Creating zip Archives on the Mac

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Why do we bother?

Sometimes we have to create zip archives that need to be easy to use on computers other than Macs, most notably Windows machines. This will be the case most commonly in content providing, post-processing, uploading to the Smooth Reading pool, uploading for PPV, or uploading directly (DU) to PG.

When zipping files using the Finder “Compress” (formerly “Create Archive of…”) contextual menu item, the resulting zip file contains special Mac files that tell the operating system how to display files and folders. Those files are not usually displayed on a Mac, but they are on other operating systems and so will bother or confuse other people. (Even on a Mac, they are not useful in zip archives.)

Before uploading anything to PGDP or Project Gutenberg, we need to get rid of those special files.

This page presents some utilities that make creating “clean” zip files (i.e. ones that do not contain Mac-specific content) on the Mac more comfortable than manually removing files in a Terminal window before creating the archive. If you like using the command line and feel no need for help creating zip archives, OR would rather not install additional programs, you do not need this Wiki page.

There are many ways to either create a zip without the invisible files, or clean the invisible files out of an existing zip, Some free, some not.

The links provided below are still active as of this writing, but have not all been verified to still be free or to work on both Intel and M1 Macs. The list is not meant to be exhaustive, and is likely to be outdated. The current version of this page was updated by srjfoo 18:53, 12 October 2022 (EDT)

Useful Tools

Junecloud Toolbox

What you will get

The Junecloud Toolbox is a collection of Automator actions.

An Automator Action is a group of commands packaged together that are run much as we would run any program. Most of the Junecloud actions are targeted at a web designer/developer audience. The one we are looking into here is called “Create Clean Archive”.

This allows the user to select files in Finder, and use the contextual menu to create the zip.

Old name: Junecloud Automator Actions.


What you will get

You can get Keka either directly from the linked website, or from the Apple App store. The App store is not free, the version from the website is.

How to use

Before you use it for the first time, open the application, and go to Preferences under the Keka menu. Click on the Compression tab, and check the checkbox beside “Exclude Mac OS X resource forks (ex: .DS_Store)”. Default format should be set to “Zip”. Another convenient preference to set: under Name and location in the Compression tab, set Save to location: to “Ask each time”. This wll allow you to both give your zip a name other than the default name, and to determine the location where the zip will be stored.

To use, you can either add a dock icon and drag and drop the files you want zipped onto the icon in the dock, or drag and drop them onto the icon in the Applications directory.


What you will get

You can get YemuZip either directly from the linked website, or from the Apple App store. The App store is not free, the version from the website is. The free version displays ads.

How to use

Drag files onto the YemuZip application window in order to zip them; it gives you the choice between “Mac” and “PC” for each archive. To omit the Mac-specific files, choose “PC”. You also are given the choice of where to save the zip.

ZipCleaner 1.0

What you will get

The download includes both the application, and a short readme. Once you download it and unzip it, move the folder to wherever you want to keep it.

How to use

Create your zip using the built-in system zip utility. Drag the zip to the ZipCleaner window, and drop it. It will clean the Mac-specific invisible files out of the zip.