One of the few good features of Windows is its ability to view a zip file as a folder. Is there some way, possibly using a third party app, to do the same on the Mac?

I know there are a number of apps which will mount the zip file as a volume, but I haven’t found a way to see one simply as a folder.


Edit 2019
Zipster is dead & gone, see other answers below.

Zipster does exactly that.

blurb straight from their site

What is Zipster?

Ever been envious of the way Windows users can just browse into Zip files, copy files in and out of them with ease and all without running a Zip utility? With Zipster, your Zip files are just like another folder in Finder. Plus, unlike on Windows, you can open files and save into them from any application.

Zipster is

  • Free.
  • Fast. Writes and compression are done in the background so you can get on with your work. And we’ve done a bit of work to make reading snappy too.
  • Friendly. No more pesky .DS_Store files — and your friends on other platforms won’t be complaining any more.
  • Useful. In addition to plain Zip files, Zipster works with JAR, WAR, ipa and apk files.

It does have slight limitations when it comes to trying to put things away; it reacts a bit like a mounted .dmg except it's right where the file was, not on the desktop, but it's not a bad attempt at transforming .zips into folders.

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  • I wrote about how to install Zipster here: mackungfu.org/work-with-zips-as-folders-like-with-windows Unfortunately I can't add this as a comment to the relevant thread because I lack the experience points. – Keir Thomas Mar 24 '16 at 9:52
  • Unfortunately Zipster can cause your Mac to crash, so it cannot be recommended. – Brecht Machiels Feb 28 '17 at 14:27
  • A lot of the Coriolis stuff isn't what it used to be, unfortunately. I gave up with Zipster & iPartition a while ago. – Tetsujin Feb 28 '17 at 14:37
  • As of 10.12.6 it doesn't seem to work at all. It also asks to access your contacts for no apparent reason. – Giacomo Lacava Oct 19 '17 at 10:40
  • Everyone now knows zipster is dead. But don't give up. There is also a good answer in this page buried down below, ignored by most people -- the answer from @tekkie. The Archive Mounter is great. – Bruce Jul 26 '18 at 4:43

If you're comfortable with the command line and just want to get a list of the files inside the zip file, you could also use the zipinfo command:

$ zipinfo Archive.zip
Archive:  Archive.zip
Zip file size: 465 bytes, number of entries: 3
-rw-r--r--  2.1 unx        6 bX defN 18-Jun-19 05:00 baz.txt
-rw-r--r--  2.1 unx        6 bX defN 18-Jun-19 05:00 foo.txt
-rw-r--r--  2.1 unx       23 bX defN 18-Jun-19 05:00 bar.txt
3 files, 35 bytes uncompressed, 41 bytes compressed:  -17.1%

Or, unzip -l:

$ unzip -l Archive.zip
Archive:  Archive.zip
  Length      Date    Time    Name
---------  ---------- -----   ----
        6  06-19-2018 05:00   baz.txt
        6  06-19-2018 05:00   foo.txt
       23  06-19-2018 05:00   bar.txt
---------                     -------
       35                     3 files
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Here's one that people often overlook: BetterZipQL. This is a free module for Finder's "QuickLook" function and allows its Preview pane to show you the contents of an archive just as if it were a folder full o' files.

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  • It can see inside .dmg files too, if they're not protected – Tetsujin Sep 8 '19 at 12:04

Nice suggestion but not a complete solution: Zipster (v1.0.4, apparently from 3/2/15 per the file times) doesn't support encrypted files at this time. I know because I tried it. :-(

OTOH there is now a Mac version of WinZip. I haven't tried it. Costs $30.

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It appears that Zipster is dead. You can check out Archive Mounter instead.

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  • Doesn't seem to work properly (mounting not happening.) – Fabien Snauwaert Aug 15 '18 at 5:53
  • all Archive Mounter does is show a locked version which is very minimally useful – William Cerniuk Jan 4 '19 at 12:38

https://www.charlessoft.com has Pacifist. You can use it

if you want to inspect a downloaded package to see what it will install before installing it.


allows you to extract individual files and folders out of [.pkg package files, .dmg disk images, and .zip, .tar, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, and .xar archives]

There's also a Quick Look extension. So you can use spacebar to see the contents. In the free version, you face a 15 second delay.

Not affiliated with the development or profit of the product.

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