Configure the Archive function in OS X on the Mac

I recently showed where you can find hidden apps on your Apple Mac’s disk drive and then explored the Network Utility. It is a useful tool. In this article I will look at one of the other hidden apps, the Archive Utility. What is it for and how do you use it?

Let’s open that hidden folder of apps. Go to the Go menu and select Computer.

Finder on the Apple Mac

The Finder window will look something like this, with the Mac’s internal disk drive and Network.

Finder on the Apple Mac

Open the MacBook folder (your Mac’s disk might have a different name). The open the System folder, followed by Library, CoreServices, and then Applications.

Finder on the Apple Mac

Archive Utility is at the top with the green icon. What does it do? To see it in action, you do not need to run it. Open another folder with some files in. I created a test folder and copied some files to it, which means I am not working with the originals, they are safe elsewhere.

Select several files in the Finder window and then right click (or Ctrl+click) them. In the menu that is displayed is Compress X Items, where X is the number you selected.

Archive files in OS X

What happens is that the Archive Utility is run and it is this that performs the task of creating the zip file. A single file called is created and it contains compressed copies of the files you selected. It is handy for emailing files to people because it reduces the size, sometimes quite significantly.

Run Archive Utility in the hidden folder. It does nothing, but you can go to the Archive Utility menu and select Preferences. Here you can see and change the settings used when you archive files and turn them into .zip files.

Archive Utility in OS X

When a .zip file is double clicked, the contents are extracted into a folder of the same name, minus the .zip extension. A Finder window may open automatically to show the files in the folder, but it may not. Tick the box Reveal expanded item(s) in Finder if you want to open a Finder window, or clear the tick if you don’t.

Click After expanding, and you can choose what to do with the .zip file afterwards. For example, you could send it to the Trash or delete it automatically.

Archive Utility in OS X

That’s another useful feature and it is up to you which option you choose. Moving it to the Trash is preferred to deleting it because then you can always recover it should discover you need it tomorrow or next week.

The bottom half of the preferences window deals with creating archives. I could not get these options to work.

Archive Utility in OS X

If you choose to delete the original files that were archived or move them to the Trash, they are not deleted. At least not on my Mac running the latest version of OS X Yosemite. Can someone else try this and confirm that it makes no difference what setting is selected? Maybe it is just my Mac, but I doubt it.




Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Related items you will like...