OS X: Secrets of the Archive Utility

Buried in the bowels of your Mac’s operating system are a handful of utilities that you may (or may not) take for granted. One such utility, the Archive Utility, has a slew of customizable features. Let’s take a look, shall we?

With the Finder active, click on the Go menu, then click on Go to Folder..., enter /System/Library/CoreServices in the Go to the folder field, and click Go.

You’ll be presented with the contents of the CoreServices folder. This is where the Archive Utility (and a handful of other applications) lives. Scroll down until you see Archive Utility application, then double-click to launch it.

/System/Library/CoreServicesCoreServices Folder

With Archive Utility running, access it’s preferences by typing ⌘, (Command-comma)  or by clicking on the application’s name in the menu bar and then selecting Preferences...

Archive Utility menuArchive Utility menu

Now that you have the Preferences window open, click through some of the choices that are available to you. 

Archive Utility Preferences

You can change the location of where expanded files go once you’ve uncompressed them, or what to do with the compressed file after it has been expanded. There are similar options to configure for when you make your own compressed archive files, and even the option to choose the file format for your compressed files. 

Archive Utility preference file type output dialogueArichive Utility preferences, set to output archive files as Zip file

One of my favorites is the ability to automaticaly delete the archive after expansion. Some 3rd party applications get downloaded in a compressed format, and so once I've got the application installed, I don't have to worry about going back to delete the archive file that I downloaded.