: ZIP, RAR, 7Zip, TBZ, TGZ, etc. This zipping software for Mac supports encryption function for archives, offers hotkeys combinations for both compressing files and compressing files with options, has a convenient archive toolbar button, allows setting internal compression ratio as well as offers much more additional features for efficient and perfect file management.

Command Line

What is a ZIP file extension?

ZIP is a common file archive format that allows you to work with multiple directories. It provides compression of information by different algorithms, more often Deflate. The standard was developed by Phil Katz in 1989 and implemented in PKZIP software from PKWARE. ZIP is the most widely used archive format that you may come across and is used to transport and store information. To view and use the files stored in the archive, you need to unpack it, that is, extract the files into a regular folder.


There are many reasons to zip file on Mac. With multiple ways to create ZIP archives on macOS, you can quickly and easily put all of your individual files into one compressed archive. Of course, even zipped files for Mac can be too large. If you are dealing with situations where you need files to remain less than a certain size, you may need to turn to a different type of archive file.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Right click the folder, choose the Compress selected file(s)(N) from the context menu to obtain the Mac ZIP folder archive.
To create ZIP file Mac users need to select the desired file, right click it and choose from the context menu Compress option.
In the Preview app on your Mac, open the PDF, then choose File > Export. (Don’t choose Export as PDF.) Click the Quartz Filter pop-up menu, then choose Reduce File Size.
To open .zip on Mac you need to double-click the Zip file and it will be extracted into the same directory.
There is a built-in archive utility on Mac that allows you to compress a ZIP file on your computer. In addition you can use third party ZIP software for Mac, like Commander One.
The process of zipping large files on Mac is the same as the regular files. However, you should remember that higher compression ratio cannot be achieved for already compressed files such as video and audio.
No, there are no size limits for Zip files. However, keep in mind that it will take a lot of time to compress files and if they are already compressed (video/audio) do not expect much compression ratio.
It all depends on the type of files: Text files compresses the best, whereas video (avi, mpeg, wmv, flv), music (mp3, wma, aac) and images (jpeg, jpg, gif , png) are slightly reduced in size, since they are originally compressed files.
Yes, there is a built-in ZIP file Mac program called Archive Utility.

Commander One

This dual panel file manager for Mac is fully compatible with macOS 10.13 and later. Requires 51.85MB free space, latest version 3.7(3831). Released 25 Sep, 2023.

4.7 rank based on 889+ users, Reviews (524)
Editor's Choice

Try the best ZIP archiver for Mac – Commander One