WinZip 5 Mac: A Popular Zip Compression Tool for the Mac

Resize Photos, Share via the Cloud, and Encrypt Your Files for Safety

WinZip 5 Mac
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

WinZip has long been a popular compression and expansion app for Windows users. The software was first released in 1991 as a graphical interface to PKZIP, and quickly became one of the most often-used compression utilities in the Windows world.

WinZip Mac Edition brings many of the features that made WinZip so popular on PCs to the Mac environment. The Mac edition is more than just a port from the Windows counterpart; while it retains many WinZip features, it does so with a distinct Mac flare.

Pro

Con

  • The user interface needs work.
  • No WinZip Finder Service included.

WinZip 5 Mac is the newest version of the WinZip family of Mac and PC utilities. WinZip 5 Mac is the Mac version of one of the most popular Windows file compression applications available. As such, it has a tremendous advantage for anyone moving from a PC to a Mac, as it allows the new Mac user to feel at home with an app they were used to using on their old Windows machine.

For the long-time Mac user, WinZip still offers benefits, including easier access to file compression options than is available from Apple's built-in zipping tool. I also noticed that WinZip was able to perform slightly better when compressing some file types than Apple's compression option.

Acquiring WinZip 5 Mac

WinZip is available both from the developer's website and the Mac App Store. I didn't notice any difference between the two ways of purchasing WinZip 5 Mac, except to note that the version from the Mac App Store includes the standard Family Sharing license that allows WinZip to be installed on multiple Macs used by a family.

Installing and Uninstalling

WinZip installation is typical for Mac apps; a simple drag to the /Applications folder and WinZip is ready to be launched for the first time. Or, if you purchased it from the Mac App Store, WinZip will be automatically installed in the /Applications folder. Either way, launching WinZip is just a click or two away.

Uninstalling WinZip is just as easy; the app includes an uninstaller available from the WinZip menu.

Using WinZip 5 Mac

Once WinZip 5 Mac is launched, an empty and untitled WinZip window opens, ready for you to drag files to it. The WinZip window mimics some Finder capabilities, such as the ability to display the window's content in the standard Finder formats of Icon, List, Column, and Cover Flow.

The window also includes a sidebar, though it's positioned on the right-hand side rather than the left. The sidebar appears when you select the Actions button in the toolbar. With the Actions sidebar open, you'll see options that can be applied to the files you have dragged to the WinZip window.

WinZip Actions

The Actions button allows you to select encryption options, including no encryption, 128-bit AES, 256-bit AES, or ZIP 2.0 (for compatibility with older versions of WinZip).

If the files you're planning on compressing include any images, you also have the option to let WinZip resize your photos automatically for you. This is a nice feature for quickly reducing photo sizes for non-critical image sharing. That huge image you captured on your new camera can quickly be downsized to a more easily transferred 640x480 pixels. Actually, there are six different sizes you can select from, covering Small to XX-Large.

Remember, WinZip's photo resizing is a convenience feature for quick image sharing; it isn't a replacement for a good photo editor that can crop and resize images.

Still, for those fun photos you want to quickly share, Photo Resize is a nice feature of WinZip.

Additional WinZip Actions you'll find in the sidebar cover saving and sharing zipped files.

Save as: Allows you to save the zipped file to your Mac, or directly to your iCloud Drive, ZipShare account, Dropbox, or Google Drive. To make use of the cloud-based storage options, you'll need to have an account with at least one of the listed services.

Email: This option will open a blank email message, attach the zipped file to the message, and then allow you to compose a message and send it off.

Share via Clipboard: This option saves the zipped file to your preferred cloud storage system and then creates a link directly to the zipped file, saved to your Mac's clipboard. You can then paste the link into any Mac app you wish.

Share Elsewhere: This is the last Action option and allows you to use the sharing services available from various cloud-based services. Like the Share via Clipboard option, you need to have an account with a cloud service, but unlike Share via Clipboard, the link is supplied via email or social media accounts.

One option not available from the Action sidebar, but present in the WinZip Action menu item, is burning the zipped files to a CD or DVD. This option works as you would expect it to work; simply have a disc burner and a blank CD or DVD handy, and WinZip will create the burned media for you.

Unzipping WinZip Files

Unzipping works much the same way as zipping. Opening a WinZip file will launch WinZip and display the same app window as when zipping. The difference is the window is populated with the files from the WinZip bundle you just opened.

Files shown in the window can be viewed without having to first unzip the files. In some cases, you can even edit a file, though that's dependent on the file type.

Available unzipping options include unzipping to a location of your choice on your Mac, or to any of the supported cloud-based services.

Besides supporting the ever-popular zip compression format, WinZip Mac Edition also works with a number of popular compression formats that aren't seen frequently on the Mac but are prevalent on other platforms, including Zip, Zipx, RAR, LHA, 7Z, JAR, and WAR.

WinZip 5 Mac is $29.95. A demo is available. Don't forget that you can also purchase it from the Mac App Store, and take advantage of the Family license.

See other software choices from Tom's Mac Software Picks.