Have you ever had the need to send the contents of a folder to someone else? If there are a large number of files this can become a logistical nightmare, especially if forwarding via email. Of course you could just create a single zip file.

The good news is the Mac OS has this functionality automatically built-in to the Finder. Not only will you have a single file that is compatible across all desktop operating systems but you may also notice a file size reduction. This is especially apparent if your files have not previously been compressed.

In order to create a zip file, simply select the files and folders you wish to have compiled in the Finder. Then proceed to File > Compress “name of contents”.

zip menu

Depending on the size of you folder, and the content contained within, this process can take anywhere from mere seconds to minutes, or even hours.

zip progress

Thankfully, you will be presented with a progress bar as the files are being compressed into the new zip file.

It is important to note that whilst this process can decrease the overall storage size by up to 50%, or even more, you may not always see these results. This aberration is because the zipping process will compress the code of the original files as far as it possibly can. Despite this, you shouldn’t confuse this method of compression with compression techniques used in audio, video, and image files.

zip compared
A comparison showing the file size compression.

The zip process is lossless. There will be no degradation of the files contained within a zipped archive. When you unzip the file, you will notice this to be true. Your content will be displayed exactly as it was prior to undertaking this process.

Creating a zip file is a perfect solution for not only forwarding content to other people, but for those of you who wish to get the most out of their available storage.

Whilst the in-built zip functionality will serve many uses, you may find that it is limited for some needs. If you want to encrypt or add a password to your zip files, you should consider other third party applications that can be found in the Mac App Store as that functionality is not currently available with the default offering.

If you would like more information relating to file management on your Mac, please drop into the store and discuss your specific requirements with our staff.