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Mars Report:

Zipeg: Zip Through Your File Archives

Published January 15th, 2007

Zipeg: Zip Archives Browser and Extractor

Zipeg Zip Archive PreviewerOriginally downloaded 12/19/06. Now this sounds like the utility I’ve been seeking… Unlike others I’ve tried lately (they’re in the “reject” bin), I’m hoping it works as advertised, and I love the fact that it’s free!

Update 1/15/07. Well, despite the goofy icon, this is a seriously fine piece of software. Even though it’s using a Java framework, the developer has incorporated a lot of goodies from the Mac OS X GUI toolbox, so it’s not half-bad looking, either! When I compared this to another similar tool I’ve been trying to like, called BetterZip, I was floored. BetterZip costs $20 and is slow as molasses compared with Zipeg. Not only that, but you could never use BetterZip to preview files in an archive file, because the software takes so long to produce the preview it would be impractical. By contrast, Zipeg has almost instantaneous previews for free! I’ve been using Zipeg as my default “unzip” utility for the last month, and I’m very pleased with its performance. Whenever it’s asked to unzip an archive file (and it handles a wide variety of archive types), Zipeg can be configured to ask where I want the extracted files to go… or I can select just the files or directories I want to be extracted.

Zipeg's window showing instant file detail/image previews. Metal window is an option.

The only thing Zipeg doesn’t do that BetterZip does well is search through the archive. If you deal with very large, complicated file structures inside of .zip or .gz files, you might find it worth $20 to be able to search through them. Or you could install the free Ziplight plugin for Spotlight, which lets Spotlight do the searching for you.

Here are some notes on pros and cons for Zipeg:



  • Zipeg opened the test zip file very fast.
  • Zipeg easily and almost instantly displays a preview of image files in a small floating window, and it also generates thumbnail image icons in the directory structure.
  • It plays a cute little noise when you’ve successfully extracted something.
  • When you extract a folder hidden deep in the zip archive, Zipeg will obediently create the necessary folder structure … automatically after you give it permission to do so. Again, very fast work!
  • You can preview text files or HTML… any kind of file from the archive… in its native application without extracting it first. Zipeg will open the required application if it’s not already open.
  • As you browse the contents of the archive, Zipeg displays details about each file in a small floating window (the same one it uses for image previews)
  • Although Zipeg is written in java, it uses a Cocoa framework, so you still have access to the usual Cocoa extras.
  • Software is regularly updated and enhanced.
  • It uses some kind of automatic update software… not Sparkle, but something similar.
  • You can’t search through the archive.
  • You can’t sort the zip contents by column header.

You can find notes on BetterZip in my entry on that software.

Version as tested: 1.2.1.

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