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Mars Report:

BetterZip: Search and Create Zip Archives

Published January 15th, 2007

BetterZip: Open Archives Without Extracting

BetterZip Archive SoftwareOriginally downloaded 8/1/06 I downloaded another tool that covers similar territory earlier in the year… RadicalSqueeze, a freeware tool. Haven’t tried it yet, but I’m adding BetterZip to the list because I really could use such a tool. BetterZip has a GUI for creating and updating archives, as well as for extracting single files. This is hardly groundbreaking, but I haven’t had anything like it since moving from Windows 10 years ago.

Update 1/15/07. I really tried to like BetterZip… but it’s just too slow, both at opening archives and—more especially—at letting you take a peek at the files inside an archive. For this latter task, BetterZip is so slow as to be useless. Meanwhile, a much better tool for this particular purpose—one that also happens to be free!—came along in the form of the delightful Zipeg, so I’m putting BetterZip in my reject pile. BetterZip’s other tricks—such as helping you create archive files—are ones I don’t need and didn’t test. See below for a BetterZip screenshot and my notes during testing.

BetterZip's main window with the file browser drawer showing.



  • Searching the zip file is very fast… nice to use this feature to filter on keywords.
  • Has built-in file-system browser.
  • Wow, is it slow, or what? It took quite awhile for it to display the file (132mb) and almost as long to display one 625-byte image file.
  • Instead of previewing the file within BetterZip (which is what I wanted), it had to extract the image and display it in Photoshop. This may just be a limitation of the zip format, but it’s pretty lame.
  • Application went to the spinning beach ball after extracting one 27kb text file; I had to force quit.
  • Good thing BetterZip has a good search tool, because it really sucks at the browse part. It doesn’t support column view like the Finder, and it doesn’t display a hierarchical folder structure. Browsing in BetterZip is like working all the time in the Finder’s list view, with folders embedded alphabetically along with files. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll love BetterZip… but if you don’t, you’ll be using the search tool a lot!

Version as tested: 1.3.1.

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