How to Extract Files on Mac

Alicia Santos

Mac, Tutorials

How to Extract Files on Mac

Do you have a compressed file that needs to be extracted on your Mac? In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of extracting files on Mac using built-in tools.

Whether you have a .zip, .rar, or .tar file, our step-by-step instructions will help you easily extract the contents and access the files within.

Using Finder to Extract Files

The Finder application on your Mac provides a simple way to extract files from compressed archives without the need for any third-party software. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Locate the compressed file on your Mac. It is usually denoted by a .tar extension.
  2. Double-click on the compressed file to open it.

    The Archive Utility application will automatically launch and start extracting the contents.

  3. Once the extraction is complete, a new folder containing the extracted files will appear in the same location as the original compressed file.

Using Terminal to Extract Files

If you prefer using command-line tools, Terminal provides a powerful way to extract files quickly and efficiently. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch Terminal from your Applications folder or by searching for it using Spotlight.
  2. Navigate to the directory where your compressed file is located using the “cd” command. For example, if your file is on the Desktop, use:

    cd ~/Desktop/

    Note: Replace “~/Desktop/” with the actual path of your file if it is located elsewhere.

  3. Once you are in the correct directory, use the appropriate command to extract the file based on its format:

For .zip files:

To extract a .zip file, use the “unzip” command followed by the name of the file. For example:


For .rar files:

To extract a .rar file, use the “unrar” command followed by the name of the file. For example:

unrar e filename.rar

For .tar files:

To extract a .tar file, use the “tar” command followed by specific options and the name of the file. For example:

tar -xvf filename.tar

The options “-xvf” are used to specify extracting (“-x”), provide verbose output (“-v”), and treat the input as a regular file (“-f”).

Once you execute the appropriate command, Terminal will start extracting the files from your compressed archive.

In Conclusion

That’s it! You now know how to extract files on your Mac using both Finder and Terminal.

Whether you prefer a graphical interface or command-line tools, these methods will help you access and work with compressed files efficiently. So go ahead and start exploring those archived files with ease!

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