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Create Archive menu itemA convenient and often forgotten feature of Mac OS X is its built-in ability to create zip archives.

Just select any file or folder, go to the File Menu and select Create Archive. Voila! Instant .zip archive. No third-party software needed.

Make this even better by attaching a custom keyboard shortcut to the menu item–another handy but easy-to-miss feature. Here’s how:

1\. Go to System Preferences and choose Keyboard & Mouse.

Keyboard and Mouse preferences

2\. Select the Keyboard Shortcuts tab and click the Plus icon on the lower left below the list of shortcuts.

Keyboard Shortcuts

3\. For Application, select “Finder” from the pulldown. For Menu Title, type in “Create Archive”. For Keyboard Shortcut, type in your desired key command.

Add keyboard shortcut

4\. For the shortcut to take effect, log out or restart your computer.

Next time you need to compress large design files or other assets, just use the keyboard shortcut you just created. Quick and easy with no other applications to install. Is this officially the death of Stuffit and the .sit format?


  • Paul Armstrong

    gravatarNov 20, 2006
    6:35 am

    I don’t create zip archives through the Finder all that often (I’m usually in the command line), but when I do, I just right click and select ‘Create Archive of…’. Doesn’t that seem like it would be just as fast, but easier to remember?

  • Ricks

    gravatarNov 20, 2006
    2:04 pm

    But still, it’s pretty darn good. I think some people are becoming a little oblivious as to how good mac people have it. Hands up who wants to go back to Windows? NOT ME

  • Brad

    gravatarNov 21, 2006
    6:07 pm

    You don’t have to log out or restart for this to take effect; you can just hit command-option-esc, select the Finder, and click the “Relaunch” button.

    In order for custom shortcuts created in System Preferences to work, you need to relaunch (or just launch) the application for which you made the shortcut. In this situation, Finder is really just another app.

  • Torley

    gravatarNov 21, 2006
    11:46 pm

    I sure remember when Stuffit was SUCH a Mac mainstay for shareware, but then the years passed, I felt it became very bloaty, and so on and soforth.

    Does this also work with The Unarchiver? It’s quite a kewl little utility:


  • Chanpory

    gravatarNov 21, 2006
    11:54 pm

    Brad, thanks for the extra tip!

    Torley, yes Stuffit is dead! I haven’t used Unarchiver before, I assume you’d be able to doubleclick any archive and it’d automatically decompresses the file?

  • Brad

    gravatarNov 22, 2006
    7:22 am

    Torley: If you’re looking to use something other than the OS-provided BOMArchiveHelper for managing archives, I would actually recommend something like Springy or BetterZip. Both programs allow you to open up an archive and view its contents without having to extract the whole thing. You can even take just one file out of the archive, or add just one. If you’ve got any large archives (such as from a backup), this sort of thing could be really great if you just wanted to get a few things out.

    Both cost money, however, so they’re no match for the open-source Unarchiver in that regard…

  • Torley

    gravatarNov 30, 2006
    12:15 am

    Thx for the tip, Brad, it’s appreciated. :)

  • Leo Kuznetsov

    gravatarSep 15, 2007
    3:52 am

    I liked BetterZip too. I found about it after I started making similar program about a year ago. Mine is Zipeg and it is free. It does not create archives and is much simpler. Anybody wants to criticize it? Please do. Thanks. Leo