How to Quickly Make a Zip Archive from the OS X Finder

Mar 1, 2007 - 8 Comments

An incredibly useful feature that is built right into Mac OS X is the ability to create an archive instantly of anything, be it a single document, a folder, or multiple files. Creating archives is great for may reasons, they save space, and it’s a polite and easier way to send a group of files to someone else. Every once in a while we all get emails with a group of files attached that when we save the attachments, suddenly our desktop is littered with a mess of JPG’s, Word documents, and whatever else the sender attached. Spare someone else this annoyance by creating an archive first. Here’s how:


Creating an archive is extremely easy and built right into Mac OS X, here’s how in three easy steps:

  1. Gather the files or folders you want to create an archive with. Simply drag and select them (it can be as many or as few as you’d like).
  2. While these items are still selected, right-click (or control-click, or two-fingered trackpad click) on a single highlighted file to bring up a menu.
  3. Navigate this menu to “Create Archive of ___ items” and click on it


That’s all. If you selected a folder to archive, the archive file will be named after the folder, with a .zip extension. If you selected a group of files to archive, it will be simply named Archive.zip. In both cases, the archive will appear in the same location as the files you selected.

Creating these zip archives also saves a lot of space, great for backups, emails, storage, and making it easier to transfer files to an individual with a lower bandwidth connection. Often, a compressed archive will take up 1/3 or less the space of its decompressed content.

Update: in newer versions of Mac OS X, it is now labeled ‘Compress Items’ rather than ‘Create Archive’, the functionality is the same.

Happy archiving!

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Posted by: OSXDaily in How to, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

8 Comments

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  1. Vladimir says:

    I am so glad Apple finally wised up and put this ability directly into the operating system, the days of dealing with Stuffit Deluxe are happily behind me

  2. Dustin Ingham says:

    I don’t have this option on my imac (Leopard) is it gone? Where the hell is it?

  3. Dustin Ingham says:

    The damn mac is the most frustrating thing in my life. I can’t find anywhere on how to restore the “create archive” choice in the finder menu. Damn this mac! Of course support is closed for after hours… Damn it!

  4. nanisani says:

    >>The damn mac is the most frustrating thing in my life. I can’t find anywhere on how to restore the “create archive” choice in the finder menu. Damn this mac! Of course support is closed for after hours… Damn it!<<

    It’s still there in the File menu. It’s now just called called “Compress…” instead of “Create Archive’

  5. acw4 says:

    is there a way to put it into the contextmenu? (that one that shows when you click with right mouse button (or holding control)

  6. Frank says:

    “The damn mac is the most frustrating thing in my life. I can’t find anywhere on how to restore the “create archive” choice in the finder menu. Damn this mac! Of course support is closed for after hours… Damn it!”

    Absolutely my opinion! There is no compress action in the file menu either.
    What use is the finder for?

    • Manish says:

      “Compress” is both under the File menu and also in the right-click contextual menu, select one or more items and you can create an archive this way, as described above.

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