Every now and again I run into an application on my Mac which simply cannot be replaced by a substitute; either with the same features for less money, or more features for the same money. Otherwise, what’s the compelling reason to switch sides?
So it is with BetterZip, my favorite Mac tool to zip up and archive files, which I do on a daily basis.
Apple turned folder and file archives into child’s play but left it at that. Archives on the Mac remains a child. Right-click on folders or files in the Finder and select Compress. That action zips up the folders or files into a compressed archive. Easy peasy, right?
What’s missing is Windows compatibility. There’s no password option. There’s no encryption. And, checking out what’s inside an archive requires you to open the archive to examine the contents.
BetterZip goes way beyond what’s needed to archive folders and files and view archive contents. First, it lets you look inside an archive and remove only files you need. Drag and drop.
Second, BetterZip archives and unarchives files with more compression formats than I knew existed. ZIP, SIT, TAR, XAR, GZip, BZip2, RAR, 7-Zip, CPIO, ARJ, LZH/LHA, JAR, WAR, CAB, ISO, CHM, RPM, DEB, NSIS, BIN, HQX. Who uses all those formats?
Third, BetterZip makes it child’s play to add a password, create a WinZip compatible archive with AES-256 encryption. Need to update an archive? No problemo. Remove any file from within the archive without bothering to open the archive first. Even add files to an archive, or rearrange the files in the archive.
Mac users don’t worry about it much but Windows and Linux users know the problems with archives from Mac users. OS X drops in specific file and resource data. Good for Macs. Not good for the rest of the world. BetterZip can strip them out automatically.
BetterZip uses a Finder-like interface with self explanatory options in the Toolbar.
Just like in the Mac’s Finder, BetterZip lets you preview files from within an archive by using Quick Look. The app also adds menu options to OS X’s Services menu so you can view archives, extract archives, and create archives from within the Finder with little more than a right-click and menu selection.
All this archive goodness comes at a price. BetterZip isn’t free but doesn’t seem to have much competition at the high end. There once was a time when I wished BetterZip had Stuffit capability built-in, but those days are long gone. Who uses Stuffit?
BetterZip comes with many well deserved five star reviews. The only niggle I’ve run into is a slow down when extracting some larger archives in RAR and a few other formats, but otherwise no other issues worth mentioning.