Mac Software Review: BetterZip 1.7 BetterZip Mac shareware
Mac software review

The Zip format has been around for quite some time even in the Mac community. It was never a popular archive format until 3 or 4 years ago. Those days, people were still using either disk image (.dmg) or StuffIt (.sit) more than Zip (.zip)

Some people still use StuffIt to pack a group of files. How do they pack files in the sit format? They use Smith Micro Software’s StuffIt Deluxe.

There are a few useful features that have made StuffIt Deluxe unique. No. 1, StuffIt Deluxe lets users split large archive files into parts. No. 2, StuffIt Deluxe allows users to preview files packed in archives before they unpack them. No. 3, StuffIt Deluxe allows users to password-protect archive files.

Compared with StuffIt, how far can we go with Zip archives? Actually, using a relatively new Mac shareware title called BetterZip, you can have those 3 useful features that StuffIt Deluxe offers even with Zip archives. BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 01 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 02 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 03

I have close to two dozen files at a disposal. They are shown in Screenshot 01. And I want to pack all these files in one zip archive. So how do I do that with BetterZip? There are just three steps. Step 1: Launch BetterZip. (See Screenshot 02.) An application window opens. Step 2: Drag and drop files onto the application window. (See Screenshot 03.) Step 3: Save the file. BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 04 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 05 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 06

After pressing Command plus S, you have several choices to make before actually saving an archive file. BetterZip actually supports not just Zip but also other archive formats including tar, tgz, tbz and 7z (7-Zip). (See Screenshot 04.) Another pull-down menu lets you choose the compression rate. (See Screenshot 05.) And BetterZip also lets you password-protect archive files. (See Screenshot 06.) Moreover, you can split an archive file into several parts.

Okay. I want to password-protect my archive. I also want to split it into several parts, with each part 1MB or smaller. (See Screenshot 07.) If I press the Return key, I’ll be prompted to enter the same password twice. (See Screenshot 08.) And… That’s it. BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 07 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 08 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 09

My Zip archive has been split into 10 parts. And if I want to see the entire archive, I just need to double-click on any of the 10 parts. So let me double-click on And BetterZip gives me a preview of all files packed in the archive. (See Screenshot 09.) BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 10 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 11 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 12

All right. I want to open one of the files. So let me select one of the file names in the list and then press the View button. (See Screenshot 10.) Or I can actually double-click on the file name itself. Since the archive is password-proteted, I’ll prompted to enter the password before opening the file. (See Screenshot 11.) Okay. Apple’s Preview launches itself to open the selected file. (See Screenshot 12.) Actually, the file creator is Adobe Fireworks CS3. But there is no way of forcing BetterZip to open the file with an application of my choice.

Let me select and open another file. This time, I’m going to select the very top one. (See Screenshot 13.) It’s a URL file with the extension of webloc. Normally, if you double-click on a file with this extension, a web browser will launch itself and open a page with a specific URL, right? And that’s exactly what happened when I double-clicked on the file name. (See Screenshot 14.) BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 13 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 14 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 15

Next, let me quit BetterZip. Then I’m going to double-click on one of the parts that I created. So I have relaunched BetterZip. I’m going to select one of the files in the archive list. If I drag and drop this file out of the application window… (See Screenshot 15.) Right, I’ll be prompted to enter the password again. (See Screenshot 16.) Then I get to take that file out of the archive. (See Screenshot 17.) BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 16 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 17 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 18

So far, I find BetterZip quite neat. Again, it’s similar to StuffIt Deluxe, right? You can password-protect archives. You don’t have to decompress the entire archive file just to get one of the files in the package. And BetterZip allows users to split archive files into several parts.

Okay. Here is a question that I have with BetterZip. If I want to give the archive that I just created to a friend who doesn’t have BetterZip, will he be able to open it? My guess is he can’t. BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 19 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 20 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 21

So I’m going to uninstall BetterZip. Let’s use CleanApp, which we reviewed about 10 days ago, to uninstall it. (See Screenshot 18.) Now, if I see a folder containing those zip parts, all files except one have no application-specific icon. (See Screenshot 19.) That means my OS doesn’t know which application to use to open those files. One file identifies its open-application as a Mac freeware title called RAR Expander. In fact, if I double-click on, RAR Expander will launch itself. (See Screenshot 20.) Then if I press the Return key… RAR Expander says it cannot open it. (See Screenshot 21.) BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 22 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 23 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 24

All right. I have reinstalled BetterZip. Now, I’m going to drag and drop one of the parts that I created onto the application icon. (See Screenshot 22.)

As shown in Screenshot 23, I have brought 3 new files. I’m going to drag and drop these files onto the open BetterZip window. Then I get a warning sign. (See Screenshot 24.) If I press ‘Save,’ I’ll prompted to enter the password. (See Screenshot 25.) If I enter the password, BetterZip starts saving changes. (See Screenshot 26.) Eventually, BetterZip has created 2 more parts. (See Screenshot 27.) BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 25 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 26 BetterZip Mac shareware
Screenshot 27


BetterZip is an affordable, effective solution to archiving a group of files and protect them with a password. This software also allows users to split archive files into parts. But you cannot share split Zip files with others who do not have BetterZip. It doesn’t have its own self-extraction function. In this respect, an old freeware/donationware title called DMGscissor is better. (Several years ago, DMGscissor was a popular Mac software title that allowed users to split DMG files into parts. One doesn’t have to have DMGscissor to open the disk image. We are not sure if DMGscissor is still around.)

Another small negative feature that we notice is that BetterZip actually allows users to browse encrypted archives. It might be better if one is prompted to enter the password before opening an archive.

By the way, as we tested ourselves, BetterZip lets you preview not just Zip archives but also others including

  • .sit archives
  • .sea archives
  • .rar archives
  • .tgz archives
  • .tar.gz archives
  • .tar.bz2 archives

  • BetterZip doesn’t seem to work with the following archive formats in previewing and extracting files.

  • .sitx
  • .hqx
  • .dmg
  • .smi

  • Developer: Robert Rezabek (
  • Developer’s location: Schlossgasse 18A/13, 1050 Vienna, Austria
  • Latest version: BetterZip 1.7.1 (Compatible with PPC, Intel Mac and Leopard)
  • System requirements: OS X 10.4 or higher
  • Prices: full version – US$19.95 for personal license/ US$30.00 for organizational license
  • MacHouse recommendation: If you plan to share split files with other Mac users, we cannot necessarily recommend you to use BetterZip because they also have to have BetterZip just to see the file list in the archive.

    BetterZip is a product of Robert Rezabek.

    Click for Mac software product review
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