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How to Open ZIP Files on the Macintosh

Note: Many of the products listed in our eBook directory are delivered as ZIP file downloads. ZIP files are compressed files containing one or more files inside, which make up the software and/or eBook package that you purchased. Here are instructions for working with ZIP files on the Apple Mac:

Downloading ZIP files on the Apple Mac is basically done using the same process as downloading any other files to your Macintosh computer. Just click the download button on the site in question, and your Mac will start to download the file onto your computer. Although it is possible to save ZIP files on the desktop, when ZIP files are downloaded from a website, they are directly saved in the Downloads folder or Documents folder in the user directory.

All recent Macintosh computers come with a variant of the MacOS X operating system. This operating system includes built-in features for opening most ZIP files automatically, however in the case of a ZIP file protected by a password, you will need to enter the password and use the Apple Terminal Utility (details below).

Here are the general steps for opening a ZIP file on the Macintosh:
  1. Right click on the ZIP file. A pop-up menu appears. Select "Open With", then "Archive Utility". This associates the Archive Utility with ZIP files.

  2. Double click on a ZIP file to open it. If the ZIP file contains multiple files inside it, a new folder will be created with the same name as the ZIP file. On the other hand, if the ZIP file contains just one file, a file will be created with that name.

  3. In the case when a ZIP file is password protected, Apple's Terminal Utility needs to be used to open it:

    • Click "Go" on the Finder menu, then click "Utilities", and then "Terminal". The native terminal emulator should now be open.

    • At the prompt type "cd" (without the quotes) and followed by a space - do not press the Enter key yet. This tells the terminal emulator change directory. Now drag ZIP folder to the terminal emulator window, and then press Enter. This tells the terminal emulator that you wish to work in the folder where the ZIP is located.

    • At the next prompt type "unzip" (without the quotes) and followed by a space - do not press the Enter key yet. Again drag the ZIP file to the terminal emulator window. This will copy the filename into the terminal window. Now press Enter.

    • You will be asked for the password. Type it in, then press Enter. The ZIP file's contents will then be expanded into the same folder as where the ZIP file was located.


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