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How To Make a ZIP File On Mac

How To Make a ZIP File On Mac

Creating a ZIP file on Mac makes it super easy to transfer files, organize backups, and save some storage.

And the best part?

You can zip/unzip files on Mac with a few simple clicks. But before I tell you how to do it, let’s discuss some of the reasons you may want to create ZIP files because many people think it only saves you a little bit of disk space.

So, without any further ado, let’s dive in.

Save Disk Space

Now, that’s a given.

Almost everyone knows that the use of Zip files saves disk space which can be used for other stuff.

So, if you’re looking to make backup copies of your data (which essentially duplicates selected files) it’s best to compress your files using Zip file format.

Clear Digital Clutter

Let’s face it.

If you’re like most people, your desktop or folders must be cluttered with files you rarely need. But you don’t want to permanently delete them because you might need them in the future. In this case, the best way is to create a zip file in Mac. Simply zip all those files into one single Zip file because compressed files (aka ZIP files) not only take less disk space but are also a great way to clear digital clutter. Thus, helping you get rid of the clutter. A win, win.

Makes Organization Easy

Zip files also help you with the organization of your files & folders.

To give you an example, let’s say you have a folder of Word documents that contain dozens of folders and hundreds of files.

Now, organizing that would not be an easy task.

A better solution would be to put all the files & folders into a single zip file and then all you are left with is one single file to manage and organize.

Makes it pretty easy.


Save Time

Creating a zip file can also save you time.

As discussed in the previous point that the Zip file lets you combine different files into one single file, this property of the zip file can save you a lot of time.

Just to illustrate this point, let’s suppose you have around 50 images (placed in different folders in your Mac) to send someone over email.

Now, one way is to attach all these 50 images one by one in your email – but it will take a considerable amount of time.

So, there has to be a better way.

And as it turns out that there is. And the easiest way to do that is to turn all those images and convert them into one zip file in Mac. Now, instead of sending all the images one by one, you can simply select the Zip file you just created and send it instead (pretty cool! huh?).

Save Bandwidth

We all know that sending big files can take a long time + internet bandwidth.

As zip files compress your files (making them smaller in size) it makes them more compact and quicker to transfer. Thus, saving you some bandwidth too.

Provide Greater Security

An often-overlooked side benefit of creating Zip file is that zipped files are more effectively encrypted than normal files which means they are more secure than files simply kept in a folder

So, if protecting your files is important to you, then you should use Zipping function extensively in your work.

Okay, now when you’ve understood the benefits of creating Zip files, let’s discuss some of its technical aspects.

What is a ZIP file?

A ZIP file is a collection of files that have been compressed into a single file.

A simple way to understand its working is by the following analogy.

Let’s say you have a bag in which you have stored some valuables and then zipped closed it so that it is easy to move, transfer, or send (now all your belongings are IN the bag).

Zip files work in a similar fashion.

You take multiple files or folders (although you can compress a single file too) and combine them so that they act like one file.

And the reason it’s called ZIP file is that it uses ZIP as its file extension.

How to create a ZIP file on MAC

Until recent times, Mac users had to rely on expensive third-party apps to create ZIP files. However, current macOS in the market offers amazing built-in compression tools which make it a total breeze to quickly compress large files and folders.

Step by Step Process for Creating a Single ZIP File on Mac

The process for creating a single ZIP file on Mac is very simple.

All you have to do is select the file (you wish to compress) by doing right-click or by pressing Control + Tap and chooose Compress on the menu that appears.

And voila!

Your Zip file is ready.

However, if you want to create creating multiple files into a single ZIP file that’s a little different.

But even that’s is quite easy.

All you need to do is follow the steps given below and you’ll be fine.

Step by Step Process for Creating ZIP File that contains multiple files

Below is the step-by-step guide on how you can create a ZIP file on Mac:

  1. Select all the files you want to compress by holding down the button of your mouse or trackpad to draw a box encompassing all the files you want to compress.
How to create a zip file on mac os
  1. Right-click and select Compress on the menu that shows up.
  1. A new, blank ZIP file (containing all the selected files) will be created which will be named “” by default.
  1. To change the name of the newly created file, right-click on the archive and select Rename. (It’s a good idea to rename files to help you identify the content of any Zip file)

That’s it.

Wasn’t it easy?

I hope, it was.

Anyways, there’s also a limitation when using Zip files which you should be mindful of.

And the limitation is that once you’ve created a zip file you cannot add more files to it. In other words, if you forgot to add one particular file and now want to add it to your existing ZIP file then you can’t do that.

How to UNZIP a file

Unzipping a “zip” file is quite easy too.

All you have to do is double-click on the zip file and it opens automatically – nothing complicated.

How Small Can You Make the Files?

It’s understood that compressing a file (i.e., converting into ZIP format) saves space but what many don’t understand is the fact that how much space you save by compressing the file very much depends on the type of files you’re trying to compress.

However, as a general rule of thumb, a zip file will be around 10% less in size as compared to the original file.


If you want to find out exactly how much space you’ve saved by compressing your files in a ZIP, you can do so by doing a quick comparison of before/after sizes of the selected file.

Adding a password to your zip file

Creating a ZIP file also gives you the option to password protect your confidential files/folders.

So, if you think you’ll benefit from securing your files with a password, you may want to compress them into a Zip file. This way, when someone tries to extract the contents of your ZIP file, they need to enter the password before they can extract its content. Thus, making it more secure.

Now, you may be thinking…

Aren’t there some more ways to create a ZIP file on Mac?

And the answer to that is, of course, there are.

You can, if you prefer using commands over GUI, use the terminal function on macOS to zip/unzip the files & folders. However, this method requires some detailed explanation so we will leave that discussion for some other day).

As mentioned in the beginning that before Mac introduced its built-in function to create/manage ZIP files there were plenty of tools and utilities to get the job done and still there are a lot of apps available in the market that can do it for you.

So, if you’re looking for some advanced functionality that the built-in tools don’t provide then you use these apps too (A quick Google search will reveal the top apps in this category).

Hope it helps 🙂

Parker Casio Patty
Parker Casio Patty

I am a Digital Marketer and Growth Specialist who helps small and mid-sized enterprises grow their brand and build an audience online. I enjoy reading when I’m not working on my projects.

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