I have dozens of folders that I need to compress into individual zip files.

If I select all of these folders in the Finder and do "Compress [X] Items," I get one zip file containing all of the folders, whereas what I want is one zip file per folder.

I tried creating a workflow with Automator using the "Create Archive" action, but it behaves the same way: inputting multiple files/folders outputs a single zip file. There's no way to specify that the action run on each item individually.

Basically, I'm looking for a way to avoid having to tediously run "Compress" in the Finder on every single folder one at a time. Is there any way to automate this?

  • 1
    I updated my answer to improve the code used to increment the zip archive filename so it emulates how the Finder context-menu Compress [n] Items command increments a filename. – user3439894 Jan 28 '16 at 16:34
  • Sorry, I updated the code once again to remove the unnecessary popd and corrected a fatal typo in for i in $bn*.zip; do, which should have been for i in $bn *.zip; do. Note the space between $bn and *.zip, it was missing and shouldn't have been. So please update it in your implementation otherwise it steps on File Name 2.zip when the basename has a space in it. – user3439894 Jan 28 '16 at 23:16

Here is an Automator Service that becomes available in Finder when Folders are selected and emulates the context-menus Compress [n] Items command except it creates an individual zip archive file for each selected Folder in the name of the selected Folder. If the Folder Name.zip file already exists then a " 2" (space 2) is appended to the filename, e.g. Folder Name 2.zip. This ensures an existing zip archive file is not touched and the zip archive filename will be automatically incremented as necessary.

To Create the Service:

  1. Open Automator and select Service or File > New > Service If Automator is already open.

  2. Set Service receives selected to folders and in to Finder.

  3. Add a Run Shell Script Action, setting Shell: to /bin/bash and Pass input: to as arguments and add the following code:

    for f in "$@"; do
        dn="$(dirname "$f")"
        bn="$(basename "$f")"
        pushd "$dn"
        if [[ ! -e "$bn.zip" ]]; then
            ditto -c -k --sequesterRsrc --keepParent "$f" "$bn.zip"
            for i in $bn *.zip; do
                if [[ "$bn $n.zip" == "$i" ]]; then
                    n="$(( $n + 1 ))"
            ditto -c -k --sequesterRsrc --keepParent "$f" "$bn $n.zip"
    afplay /System/Library/Sounds/Purr.aiff
  4. Save the Service as: Compress Folders Separately

To Use the Service:

In Finder or on the Desktop select multiple Folders, then right-click and select Compress Folders Separately from under Services.

Or after selecting the target Folders, you can also click Finder > Services > Compress Folders Separately from the menu bar.

There you have it, a way to compress multiple folder separately and simultaneously at one time in individual zip archives while emulating how Finder creates a zip archive file. Meaning the zip archive contains preserved resource forks and HFS meta-data in the subdirectory __MACOSX and embeds only the parent directory name source in destination-archive, not the fully qualified pathname as when using zip (without -j) to create the archive.

Image of Compress Folders Separately (Service)

Compress Folders Separately - Automator Service

  • I checked both your solution and @ababak's. They give exactly the same result and ababak's is far easier to implement. I up voted both anyway. – turzifer Jul 19 '16 at 8:11

There's an alternative solution that's built-in if you don't want to use Automator and are fine with changing Archive Utility's settings.

  1. Open the Archive Utility.app located in /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/
  2. Go to File > Preferences
  3. Change the "Use Archive Format" preference to "Zip archive"
  4. Drag and drop the folders into its icon in the dock.
  • the nice thing about this option is you can set the Archive Utility.app preferences to move the original to trash after it finishes, it's not limited to folders. Is there a way to set up an Automator service to open with Archive Utility.app as a service if you want right-click as an option? I ran into a limitation as Archive Utility.app can't be selected using the Launch Application action. – thepen Aug 2 '16 at 5:31
  • @thepen, of course you can select Archive Utility as the Launch Application Action. You just need to select "Other…" and navigate to its location which is /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/ (you can press Cmd-Shift-G when the file select dialog is open to paste this path for quick navigation) – ababak Aug 3 '16 at 8:16

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protected by Community Oct 28 '16 at 13:13

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